David Cameron Walker

Posts Tagged ‘Dean Holdsworth’

Twinned with Atacama: The drought continues

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

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

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

 

Have the devils been and gone?

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Before Tuesday night’s fixture against Burton Albion, it was difficult to make judgment as to the situation that Aldershot Town found themselves in, given that their form book boasts more inconsistencies than a phone signal on a moving train. While Dean Holdsworth had managed to steer the side back onto the right track with back-to-back league wins against Dagenham & Redbridge and Crewe Alexandra, one thing that could be made certain as the terraces slowly filled on Tuesday night, was that The Shots are in limbo.

They can’t be written off as potential play-off hopefuls, but nor can they be struck off the list for relegation candidates come the turn of the new year. After all, this is League Two – the only football league that is tighter than a XXL shirt on the back of Steve Evans.

As the floodlights shone on an unchanged starting eleven from the one that began against The Railwaymen, The Shots seemed to give those in attendance just what they came to see. Ignoring the odd scrappy patch of wayward passes and avoidable coercion from the travelling Brewers, it was a dominant performance filled with creative movement, tenacity and a pleasing attacking confidence. Three league wins on the spin is the perfect reply to the dogged form that still lurks in this season’s inscribed history, like a bad taste left in your mouth from a dessert which you didn’t really want, but thought it would round off your lovely home cooked stew nonetheless.

Up until Luke Guttridge’s stunning controlled volley in the 43rd minute, which all but sealed Burton’s fate, I still found mysef pondering the damage of the club’s whimsical League Cup run. Despite the drubbing of the Daggers in the days leading up to the arrival of Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United, the hypothesis that the greatest day of the season so far (and one of the most memorable in the club’s history) was also one of the most damaging, still stood. For a while – five games to be precise – it seemed as though Danny Hylton’s winner against West Ham could have had serious detriments on a side whose main focus should be on ensuring League status.

Off the back of what was six wins in eight matches, Holdsworth’s men found themselves distracted by an enticing tie against arguably the biggest football club in the world. Just hours before League Two’s own Red Devils marched onto the turf at The Rec, the Red and Blue Army learned that they would soon be applying an extra lick of paint to the away dressing room (à la an early Brian Clough awaiting the arrival of Don Revie) as the real Red Devils would be in town. Within seconds of the Cup draw being made, a frenzy developed among supporters and the media, creating an unhealthy whirlwind of excitement – something that undoubtedly leaked into the home dressing room and became a permanent fixture in everyone’s mindset. Four losses on the trot, and the West Ham hangover had kicked in.

The Manchester United fixture was undoubtedly one to savour. Not only was it an occassion for the ‘fans’ to enjoy, but it was a nice earner for the club; never has The Rec seen so much temporary scaffolding and bright advertising hoarding. It also gave the players the chance to pit themselves against some of the most experienced players playing the beautiful game in this country.

“It was great to test ourseleves against them, they’re the best in the business. It was an education,” admitted Danny Hylton after the far from humiliating departure from the Cup. Admittedly, I felt aggrieved to believe the bouyancy that oozed off the Shots players after the United match, however, I am happy to eat my words and retract my pessimism after witnessing the unstoppable form that players such as Hylton, Guttridge, Ross Worner and Jermaine McGlashan have got themselves in.

McGlashan, for instance, seems to have come on leaps and bounds since the start of the season. Even against the might of Nemanja Vidic and wirey figure of Ji-Sung Park, he was able to exhibit what he can do as he released himself from their shackles on more than one occassion. And with four goals in three league games, he is rapidly growing into becoming delicate tender as the January transfer window looms.

The return of Scott Davies is a loan deal that, on first thought, was draped in glitter and confetti. His mastery attacking midfield prowess is a welcome addition to any side, though I do question the likelihood that he’ll slot straight into the starting XI as Evans’ comments on the move seemed to suggest. Ninety minutes every week, no. Ten minutes here, ten minutes there, perhaps. I know I’m not alone when I say that he shouldn’t be able to waltz into a side that seems to have had it’s seams re-bonded based upon his legendary status when adorned in red and blue. I’m sure this won’t happen anyway – one only has to think of Tim Sills’ return to see what happened there.

What is needed is consistency. So far this season, The Shots have been plagued and praised with form that has more patches than a local newspaper. While this current run of form is one to boast about, let’s not forget that it is stalked by a period of loss galore, which is preceded by wins galore, and then loss galore again. There’s no pleausre in riding a tumultuous rollercaster, but there is in driving your car down a newly re-surfaced road.

