It’s been a while since the last blog post, in which I described Aldershot’s form as boasting “more inconsistencies than a phone signal on a moving train.” And to be honest, in that two-month spell, rather than install built-in phone masts on said train, it’s like the train has run over every single phone mast in the whole of south England. Yes, it’s that bad. Players have been booed off of the pitch, attendances have dwindled and I’ve no doubts that the lack of firepower has done nothing to help the producers of the Football League Show fight to keep the show on our television sets. However, as any self-respecting viewer can vouch for, a television show is ideal when unpredictable and full of twists and tales, so I wouldn’t be surprised if they filled the unsociable schedule slot with a documentary on The Shots’ ongoing season.
Nestling in the roots of the Football League and flirting with non-league status as they lie they 19th, Dean Holdsworth’s men have tasted sweet victory, suffered miserable loses and been bludgeoned by their own fans. And it’s not even February.
Currently without a win since December 10th, the Shots haven’t scored in six games (or once in nine if you like a real horror statistic), and are now, more than ever, suffering from a dose of reality that was so far adrift when stars filled eyes against West Ham and Manchester United. The signs have been there; two spells without a win in five and six games, respectively, horribly overshadow the impressive run of form that boasted an eight game unbeaten streak. It’s safe to say that the January transfer window could be a blessing in disguise to help save blushes and prevent a repeat of the miserable scenes witnessed at home to Oxford United; “can you score a goal for us?” and “let’s pretend we’ve scored a goal” were both capped off with a section of the crowd heckling the players and management at full time.
Saturday’s matchday squad against Accrington Stanley included six ‘new’ faces. Perhaps the most important of the lot was that of Guy Madjo. Ask any fan, and they’d tell you that a goal scorer is needed. With Danny Hylton having not found the net since being cursed by the League Two October Player of the Month award and Michael Rankine sidelined for the rest of the season, Holdsworth acted productively in signing the bulky striker. Brought in as part of a “business deal”, Madjo exhibited shades of pace and the ability to fulfill a holding role, though struggled to force his way through the Stanley defence. The potential was there, although the proof has already been witnessed with Madjo netting eight times in six games in previous games against The Shots.
Another arrival, Josh Payne, who’s on loan from Oxford United, is a needed addition to the midfield who have suffered from the sidelining of Alex Rodman for the rest of the season and midfield maestro Luke Guttridge having gone off the boil faster than a dippy egg. The headline switch involving red and blue, though, has been the departure of Jermaine McGlashan to Cheltenham Town. Staring bluntly at the switch, one can easily form the opinion that The Shots have been foolish to let such a promising and threatening player go in the time of need. This is far from the case, however. In all honesty, the departure of McGlashan, while disappointing to see the back of the winger who dazzles opponents with his flair and leaves them in his smoke as he flies down the flanks, Aldershot may just benefit more by losing him, in this time of need.
Firstly, his departure drummed up the funds to bring in Madjo. While McGlashan can find the back of the net on his day, he’s not who you’d throw on with five minutes to go in order to get that goal. He’s more the creator, becoming somewhat redundant in red and blue currently with no one able to pounce on his feed. Secondly, the return of Adam Mekki from injury means that Holdsworth can fill any void left out on the right. Like McGlashan, Mekki has pace, is nimble, skillful and isn’t scared to register an attempt on goal. Thirdly, not only did his fee help pay for Madjo, with some still left in the kitty (I believe, if my maths is correct), I’ve no doubts that a player like Mekki – young, less wealth of experience under his belt – does less to hurt The Shots’ wallet than McGlashan. It is, however, a shame to have lost Charlie Henry back to Luton, for his enthusiasm in midfield and animated attack down the flanks would’ve made a nice combination if Mekki play on the other wing.
It’s AFC Wimbledon next for The Shots. An important tie that will need the players to find the back of the net if they’re to steer their ship away from a threatening whirlpool that lies in the distance. On the one hand, a game tailored around rivalry may be the perfect opportunity to make it rain in the oppositions goal mouth, or, the players could crumble from the pressure. I do believe, though, that it is not the latter that will happen come 3pm on Saturday, for the promise and refreshing display against Stanley deserved more goals and less woodwork action. The optimist inside of me can feel a storm brewing in the form of goals.
Written by Morgan Applegarth, We Are Going Up’s Aldershot Town Blogger
Photo: Ian Morsman
Morgan tweets at @morgapplegarth