Leroy Gets Heros Welcome

Last updated : 24 January 2006 By Stray Shots Team
The Aldershot News has reported that quite how important Saturday's win over Play-Off hopefuls Halifax Town will be to Aldershot Town come the end of the season remains to be seen.

But make no mistake, Saturday's win was hugley vital to the Shots — not only in terms of the points secured over play-off rivals, but the fact that Aldershot did so without playing to their full potential.

Whisper it quietly, but this could be the turning point of the season.

Boss Terry Brown admitted that a little bit of good fortune helped them on their way, but after the unluckiest of seasons so far, Lady Luck was a welcome visitor to the Recreation Ground.

“The victory was more important than the performance, which I wasn't overly impressed with, Brown explained.

“It was one of those days where we needed a bit of luck and we certainly got it.

“We struggled to handle Halifax's front two, they looked dangerous the whole game but we never got our game going, now and again you have to win scruffily and we took that to new heights today.

“It was one of those days where we had the rub of the green, everything bounced our way and on another day Halifax would have got something out of it”.

Indeed, the play-off chasing Shaymen were clearly one of the best footballing sides to have visited the Rec so far this season but without that killer touch up front, they conceded defeat.

The Shots had their own secret weapon as Brown was finally able to placate fans with the unveiling of striker Leroy Griffiths, on loan from Fisher Athletic until the end of the season.

And the 29-year-old fired the Shots to victory with two goals, and an inspiring display before limping off late on with a knock.

With the goals came some much needed light relief at the Rec as the striker still managed to hobble back round to the bench whilst signing autographs all the way round the round.

Brown added: “Leroy's got pace over the top and his finish is clinical. Tim (Sills) has had to shoulder most of the attack all year so it was pleasant for him to have a quiet day and let someone else grab the glory.

“Leroy picked up a knock and I reckon he's also got a blister or two from shaking all those hands in the East Bank, he milked the life out of that!”

Griffiths, 29, signs on loan until the end of the season from Ryman premier side Fisher Athletic, having served for a number of clubs including two spells at neighbours Farnborough Town and a turbulent period at Grays which ended in controversy.

The former QPR striker is not the only new face to arrive at the Rec this week.

Straight after Saturday's victory, Brown continued his hunt for a young defender and on Monday afternoon announced the arrival of 20-year-old Gary Elphick, who comes in on loan from Brighton & Hove Albion until the end of the season.

The current centre half pairing of Greg Heald and John Brough struggled for pace against the Halifax attack — the latter in particular — and Elphick could be the perfect tonic for the boss in time for tonight's home clash with Canvey Island (ko 7.45pm).

Brown though escaped punishment this time round as wayward finishing and a couple of excellent saves from the ever in-form Nikki Bull meant the Shaymen once again left empty-handed.

Both sides started well in a fast-paced opening, as Lewis Killeen shot from 30 yards just over the bar just two minutes into the game.

The Shots hit back as Tim Sills nodded down Ryan Williams' free kick, forcing keeper to Adam Legzdins to block. The re-bound fell to Griffiths, who shot, but that too was parried amid claims of a hand ball.

With the match pretty even, both sides were playing some decent football. Gary Holloway, sporting a newly-shorn haircut, shot from the edge of the box but Legzdins comfortably saved.

Halifax though regularly demonstrated their deadly attack with the lively Chris Senior — on trial with the Shots over the summer — a constant threat.

Indeed, Senior almost carved out the opener for the visitors when breezing past a static John Brough and laying off to Wayne Jacobs, whose shot was parried by an agile Bull.

On 17 minutes, however, the Shaymen's pressure finally told as they broke the deadlock.

Yet again Senior got past Brough to square to Danny Forrest, he dinked the ball past Greg Heald and Killeen was well-placed to flick the ball into the bottom corner past a rooted Bull.

The Shots though never let their heads drop and within just five minutes later they were level.
Latching onto Williams' ball into the box, Holloway controlled and despite stumbling, managed to fire past an on-rushing Legzdins.

Amazingly, this was Holloway's first league goal in an Aldershot shirt, although he did break his 10-month duck in the Hamphsire Cup against Fleet ten days ago.

But then, with Brown and his Halifax counterpart Chris Wilder contemplating half time parity, Griffiths popped up to put the Shots in front.

Brough's punt over the top found the lively front runner, who beat marker Greg Young to place his shot past the keeper for a dream debut goal.

The second half saw Halifax start in a similar way to the first — neat football and surges forward bringing little reward.

Williams blasted over the bar, as did Matt Doughty at the other end, again from a well placed free kick.

Then, on 73 minutes, the Shots bagged a killer third —and again it was Griffiths who struck. Nick Crittenden's corner from the right found, Brough who shot, only for Legzdins to block.

Griffiths though was quickest to the rebound and despite the sprawled keeper and two defenders guarding the goalline, he managed to poke the ball home.

It was a classic poacher's goal indeed to please boss Brown — something he has been lacking for so long.

Halifax piled forward late on and perhaps, on another day, might have set up a tense finale — Killeen shooting into the side netting, while Forrest was thwarted by an athletic Bull.

The keeper saved again minutes later low down from substitute Justin Bowler, although the young Shots substitute Kirk Hudson came close to emulating Griffiths with a debut goal only to fire into the grateful arms of Legzdins from long range.

With thanks to the Aldershot News.