Written by Morgan Applegarth, We Are Going Up’s Aldershot Town Blogger

Morgan tweets at @morgapplegarth

Heading in the white direction

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

As The Shots left the rain-soaked pitch on Tuesday night, it was clear that the team’s season was finally heading in a positive direction following the disappointing opening to the campaign. Once again, Danny Hylton’s late winner – this time against Rochdale – extended Aldershot’s unbeaten run, while also making a new entry into the club’s ever-expanding history books.

The midweek League Cup victory is just the latest episode in Dean Holdsworth and his team’s persevering attempt to cause an upset and bring glory to The Rec. And not only is it fantastic to witness an Aldershot side develop faster than a Polaroid picture, but it’s also captivating to watch the football being played.

“We are fearless,” proclaimed Hylton as the sweat poured from his head and onto the microphones of the engrossed journalists that surrounded him following the Rochdale tie. He may also have added just how buoyant the dressing room mood is at the moment, though his goal celebrations in leading many-a-bundle acutely exhibit the lifted spirits of the players. And why wouldn’t the players be enjoying themselves, after all, they’ve gone eight games without a loss – a feat worthy of applause at any level.

As well as bringing with it an ever-growing belief and confidence, the lossless run has been accompanied by nostalgic tendencies; be it reminiscing about great times in the club’s past, or knowing that the ninety-plus minutes just witnessed will be looked back on as ‘the good old days’.

Old memories flooded back as former-gaffer Terry Brown led League Two new boys AFC Wimbledon onto the pitch where he was once the craftsman behind many a Shots tale. As the rain poured, the terraces became awash with over four thousand fans clad in their clubs’ colours, making The Rec a colorant of the Saturday afternoon sky.

While the performance was typical of The Shots this season – roaring dominance, with flowing football worming through the Wombles’ defensive third – it was the visitors who looked set to leave The Rec with the three points by way of a textbook smash-and-grab. That was until Hylton, a player who simply cannot stop himself from menacing the defence of whoever The Shots play lately, spoilt Brown and Stuart Cash’s own plans to spoil the welcome home party.

Just seconds before the referee’s Casio read 95:00:00, his deflected shot, wooed over the Wimbledon goal line by all in red and blue, earned Aldershot a point.

Then, a midweek visit to the familiar stomping ground that is Edgar Street saw the Red and Blue Army move themselves out of third gear, as they applied relentless pressure on a struggling Hereford United. Goals from Michael Rankine and Peter Vincenti separated the two, while Alex Rodman bagged three points when The Shots sunk The Pirates as they travelled to Bristol Rovers.

Sometimes in football, impressive wins and well earned draws can come as a result of lady luck getting her weekly dose of the beautiful game, as she looks over and offers a helping hand to turn the tables. However, sometimes in football, impressive wins and well earned draws come as a result of players putting to practice their heard work from the training ground and exhibiting just why football is their profession. While Holdsworth may think that the lady has played a role in his side’s impressive form (it has been his decision to sport the all-white away kit in the League Cup), it is the latter that I am inclined to believe as to why sides may just fear the Red and Blue Army at the moment.

Since making his debut against Carlisle in the League Cup, ‘stand-in’ goalkeeper Ross Worner has performed goalkeeping heroics that show just why his former clubs include Millwall, Crystal Palace and Charlton Athletic. His bravery in pouncing at strikers’ feet to obtain the football, and his athleticism to keep the ball out of the net, have played a pivotal role in The Shots’ eight games unbeaten.

Another new face this season, Rankine, has overcome his slow start and has become more of a handful for the opposition to deal with than Andy Gray sitting in front of a Sky Sports television camera. His partnership with Hylton, while underdeveloped to begin with, seems to be well and truly in bloom.

With the atmosphere at the club being just as positive as a random drugs test in the Tour de France, an air of concern does rest upon the size of the squad. Upon receiving the team sheet on Tuesday night, I overheard a fellow stringer comment on how Aldershot “only had six subs,” leaving one extra space on the bench. Granted that a couple of players, such as the rumoured Championship-bound Anthony Straker, are keeping the physio busy, it shouldn’t go unnoticed that the number of readily-available players isn’t as large as perhaps perceived. While the squad list on the back of the programme reads the full 25, a number of those who feature on the list are enjoying loan spells elsewhere.

However, solace can be taken in that fact that loan spells can be recalled, and that players can be loaned into the squad, also. Current loanee Jordan Brown has been a strong addition to the defensive ranks so far.

After the game against Rochdale, Holdsworth confessed his love for side, though believes that they “can still do better,” – an exciting thought from an Aldershot point of view, terrifying from that of the opposition.

