Six of the best for The Shots in their charge for promotion

Tuesday 18th January 2022 7:00 am
Scott Perry has been exceptional this season

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AFTER a three-week break from league action, Aldershot and Farnham men’s first team returned to league action with a convincing 6-1 victory over Crawley.

The result keeps them on top of the South East Division 1 West table, and on course for promotion.

Head coach Ian Jennings was delighted to get the points on the board after the weather disrupted training following the festive break.

He said: “We find ourselves in a very strong position, three points ahead at the top of the league, with a very healthy number of goals and goal difference.

“To quote an old adage, the ball is in our court.

“We know it is going to be a difficult second half of the season with three or four teams also trying to get out of the league.

“However, they all look at us as we are less likely to stumble.

“This, combined with some games between them that will result in taking points off each other, will further support our push.

“Every Saturday we have to ensure we have another three points in the bag and things will become easier. We just have to make sure we don’t drop any silly points.”

Crawley, in a comfortable mid-table position going into the second half of the season, provided resilient opposition.

After a rigorous warm-up in the dismal conditions, Aldershot started with the usual front-line intensity.

Within the first minute this paid dividends when Jonny Groves found himself unmarked on the penalty spot with just the keeper to beat.

However, some good goalkeeping and last-ditch defending ensured the ball stayed out of the net.

The Shots did not have to wait long for the first goal, however, as following some sustained pressure a short corner was won, which was duly dispatched by Scott Perry who fired in off the crossbar.

Crawley were undeterred by this setback, playing a counter-attacking style of play that stretched the home side’s back line.

And they were level following a flurry of half-chances which saw Hamish Hall called into action, when a short corner was won and dispatched.

This served as a wake-up call and sure enough goals followed the increase in tempo. Perry converted another short corner to the keeper’s left to make it 2-1 before scoring once more with a brilliant solo effort, cutting in from the left and flicking the ball past the keeper.

Just before half-time Groves deflected home from a James Treadgold short corner delivery to make it 4-1 going into the break.

Aldershot were in dominant form after the interval, with good midfield work by Treadgold, Boot and Whelan being supplemented by the attacking presence of Weston from right back.

The forward line of Groves, Frost, Cryer, Smith and Weston all worked tirelessly to generate openings, with Rushmere, Morhall and McCaffery providing able support behind them.

Despite some brief moments of Crawley pressure, the travelling side began to tire in the second half, making attempts to escape their own half increasingly difficult.

This provided multiple chances for The Shots, with the ball often rattling around the D.

Groves netted his second with a back-post tap-in following fine delivery from Perry from the left.

The sixth and final goal arrived when Treadgold converted from a corner, driving the ball to the keeper’s left.

Although The Shots continued to create chances, the Crawley defence stood strong.

It left Aldershot in a confident frame of mind gong into this weekend’s match at Eastbourne.

Jennings said: “It was a fairly disruptive training week.

“On the Monday we focused on fitness and Wednesday was going to be more tactical but it had to be called off because of frost.

“Our performance was indicative of this – our first half was rusty.

“I felt not enough preparation had been done by players with basic positional problems occurring that will be punished against better sides.

“But we have become much more multi-faceted in our attacks, which is a very pleasing variation.

“However, I was disappointed by the lack of outcomes with the amount of great circle penetrations we had.

“It was great to trap a side in their own 22 and we managed to wear them out, which ensured they couldn’t go forward, and forced a lot of turnovers. We were very disciplined and we continue to explore new avenues.

“We have to tighten our loose areas, with our closing down and formation, and make sure people have done their homework with our basic positional play– but it’s nothing major.

“A little bit of tweaking, accompanied with hard work, will provide good outcomes.

“I thought Scott Perry was outstanding – we’ve been very pleased with his past four or five games.

“He is targeted by the opposition in every game and he had adapted to that brilliantly – and to support this we try to make sure we are dangerous in numerous areas.

“He is the best player in the league at carving something out of nothing and we are lucky to have him.”

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