KARL Ready capped a magnificent captain's performance with his first goal for Aldershot as Terry Brown's men came from behind to dump rivals Farnborough out of the Hampshire Senior Cup for the second year running at the Rec on Tuesday night.
Ready smashed home his winner from the penalty spot in the 84th minute after Gary Butterworth had handled in the box — and it proved to be a sweet, sweet moment for Shots boss Terry Brown.
"I made Karl skipper today, he's a very strong character is Karl," he said. "If there was a penalty he said he would like to take it. He did and he drilled it in."
Drilled it in he certainly did and it was nothing more than the Shots deserved on a night when there was more shame for Boro captain Steve Watson.
Booked in the first half for dissent, Boro chief Graham Westley could only watch in horror as Watson clattered into Jamie Taylor in the 71st minute, earning him a second booking and his second early shower of the season.
What made it even harder for Boro fans and Westley to take was the fact that until that point, Watson had been one of Boro's better players and his physical presence was more than a match for the outstanding Nick Roddis in the middle of the park where there had already been plenty of derby-style bite and aggression on view.
Both sides played it cagey, giving valuable match practise to several fringe players. None more so than Westley, who, in Watson, fielded just one player that started the match against Kettering.
After a dull opening in which both sides failed to keep possession, Paul Moody struck a 30-yard free kick just over the bar in the 18th minute but it was fit-again Rocky Baptiste who should have opened the scoring three minutes later when Butterworth's deep cross was volleyed wide when it seemed as though it would have been easier to score than miss.
Dave Carroll sent a right foot shot wide of the post soon after but most of the Shots good work in the first half was done by the hardworking Adam Parker who was creating chances as well as getting on the end of them.
After debutant Gareth Gwillem had lost possession on the edge of his own area for Boro, Parker was the quickest to react and his right foot effort was well saved by Mark Osborn on a surface which was causing players problems due to the torrential rain and swirling wind.
Parker continued to threaten but for all his productivity the Shots could not break down a resolute Boro defence where the versatile Christian Lee was making a welcome return from injury.
Brown then made changes with Jamie Taylor and Roscoe D'Sane coming on for the struggling Dave Carroll and Lee Charles respectively. But it was the introduction of Dean Green for Boro which made the early impact in the second half.
Replacing the injured Joff Vansittart, Green seemed to inject more pace and even more hunger into Boro's play as Westley's men enjoyed their best period of the match.
On 52 minutes the substitute's volley from all of 30 yards fell just wide of Nikki Bull's left hand post but it did not serve as a warning signal and four minutes later the Shots were behind when Tony Taggart's cross was sweetly met by Baptiste, whose header left Bull helpless in the Shots goal.
But football certainly is a funny old game and just when it looked like Westley's side would be stamping their authority on the game the Shots drew level just two minutes later.
After a relatively quiet first half, Roddis was now coming into his own and when his pass put D'Sane clean through, the striker struck his shot early as Osborn came out to cut down the angle, only to have the task of picking the ball out of his own net moments later.
Boro were still looking a threat though but on a night where there were so many plus points for Brown, surely one of the highlights would have been the performance of youngster Brett Cooper whose effort against the dangerous Tony Taggart was simply outstanding to say the least.
At this point though, the game really could have gone either way. The impressive Anthony Charles cleared off his line from Baptiste and then Taggart. Meanwhile, Moody drilled a low shot straight at Osborn before the party really got going with Watson's sending off.
Down to ten men, Boro were now on the back foot and Osborn was called into action twice on 76 minutes when Taylor and Moody both saw their efforts superbly saved but there was little the Boro stopper could do with Ready's late penalty which sent Brown into orbit and left Westley cursing his bad luck.
l On Saturday the Shots will be looking to get back to their winning ways in the Ryman League as they play host to Chesham United, ko 3pm.
After seven straight victories Brown has seen his side defeated in their last two outings and he will be looking to apply more pressure on league leaders St Albans.
"It's much more important that three points are available to us on Saturday," said Brown. "We played Chesham at the end of pre-season and we got walloped 3-0. I've reminded the boys about that and we've got a bit of revenge to exact over them."
The Shots sit one point off top spot while Chesham are struggling in 14th.
l Boro have the longest trip of the season ahead of them this Saturday when they travel to high-flying Morecambe, looking to banish the memories of Saturday's Kettering disaster.
Westley is crossing his fingers in the hope that defender Jim Rodwell will be fit to return to the side following injury, although Joff Vansittart is definitely out after aggravating a calf strain on Tuesday night.
It won't be easy, however. Morecambe have won six of their seven home games this season, conceding just four goals.
The boss said: "It's not just about forgetting Saturday, we've got 13 points in the last seven games and that's pretty decent form in the Conference.
"If we can just eradicate one or two things that went wrong at the weekend and concentrate on the things that have got us those 13 points, then I'm sure Morecambe won't be fancying us at the weekend."