Two Anthony Straker strikes - one of them an absolute scorcher - were enough to earn Shots a much needed three points in their battle for League Two survival against Terry Brown's Wimbledon.
When the fixtures came out back in June 2011, many Shots fans eyes will have looked for this fixture. A new ground for most, the obvious comparisons between the history of our two clubs and of course, the ex Shots connections......Terry Brown, Stuart Cash, Simon Bassey, Marcus Gayle.
Little did we know then that when the fixture finally came round, Shots would come into it without a goal in almost 10 hours and struggling, just a handful of points away from the dreaded relegation places. It had been a crazy week too.....Guttridge - gone, more Payne....in! Which Aldershot Town would turn up today?
Well, they began well - young Adam Mekki - relishing the shirt (how refreshing to see) winning a free kick and then subsequently a corner, through sheer desire. Josh Payne delivered a good ball in, which Danny Hylton headed towards goal, only for Seb Brown to deny him. From the resultant corner, Shots went close again, this time Guy Madjo poking the ball over.
On 12 minutes, the moment Shots fans, players and staff had waited 9 hours and 36 minutes for....a GOAL!! Straker received the ball inside the Wombles half and made good ground into open space. He then played the ball in to the path of Guy Madjo and continued his run forward. Madjo spotted that and back heeled the ball into Strakers path. Strakes jinked left, let fly and via a deflection, the ball nestled in the net.
Moments later Shots had a decent appeal for a penalty....Josh Payne upended in the area - nothing given though.
On 28 minutes, a Dons free kick was played short and a long range shot went over. However, the ref spotted an infringement - presumably off the ball and awarded the home side another one, much closer to goal. This time Sammy Moore took it, right footed...another deflection, another goal - 1-1.
The goal lifted the home side and the game became a much more even contest. Both teams battled hard, but failed to create any more worthwhile efforts prior to the interval.
Shots manager Holdsworth brought on Aaron Morris in a straight swap for Collins after the break. Much like the first half, Shots looked to take the game to their opponents and forced a couple of early corners. Then Dons broke and almost scored what would have beden the third deflected goal of the afternoon. This time though, Midson's inadvertent flick of Knott's shot trickled wide.
Midson had an even better chance to put the home side ahead on the hour, after a mistake by Bradley let him in. However, Ross Worner saved his goal bound effort with his legs. The ball rebounded to Harrison, but his shot flew over the bar.
Then, on 69 minutes......a moment to savour, for Shots and in particular, for Anthony Straker. After a patient build up, Hylton fed Straker down the left. Shots left back then stormed forward and from fully 30 yards. let fly with a cross shot that almost ripped the Wimbledon net off! Awesome!
Could Shots hold on to a rare lead for the final 20 minutes? Well, for the first ten of them, they dominated, forcing two more corners, as Dons struggled to get back into the game. There were a few scary moments as the clock ticked down. A Jolley shot blazed over from close range and then a penalty appeal for a shove on the same player. But Shots hung on - and deservedly so, after a performance of real guts (excuse the pun) and character.
Shots: Worner 8 Herd 7 Straker 8 Jones 7 Bradley 6 Mekki 7 (Payne.S) Payne.J 7 Collins (J) 5 (Morris 7) Hylton 5 (Panther) Vincenti 6 Madjo 8 Subs not used: Clement Brown (T) Att 4634 (with 683 Shots fans)