Eastleigh 0-0 Aldershot Town

ALDERSHOT TOWN fought out a hard-earned share of the spoils on Tuesday night at the Silverlake Stadium.

307 of us officially were at the game and considering the travel complications (Eastleigh station having been closed earlier in the day due to a derailed freight train) and the weather forecast plus it being a midweek trek, I thought this was a commendable turnout.

Personally happy with a point too from this six-pointer as I thought that while we looked the more penetrative and likely to score, both sides overall were average and a draw was the fair result of the players endeavours.

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On the night, some thought it cold, I didn’t and there was no sign of the stormy winds and rain previously predicted.

Much of it was a huff and puff affair with chances scarce and it wasn’t until the second half that Shots really got going and using the flanks both left and right, opportunities came and went, perhaps that corner at the end could have been done better and proved to be our final chance of opening the scoring.

I thought that conceding a goal to Eastleigh would have been embarrassing, frankly as they pumped long balls in all evening and Mitch Walker clutched everything safely and was commanding throughout.

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The ineffectual Rendell was taken off just after the hour and Shots put Alfy Whittingham on earlier than usual but there was too little time for him to have the necessary effect.

I thought Mo Bettamer had a quiet night and while our fans were loud and raucous as always, the Mo Bettamer sung was not sung at all; a pity as sometimes these personal shanties can help a player perform better hearing their name sung from the terraces.

In the first half, the Eastleigh School Choir which formed the majority of their vocal support, some eighty of them gathered at the back of the main stand behind the goal. tried to sing against us but failed spectacularly with Scotty Lorimor banging the drums superbly throughout.

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Second half the said choir took their place down the other end but really, we never heard from them again.

I take positives from this game as newbie defender Niate (joined from Torquay so suddenly that a lot of our following had no idea he was playing) had, I thought, a very solid game, particularly aerially.

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This bodes well for Saturday next when Harrogate come to town. I was at the game in Yorkshire last autumn when we sadly succumbed to a last-minute defeat. I think that if we play like we did tonight against them and with home advantage, what looks an away banker on a coupon may not necessarily prove so.

The matchday programmes from Boxing Day were handed out au gratis and from that programme I note words from Danny Hollands:

ALDERSHOT WILL BE A TOUGH MATCH, LIKE ANY MATCH IN THIS LEAGUE. THEY’RE GOOD ON PAPER AND DEFINITELY NOT WHERE THEY WANT TO BE IN THE LEAGUE. I RECKON THEY’LL PUSH ON IN THE SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON AND DO WELL.

These are my sentiments and aspirations also. While some may think I have been on the sauce too much, the reality is that we are not out of the play-off picture. While that is unlikely, I am convinced now of our league survival and three wins from these last fourteen games will help nail that.

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After the game was a nightmare having walked twenty minutes through unlit footpaths in the dark to the Parkway station, five of us heading back to Bournemouth found every train officially cancelled with no replacement buses anywhere to be seen and all station staff gone home.

We managed to get two taxis in the end to ferry us back to Southampton Central where thankfully a cross-country Virgin service arrived to take us swiftly back to our homes.

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