ALDERSHOT must beat Scarborough in their last match of the season on Saturday to be sure of a place in the promotion play-offs for the second year running. Tuesday night's dramatic 3-3 draw at Accrington leaves Aldershot fifth in the table, level on points with Morecambe, but with Stevenage, Exeter and Woking all within striking distance. A draw is not likely to be enough because Stevenage, one point behind, finish with a home match against bottom side Leigh RMI. Exeter and Woking are one further point adrift, but both have a better goal difference. Woking travel to Halifax, while Exeter have a tough match at second-placed Carlisle. No wonder, then, that Terry Brown sent out an appeal for support after the tense battle in the north in which Aldershot finished with 10 men. "Bring your flags, your drums, your scarves. Fill the Rec and be the 12th man on Saturday," said the manager who knows full well the advantage given his side by a partisan atmosphere at the Rec. Aldershot know that Scarborough will be tough nuts to crack, remembering the 2-2 draw in Yorkshire back in October, and they will need to show the attacking flair that netted them three goals at Accrington. Twice, Aldershot were ahead and even after Chris Giles' red card in the 61st minute, the visitors fought back to lead 3-2. With 20 minutes left, they looked capable of holding out, but up popped Lee McEvilly, a thorn in Aldershot's side all night, to equalise in the 78th minute. The two former Football League clubs had produced a firecracker of a match. Accrington still had a mathematical chance of making the top five, while Aldershot knew they had to return with something to stay in the hunt. The home side got a dream start, taking the lead with just four minutes gone when Gary Roberts sprinted in from the left and beat Nikki Bull with a low shot. Will Antwi cleared from the goalmouth as Accrington chased a second goal, but Aldershot hit back on 20 minutes when Gary Holloway was fouled on the edge of the area and Darren Barnard demonstrated his set-piece prowess with a sizzling free-kick to beat Jon Kennedy. This set the pattern for an end-to-end encounter, but it remained 1-1 at the break and then the Aldershot support in a crowd of 1,272 raised the roof when their team took the lead in the 56th minute. Holloway again made inroads, this time being tripped inside the box, and Barnard calmly converted the penalty for his second goal. Then came a key moment in the game when Giles tripped the tricky McEvilly. Referee Lewis at first awarded a penalty, changed his mind after consulting his lineseman, but adjudged Giles to have been the last defender and sent him off. The free-kick resulted in a corner and McEvilly took advantage of Aldershot's disrupted defence to head home the equaliser: 2-2. Aldershot's 10 men showed no sign of falling back, but pushed forward with even more intensity. Their bold approach was rewarded on 70 minutes when the tigerish Holloway won possession and placed the ball perfectly for Tim Sills to finish off. However, Accrington refused to lie down and their own feisty attitude paid off, McEvilly blasting the ball home after a great delivery from Roberts. Even then, Aldershot could have won it as a lobbed effort by Sills drifted agonisingly past the upright. Accrington Stanley: Kennedy, Howarth, Williams, Flynn, Butler, Brown, Proctor, Jagielka (Craney 71), Roberts (Prendergast 79), Mullin, McEvilly. Subs (not used): Alcock, Smith, Cook. Booked: Williams, Proctor, McEvilly. Aldershot: Bull, Giles, Antwi, Johnson, Barnard, N Crittenden (Clarke 85), Lee, Watson, Holloway, Challinor (Warburton 65), Sills. Subs (not used): Glasspool, Slabber, Mustafa. Booked: Antwi, Holloway. Sent off: Giles. Attendance: 1,272. Referee: R Lewis (Shropshire).
Aldershot need a win to reach play-offs
Wednesday 20th April 2005 10:00 pm
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