Aldershot Town 0-1 Northampton Town
Saturday, August 13th 2011
If this had gone to the form of the previous two visits to the EBB Stadium then the above score line and subsequent review would have included a last minute equaliser or winner, something that’s plagued the Cobblers on previous jaunts to Aldershot.
This time though there was no such thing to demoralise the troops and instead we put in a gutsy performance and produced the most unlikely of heroes in Ashley Westwood, scorer of the only goal of the game which capped an astonishing return to the club. Westwood’s departure a few years back didn’t make any of us shed tears and indeed the unexpected return of the defender to the bench for the final pre-season friendly made many foreheads turn frown-like, including my own.
But Westwood’s goal, off the back of another assured performance at Ipswich on Tuesday night, was the icing on the cake of a triumphant return that’s proved a lot of people wrong and even made some start talking about the Ashley Westwood Fan Club on Twitter! It’s a crazy turn around with Gary Johnson seemingly justified in calling in Westwood in place of the injured John Johnson in the centre of defence.
Behind Westwood was another top performance from Sam Walker in goal with a couple of fine pin point saves, one right at the very end of the game to tip the ball onto the post, was the second hero of a backs to the walls effort in the second half.
Despite a barrage of Aldershot attacks near the end that also saw Aaron Brown head wide there was no hat-trick of late goals like the last two seasons at the same venue and the first three points of the season were gladly taken home as a fine preparation for another tough looking trip on Tuesday night to Bristol Rovers.
This one was exactly the type of win that we’ll need if we’re to finish in the upper echelons of the League Two table, a scrappy 1-0 success that we all too often threw away last season. When you consider that it was the first home game of the season for the Shots on the back of a good win at Bradford last weekend and that they had a week’s rest in between games the victory becomes that bit more impressive for Johnson’s men.
I dare say that Tuesday will be another step up despite the Gas losing at home to Torquay at the weekend but for once we have a decent foot hold in the season after two games. A point at the Memorial Stadium against Scott McGleish and co will now seem a decent result and if we can indeed come back from that still unbeaten and with two home games coming up to round off August then it might just attract more folk down to Sixfields for Cheltenham and Morecambe’s visits.
Of course it could go the other way but with one old returning hero possibly returning from injury in big Bayo and another returnee gaining more followers by the game we have an excellent platform.