Lincoln City 0 Aldershot Town 3

By Shotweb's Rob Worrall
Last updated : 09 May 2011

Shots ended the season in style scoring three times without reply and in doing so, sent a sorry looking City side down to the Conference. Already the fans player of the season, Luke Guttridge helped himself to the top scorers trophy as well, with two second half goals, after Danny Hylton had put Shots ahead with a 55th minute penalty.

Manager Dean Holdsworth took no pleasure from seeing his team relegate the home side, but was delighted with what he described as "an outstanding and highly professional performance" in the circumstances. The match also saw Douglas Bergqvist make his League debut for Aldershot and substitute appearances for Adam Mekki and Reece Connolly.

With Alex Rodman and Darren Jones both nursing hamstring injuries, Holdsworth gave another - much deserved - start to Welsh u-21 international Aaron Morris and Damien Spencer returned to the lone striking role, in what was a 4-1-4-1 formation, with John Halls sitting in front of the back four and Peter Vincenti bossing the middle of the park alongside Guttridge.

With Barnet now hot on their heels and their football league status in grave danger, Lincoln slashed ticket prices in order to fill Sincil Bank and almost 8000 turned up, but fresh from playing in front of 11000 partisan fans at Bradford just three weeks before, gutsy Shots were not phased and settled quickly to the task ahead of them.

Gavin McCallum had the first opportunity of the match for Lincoln but fired straight at Jamie Young. Imps top scorer Ashley Grimes received the Player of the Season award prior to kick off, but never really looked like scoring, spurning two half chances as the home side struggled to break through a resolute Shots defence, superbly marshalled by skipper Anthony Charles and the highly promising Morris. Full backs Anthony Straker and Ben Herd did all that was asked of them too and both managed the odd foray forward as well, as Shots began to take control of proceedings.

As the first half entered added time, three different Shots players were thwarted in the same move, as first the Lincoln keeper and then two of his fellow defenders threw themselves in front of strikes from Hylton, Vincenti and McGlashan.

So, goalless it remained at the interval, both at Sincil Bank and Underhill but all that was to change within just a few minutes into the second half and it was all bad news for the luckless Imps. First, news filtered in of a Barnet goal and then worse....as McGlashan was pulled down for a Shots penalty....and Danny Hylton tucked it away with ease, seemingly unaffected by the significance of the strike, which must have felt like a dagger into the home fans already seeping wounds.

Lincoln tried desperately to find a response, but snatched at the occasional opportunities that came their way and they never really looked like scoring. Shots seized almost total control of the match and it was no surprise when they doubled their lead, Guttridge surging into a crowded area and poking home from 15 yards.

Mekki, Bergqvist and Connolly all entered the fray and the latter almost scored with his first touch, but his effort found the wrong side of the net. Then with just seven minutes left, pandemonium broke out and Sincil Bank erupted with noise as the home supporters celebrated what, for some reason they assumed at the time was a Port Vale equaliser at Barnet. There was no goal though and moments later, it mattered not anyway, as Shots helped themselves to a third goal. Vincenti fed Connolly, who held up play before laying a perfect pass into the path of the on-rushing Guttridge, who fired home with ease.

It was all over for Lincoln and the final whistle confirmed their fate. As for Shots, well credit must go to the players and management for the way in which they have finished the season. The three goals they scored without reply left Shots with a 'zero' goal difference, an improvement which augers well for next term. And their final tally of just six away defeats, ensured a new club record to boot.

Thanks Deano, Bish and the lads for your efforts this season, along with all those who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our wonderful club 'alive and kicking'. To the handful of players who will no doubt be moving on - thanks for your efforts and good luck. To those that are staying - thanks for yours too and we look forward to seeing you again next season.

Shots: Young 7, Herd 7, Morris 7, (Bergqvist) Charles 7, Straker 7, McGlashan 7, (Mekki) Halls 6, Guttridge 8, Hylton 7, Vincenti 8, Spencer 5 (Connolly 7). Att 7,932 (including 518 Shots fans)

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