BEAMING caretaker boss Stuart Cash heaped praise on big money buy Adam Parker after his late show guided the Shots to a hard-fought victory at York Road.

Parker, who cost the Shots £10,000 from Hitchin in September, wasted no time in re-paying a large chunk of his fee by rattling in a two-goal salvo — the winner coming three minutes into injury time.

Coming onto replace Richard Gell on the hour when the Shots looked all but dead and buried, Parker twice connected with deep Lee Protheroe free kicks to give his side three crucial points and help his boss stake a claim for the permanent manager's position.

It's now four wins in four for Cash, who couldn't hide his delight at the final whistle.

He said: "I wouldn't say we deserved to win — a draw was a fair result. But the boys gave it everything out there, they've had a tough week and it was great to see them playing with that kind of spirit. We will play a lot better this season and probably get nothing out of it.

"I was delighted for Adam, who was unlucky not to start today after a good game in midweek. Adam hasn't been in the side, but he's been knocking on the door and took his chance today with a good performance and two very important goals.

"Once players force their way into the team, it's up to them to stay there and earn their shirts. Adam's done himself no harm.

"It was a poor game of football to watch for the supporters but it was always going to be. We did exactly the opposite to what we said in the changing room, the surface was really bobbly out there and it wasn't a game for passing."

Parker's display will certainly give Cash a healthy selection problem tonight when he picks a side to take on league leaders Gravesend & Northfleet at Stonebridge Road tonight (Tuesday ko 7.45pm). Gell is still overcoming a bout of flu.

Despite having to undergo a fair amount of stick and pressure since his move, Parker has stuck to the task admirably and has seemingly recovered from the disappointment of not making Cash's regular starting line-up.

His goals, which perfectly answered the chants of "what a waste of money" by Maidenhead fans behind the goal, sealed a dogged and determined effort by the Shots who had to bounce back from Lee Channell's 13th minute strike to snatch an unlikely victory.

The Magpies seemed happy to concede possession and it didn't take long before they started to reap success from their speedy counter attacks.

The Shots were caught cold by Ricky Ibe's deft flick which released Tom Hickey through the middle. Hickey then threaded through to Channell, who checked inside Ollie Adedeji before bending a right foot shot into the far top corner.

Channell and the lively Ibe alongside him were beginning to spell danger. Ibe's close control and skill was a joy to watch at times, while Channel had earlier forced a great close range stop by Gareth Howells.

Maidenhead's tactics caused problems for the Shots throughout the first half, and they were unlucky not to have increased their lead.

Rob Saunders saw his 25-yard free kick balloon into the top of the crossbar, while Howells was again brought into action to thwart young full back Andy Rose's burst into the box.

But after a couple of half chances and the odd glimpse of invention, the Shots did manage to give their hosts a tasty reminder of what was to come with the best bit of football of the day on the stroke of half time.

Paul Harford played neat one-twos with both Jason Chewins and Gell before playing in Stafford Browne, whose chipped shot on the turn beat keeper Richard Barnard but unfortunately not the crossbar.

Browne then went close just after the break from Mark Graham's nod down and the revival had begun.

Protheroe launched a deep 73rd minute free kick into the box from the left hand by-line and substitute Parker popped up at the far post to guide the ball home with a deft touch.

With the clock showing 93 minutes, Protheroe launched a free kick into the danger zone from inside his own half, the ball eluded the Maidenhead back line and there was Parker once again at the far post to head past Barnard.

The large band of travelling Shots fans went wild behind the goal as Parker showed in celebration, just what it had meant to him.

George Borg may have been forced into a wry smile when learning of Parker's success on Saturday, but it wasn't as broad as Cash's as the Shots did him proud once again.

MAIDENHEAD: Barnard; Rose, Connor, Kelly, Croxford (sub Cook 65mins), Jeffrey, Hickey (Jarvis 63), Ibe (Allen 79), Channell, Saunders, Ulasi.

SHOTS: Howells; Gell (sub Parker 60mins), Chewins, Kirby, Coll, Adedeji, Graham, Harford, Browne (Watson 90), Ward (Payne 60), Protheroe.

Ref: Russell Evans. Att: 753.

The Shots now enter into an crucial week with the trip to Gravesend tonight followed by the Ryman League Cup 3rd round home tie with Corinthian Casuals on Thursday (ko 7.45pm).