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Shots turn up the heat

Aldershot Town enjoyed the perfect start to their pre-season campaign by winning the four-team Kingstonian tournament at the weekend.

THEY ended last season lifting a trophy and started this year on exactly the same note.

Terry Brown's new look Aldershot Town got their pre-season campaign off to a flying start by winning the inaugural Kingstonian 4 Team Tournament.

But the trophy was not the only highlight of the scorching weekend showdown.

Brown saw no less than a dozen triallists and youth team players take to the field in the new Shots' kit and they all certainly gave him something to think about.

"I was very pleased with everyone over the weekend," said Brown, "particularly from a first team point of view on Saturday.

"They looked strong and the new signings gelled in together really well.

"I was very pleased with all my new signings and thought the side played well over the two days, although they did miss the cutting edge, so I still want to get another front man on board.

"There are still one or two triallists I want to look at and I will be doing that on Tuesday night at Yeading.

"We're still juggling many players about and hopefully will eventually come up with a side capable of winning.

"After the Yeading game we'll be doing a major culling to settle the squad and instead of taking 25/26 players to each game, we'll start taking 16 or so."

Sunday's final against hosts Kingstonian saw Brown giving the triallists a chance to show him they are worthy of the Shots shirt.

And Justin Cochrane, Mark Nicholls and Francis Kumar certainly did that — all are now high on Brown's wish list.

He will be looking at them again, along with ex-Tottenham man Dave McEwen, who was in Saturday's starting line up.

Tuesday night's friendly with Yeading will also give Brown the opportunity to look at Nuneaton Borough's Lee Charles again, who played under Brown at Hayes, and Phil Gray, who has been at Luton and Sunderland, but didn't feature at the Kingstonian tournament.

"I'll be asking Justin Cochrane back and having another look at Mark Nicholls on Tuesday," added Brown.

"We're also hoping to get Dave McEwen as he's a very talented youngster.

"But it's not as simple as looking at a player and saying we want him. We have to look at the finances too.

"So it's a case of balancing out what we can afford and what talent we already have."

Last year's stars Gareth Howells, Jon Nutter and Adam Parker, with Mark Watson starting on the bench, were also prominent in Sunday's final, as was Gareth's brother and ex-Spurs star David Howells.

Parker might need to work on his finishing touch after missing three or four golden opportunities.

He was first denied after 21 minutes when Billy Mead cleared his close range header off the line after a great ball in from the right from Belgium triallist Timi, who impressed after appearing on both days.

Parker found himself in front of the goal again ten minutes later, but this time put Kumar's cross just wide of the upright.

His fighting spirit didn't abate in the second half and a great run into the box was denied when he put the ball just wide again.

His fiery temperament was, however, also on show and Parker found himself spoken to on a number of occasions by referee Darren Spicer.

Although Shots dominated and had the better of the chances, K's did, at times, look dangerous on the break and after 23 minutes youth coach Martin Kuhl, a solid captain at the back, made a good off the line clearance to keep his side in the game.

Youth teamer Brett Cooper, on for the injured David Howells after 53 minutes, produced a superb left foot strike in the closing minutes but was denied by a good save from K's keeper Adrian Jones.

The game remained a goalless stalemate after 90 minutes and so under tournament rules it was down to penalties to decide the outcome.

Mark Nicholls, Adam Parker, Byron Bubb and Mark Watson all duly slotted home, before K's fourth penalty taker, Greg Ball, miss-kicked and the ball dribbled wide.

It was left to captain Kuhl to chip the keeper fancifully and then lift the trophy.

From the manager's point of view another pleasing aspect was the influx of youth team players.

Mark Klebo featured in the starting line up and Ali Shaw, Brett Cooper and Nick Sowden all came on as second half substitutes.

"They were a very pleasing aspect," added Brown. "Martin Kuhl and Simon Pullen's boys have really come on over the last couple of years.

"It enables me to supplement the squad with quality local youngsters."

The one down side of the weekend was the injury to David Howells. He was stretchered off after a crunching tackle on 53 minutes and needed surgery on his leg on Sunday night.

He suffered from a broken fibula and tibia and a dislocated ankle.

Saturday's semi-final clash with Brentford had given run outs to summer signings Dean Hooper, Jason Cousins, Anthony Charles, Dave Carroll, Paul Buckle and Nikki Bull, alongside seasoned Shots' Jason Chewins, Lee Holsgrove and Richard Gell.

It was somewhat of a surprise that Bull was given the nod over Gareth Howells to stand between the sticks in what appeared to be a Shots' first team.

"Saturday's was definitely our strongest side and Nicki Bull is very much challenging Gareth Howells for the spot," Brown said. "I have no idea who is getting that position.

"It will be whoever is doing well at the time."

Nuneaton Borough's Lee Charles, joined ex-Dulwich man Dave McEwen, Colchester's David Greene and Belgium striker Timmi Adewusi as the triallists on show in the 1-0 win for Shots.

Carroll impressed throughout, looking much sharper than he did towards the end of last season and Anthony Charles built up an army of fans with a superb performance.

Brown was also impressed with the lively goalscorer Roscoe D'Sane, who netted five minutes from the end. The tireless Buckle centred to Carroll, who put Anthony Charles through on the left wing.

He out paced his opponent before sending in a low cross to D'Sane, who nipped in front of the Bees' defence and fired in a first time shot at the near post.

SUNDAY SHOTS: G Howells; Cochrane (sub Sowden 72 mins), Nutter (Shaw 72), Klebo (White 83), Kuhl, Stirling, Nicholls, D Howells (Cooper 53), Kumar (Watson 67), Timmi (Bubb 45), Parker.

SATURDAY SHOTS: Bull; Hooper, Chewins (sub Greene), Silla, Cousins, A Charles, Carroll, Holsgrove (Gell), L Charles (D'Sane), McEwen (Adewusi), Buckle.

Aldershot Town have announced that the eagerly-awaited friendly with the full Chelsea first team will take place on Monday August 5, ko 7.45pm. Ticket arrangements will be announced shortly.

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