It’s Crawley Town next up for The Shots; a bout that is sure to draw in the punters, for it shall not be the first time that the two sides have crossed paths.

Following their frankly humiliating defeat to Morecambe, which was then followed by a spanking by Swindon, Crawley have since bounced-back, making it hard to call the outcome of Saturday’s game. That said, Aldershot don’t look to be a side ready to curtail their lossless run just yet, rather, they look like a side ready to inflict headline-grabbing damage on any opponent. “Is there are a similar atmosphere in the dressing room to that of the Crazy Gang?” asked an inquisitive voice to Holdsworth on Tuesday. “I think there is,” he replied. Watch out, Crawley.

Written by Morgan Applegarth, We Are Going Up’s Aldershot Town Blogger

Morgan tweets at @morgapplegarth

What a difference a game makes…

Monday, September 5th, 2011


Following an impressive one-nil win at home to Cheltenham Town this weekend, Shots’ gaffer Dean Holdsworth hit the nail on the head post-match when he said that his side are on ‘a good run’. Three wins and one draw boasts a four game unbeaten streak for the red and blue army, and bringing with it four league points and a place in the club’s history books in the process.

After three league losses on the bounce, the Shots found that rather than there being a cosy, nothing-but-three-points fixture next on the calendar, they were in fact staring Championship outfit West Ham United in the face. In the days preceding the re-arranged Carling Cup tie at Upton Park, fans could see both the opportunity to cause an upset and get the faith flowing again – but also the potential of getting their heads buried deeper into the grass roots and getting more of a stuffing than a Christmas turkey.

Come 7.44pm on that Wednesday night at Upton Park on the 24th August, I, along with over 2,000 other Shots fans, sat in anticipation, hoping that on the return journey down the M25, the team coach would be filled with a squad that had a restored confidence; having won or lost. Fast forward to 9.36pm on Tuesday 30 August, and I was leaving The Rec having witnessed a team who had seemingly grown in confidence and looked every bit the part that they had promised to be after pre-season. A convincing two-nil victory over League One side Carlisle propelled Aldershot into the Cup’s third round, having utilised the momentum gained just six days before on a mild summer’s evening in east London.

In between the two cup ties, Dean Holdsworth’s men travelled west on the M4 to face Oxford United. With barely ten minutes on the clock, it looked like The Shots were facing a reality check as Anthony Straker was given his marching orders. However, the ten-men fought their way back to get their hands on a well-earned and hard fought point at the Kassam Stadium. That point, along with the triumph over The Hammers, has clearly given the side a positive boost. This weekend’s fixture against Cheltenham Town gave another good opportunity for the Shots to prove their mettle; and prove it they did. On-song striker Danny Hylton found the net, while Ben Herd hustled at the back and stand-in keeper Ross Worner proved his worth as a future number one.

Holdsworth himself admitted that it wasn’t the best performance his side could offer, causing the gaffer to lose his head in the dressing room at half time, but it was certainly one that highlighted just how united the squad are. Whilst the bundle before the the East Bank exemplified the bond among the players in front of the home crowd, more could be taken once the terraces had cleared and all who remained at The Rec were the players themselves and those holding dictaphones.

Grins stretched across many of the Shots players’ faces as they were taken through their cool down routine. It was refreshing to see, that a team who just over a week ago were finding themselves defeated despite playing the better football, were now getting their rewards; goals, clean sheets, three points and a cup run. The improvement on the pitch is seemingly reflected off the pitch, too. Fewer empty seats and more covered concrete reflect a steady improvement on the numbers that turned out against Northampton a few weeks ago. Moreover, with the return of former boss Terry Brown to The Rec next weekend, I can’t help but think that I’ll be fighting for arm space on the railings instead of giving my arms the luxury to sprawl over the red painted steel.

In his programme notes against The Robins, Holdsworth said that the win away to West Ham, the draw away to Oxford and the home win against Carlisle had been enjoyed by the whole club, but he still wanted more. And although the three points obtained this weekend reflected a good day at the office, Holdsworth has every right to expect more when newly promoted AFC Wimbledon grace The Rec’ turf next Saturday, as the current four game unbeaten streak seems to have been achieved with the side still playing in third gear.

Written by Morgan Applegarth, We Are Going Up’s Aldershot Town Blogger

Morgan tweets at @morgapplegarth

Keep calm and carry on

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

Three games into the new season, and it’s fair to say that The Shots have had a minor, though far from catastrophic, blip in the race for promotion.

