Tel Optimistic After Alty Farce

Last updated : 31 January 2006 By Stray Shots Team
A hideous defensive display allowed Altrincham to run riot at Moss Lane — not only giving the Shots a lesson in finishing, but more importantly, in passion and desire, report the Aldershot News.

As a result, the fuming boss vowed to make changes, and he did just that on Monday night as the long running saga to sign Jonny Dixon was brought to a successful conclusion.

Brown finally managed to bag the Wycombe Wanderers striker on loan until the end of the season. The 22-year-old joins the Shots for a second loan spell having scored seven goals in ten League starts last season at the Rec.

Naturally, the boss showed his disgust at Saturday's performance but while a third successive Play-Off berth is still mathematically possible, he lives in hope that this could be a mere hiccup.

“It's not the end of the Play-Off dream, as long as it's possible we'll keep going for it,“ he said. “I need to get players in and strengthen and hopefully they will give us a boost.

“I know I've got players out there who can play considerably better than they did today, it's down to bog basic defending and we never did that,” said Brown.

Too many players were missing on Saturday, one quite literally, as Tim Sills left to join Oxford. Brown though was adamant his absence shouldn't have made a difference.

“Tim missing doesn't stop my centre halves winning battles, or my full backs tucking round or us defending and that was our biggest problem today, albeit we didn't look dangerous going forward, we defended like a pub team.

“We were very, very poor today, with the exception of Leroy, all of our players have to look at themselves. Some of the goals we conceded were shocking,” fumed Brown.

This isn't the first time the boss has told his players to look at themsleves, nor is it the first time that he has had to apologise to the band of travelling fans this season.

“It is similar to how I felt after Morecambe, another long journey. We had a strong side out there today and we let the fans and the club down.

“It was an ill-disciplined game that cost us almost every goal. We will be running through every goal and making sure we know who's to blame, but really I'd like to say sorry to the supporters,” added Brown.

In Sills' absence and Kirk Hudson out with mumps, the boss was again forced into playing a lone striker in Leroy Griffiths with Nick Crittenden and Ryan Williams supporting.

This led to a bright start with Crittenden looking lively and Steve Watson firing a shot just wide.

But just eight minutes in Altrincham took an unlikely lead. James Robinson was allowed to waltz through the midfield, Michael Elphick tried to head the ball away but instead gave it straight back to the midfielder, who unleashed a shot 20 yards out past an outstretched Nikki Bull.

On-loan Elphick went close to bringing the Shots level as he threw himself forward to get on the end of a Williams' delivery but it was to no avail.

By this point Altrincham were being allowed to dictate the pace of the game, and it would have become two had Bull not pulled off an excellent point-blank double save to keep out Colin Little and Val Owen.

The Shots though were handed a lifeline on 33 minutes when Gary Holloway won a dubious penalty after being held back in the box.

Darren Barnard stepped up and sent keeper Stuart Coburn the wrong way with a shot into the bottom left corner.

But the Aldershot swansong lasted just seven minutes as Altrincham re-claimed the lead when the Shots failed to clear their lines leaving Rod Thornley to fire home frrom the edge of the box.

Things then got worse for the Shots deep into injury time when Watson was adjudged to have taken a dive on the edge of the Altrincham box by referee Rob Lewis, who signalled an Altrincham free kick in a dangerous position.

Steven Aspinall stepped up to curl the ball beautifully over the wall and into the top corner.

The second half saw centre back John Brough introduced up front in a bid to make use of the high balls into the area which Sills would have relished.

Crittenden hit a fierce low drive from a tight angle that found only the side netting and Watson shot over the bar.

Altrincham though were always a threat on the break with Little twice coming close to adding to the scoreline. First, his free-kick effort was smothered by Bull, then his shot from distance whistled past the post.

But Altrincham did eventually find a fourth goal after Thornley made the most of non-existent defending, and seconds later it was five as Little robbed Barnard all too easily, beat Matt Somner with ease before finishing well past Bull.

Griffiths came close to adding a second consolation when turning on a sixpence only to see his effort blocked.

Not even he though could prevent Altrincham becomin g the first, and most unlikely, team of the season to do the double over the Shots.

Whilst five may be flattering, Altrincham, on this showing, should not be sucked into a relegation battle.

With tough trips to Stevenage, Hereford and Tamworth all looming, the Shots have some major work to do this week if they are to continue their ever-fading chance of making the Play-Offs.

Brown concluded: “It was bordering on embarrassing, on these away trips we've got to bring our hearts with us and bring some character.

“It's a major blow to get beat that convincingly and there's a lot of things to look at considering we have picked up recently and played well.”

With Thanks to the Aldershot News.