Picture if you will, a hurdler. After a thorough warm up, they burst impressively out of the blocks. Suddenly, a lapse in concentration leads them to drag their leading leg over the first hurdle, causing their running spikes to graze the plastic surface with the faintest touch. This lapse does little, but provides just enough friction to slow the hurdler down, allowing those in the parallel lanes to gain the slightest advantage, albeit with a long way still to go in the race.

Now picture Aldershot, who have gained three points from a possible nine.

An opening-day win away to Bradford City hinted ever so slightly that the optimism provided from a successful pre-season may just be justified. Moreover, the travelling supporters could almost have been forgiven for singing “The Shots are going up” as they journeyed back down the M1. Shots-raised Danny Hylton was back to his mischeivious self, netting one (and trying to claim another), as he wiled the Bantams’ defence, while Alex Rodman scampered around midfield. A 2-1 triumph, three points and palatable football provided the ideal start.

Team confidence seemed high and the fan’s feelings were upbeat as The Shots prepared themselves for a tough cup-tie away to Sam Allardyce’s West Ham United. However, due to the unsavoury scenes witnessed in London last week, the wind was taken out of the red and blue army’s sail. The decision to postpone the tie was certainly the correct one, though tore a hole in a sail that had caught a mighty gust just days earlier at Valley Parade.

So, rather than doing their homework on players such as Carlton Cole and Scott Parker, The Shots turned their attention to a side famed more recently for knocking out Liverpool in last year’s Carling Cup; Northampton Town.

Freshly painted banners and newly purchased merchandise went someway in filling The Rec for the opening home fixture against The Cobblers. An impressive away following signalled the intent of a club considered dark horses for promotion, while also highlighting a disappointing turnout from the home fans; 2,200 certainly leaves (literally) room for improvement – a phrase that ironically reflected the performance on the pitch.

Understandably, gaffer Dean Holdsworth fielded an untouched side from the one that obtained three points the previous week, however he may just have rued that decision come 4.50pm later that afternoon.

From the kick-off, The Shots seemed slow in reacting to Northampton’s attacking play; like a groggy heavyweight pitted against a brisk cruiserweight. One-nil down after 50seconds left many home fans bracing themselves for the worst during the opening 45minutes. The defence knocked long balls toward an attack ready for through balls, while the midfield failed to fend off any attacking prowess from the visiting team and did little in supplying the goods for the strike partnership of Hylton and Michael Rankine – a duo who are yet to find true cohesion. Altogether, it seemed as if the three positional units were operating on different agendas.

The second half provided greater excitement and promise for the home fans, as those in red played more flavourful football. The return of the repaired midfield motor Luke Guttridge filled a notable void, while new boys Bradley Bubb and Jake Taylor confused the visitors’ defence, drawing them out from the bus that they seemed to have parked down the High Street End. Despite flirting with the woodwork and teasing those on the terraces with shots spraying the side netting, it was the sloppy start that cost The Shots any joy in front of the home crowd.

Sadly, the same feelings of dejection would accompany those in red and blue come 9.36pm on Tuesday night, as Torquay United paid a visit to north Hampshire.

An uncharacteristic error from goalkeeper Jamie Young ultimately gifted the Gulls three points in a match in which The Shots resembled a budding entrepreneur; lots of ideas, but no end product.

Holdsworth himself seemed boggled by just how his side did not add to their points tally, describing his post-match emotions as “shocked” and “disappointed.” “If that was a boxing match, it would’ve been stopped in the second round,” said the gaffer when emphasising his side’s dominance on the night. Twelve shots to the Gulls’ four, twelve corners to the Gulls’ three – these are just two stats that exemplify The Shots’ superior performance. However, as we all know, the most important stat is that of goals scored. Zero goals to the Gulls’ one. Enough said.

Much like the previous game against Northampton, Bubb and Taylor showed their worth when coming off of the bench, leaving one to ponder whether Holdsworth will try a different starting XI against Morecambe this weekend.

It is noticeable that the team are capable of playing the beautiful game in impressive fashion. For large spells on Tuesday night, as well as the closing stages of the Northampton match last Saturday, The Shots passing was quick, flowing and threatening to the opposition. However, there seems to still be creases yet to be ironed out, as well as a killer instinct when it comes to breaking down resolute defences.

“You cant fault their effort, you cant fault their quality, just something in front of goal is missing at the moment,” concluded a spot on Holdsworth on Tuesday night. While the club and supporters may feel disappointed with how the season has begun, it needs to be remembered that it’s a marathon, not a sprint, with 43 games still to be played.

In the words of 90s dance-pop sensation D:Ream, things can only get better.

Written by Morgan Applegarth, We Are Going Up’s Aldershot Town Blogger

Morgan tweets at @morgapplegarth

Photo: Ian Morsman

Who needs Mourinho when you’ve got Deano?

Monday, August 1st, 2011

By the end of Saturday 6th August, all twenty-four League Two clubs will have begun their season-long endeavours. For some, the goal will be to hear choruses of “we are going up” bellow from their supporters’ pie-surrounded mouths. For others, it will be to simply avoid the plunge into the eerie depths of the league below.

These goals are shared by the fans. For some, the goal will be having the honour of chanting “we are going up” as they swirl their scarves above their heads. For others, it will be to simply avoid visits to grounds where it would seem appropriate to have a vaccination before using the toilets.

For Aldershot Town, it seems as if there is an air of optimism among the fans and staff, alike. That perhaps The Shots might just be able to repeat the excitement of the 2009/10 season that saw the club clinch a playoff spot.

However, it was the same playoff spot that was surrounded by a feeling that, at-the-time gaffer, Kevin Dillon’s men had lucked out. And when frequent tormentor Adam Le Fondre single-handedly showed The Shots the exit door over the two legs, it wasn’t all that much of a surprise, nor a disheartening departure.

As many will testify, the football season is very difficult to predict, especially before a ball has even been kicked. Any team can slip up at any given moment, much like any team can excel and soar past those around them. Thus, I find it difficult to offer a blunt prediction on how Aldershot will end up when that final whistle is blown come Saturday 5th May up in Crewe.

Since his arrival, the former Newport County manager, Dean Holdsworth has had a wholly positive influence on a club that has become a stale figure lurking in the shadows of it’s former self.

Upon entering The Football League, following a blue-ribbon crusade of the Blue Square Premiere in 2008, The Shots have done little to instil a sense that success is something that the club can achieve on an annual basis. Sure, there have been moments when myself and fellow supporters have been rubbing our hands together as we begin to taste the trophy polish. But most of the time, it’s been the taste of vanilla ice cream that has lingered; never one to turn down, but is slightly mediocre and leaves you staring enviously at those enjoying the lemon and raspberry sorbet.

Ahead of their opening fixture against Bradford City, Holdsworth’s side have had a fairly successful and respectable pre-season. Three wins, two draws and one loss leaves The Shots in good stead going into some tricky opening fixtures which includes face-offs against Bradford, Torquay and Championship new-boys West Ham, in the Carling Cup.

While not trying to get too carried away with pre-season results, the red and blue army have undoubtedly impressed when playing higher-league opposition. A commanding performance against SPL outfit Inverness Caledonian Thistle looked to see The Shots come away with a victory over League One’s Charlton Athletic. Instead, Holdsworth and his men were left feeling like they’d opened up a box with a DVD player pictured on the side, only to find a VHS player.

Premier League dark horses Stoke City went down one nil after Shots-bred Adam Mekki scored the only goal against a competitive Potters side. Clearly, the VHS player had been returned for that much-sought DVD player. Holdsworth himself expressed delight with victory over “a quality side,” revealing that The Shots’ impressive pre-season was leaving him in a quandary in regard to his set-in-stone starting XI.

The disappointing defeat to Brentford in the final pre-season fixture proved that every cloud had a silver lining. The versatile nature of Holdsworth’s squad was certainly apparent, with players such as Anthony Straker, Peter Vincetti, Alex Rodman and new-face Jamie Collins all showing their worth in a number of positions.

Another new face that wanders the dressing room includes loanee Jake Taylor, of Reading. The 19-year-old has shades of ex-Shot and Reading midfielder Scott Davies about him, providing a confident outlet in an attacking midfield role. The only downside to Taylor’s swift arrival is his already looming departure. The decision to bring Taylor in falls with the injury of the influential Luke Guttridge, who has been sidelined through injury, though is set to return almost immediately after the start of the season.

Undoubtedly, the debate of the club’s financial stability looms the messageboards and terraces. However, a new shirt sponsorship deal with long-time club supporters EBB, as well as a “financial restructuring” of the club, portrays a sense of steadiness.

All in all, it seems as though The Shots sit in a favourable position ahead of the upcoming season. Additions on and off the field seem to have settled in, while the off-field sprucing up of The Rec – or EBB Stadium as those in suits would rather it be referred to as – provides the perfect metaphor for Holdsworth’s side; a lick of paint and everything looks that little bit brighter.

Written by Morgan Applegarth, We Are Going Up’s Aldershot Town Blogger

Morgan tweets at @Morgapplegarth