The Silent Assassins
It's funny how you can get differing views on a game. I read one Aldershot report that made out we were almost lucky to get three points yesterday and, even with the 3-1 scoreline, we showed no signs of being play-off hopefuls whilst Aldershot aren't far off, apparently, being a very good side. I take the opposite view, but I suppose football fans are blinkered by their very nature!
Yesterday was a really pleasing result, not just because of the win but because, after last week, it was another win without much fuss. Aldershot never really troubled us to the extent it felt like the game was out of our control, after the kerfuffle at the beginning of this month with 5-5's and 3-3's, it's nice to start taking sensible points.
Aldershot were 7th before the game and for the first 40 minutes it was stalemate. Aldershot, who have scored just 11 goals this season, looked wary of really giving it a go in the final third whilst we just could find our rhythm, not helped by Grant and Donaldson trying some over ambitious flicks every two minutes.
It took nearly 40 minutes before Luke Murphy registered the first shot on target for either side, offering a glimmer of hope that this game wasn't heading for the full 90 minutes of dross. That glimmer was just enough to spark the game into life and when passes started connecting we ran rampant.
Call me biased, but I don't accept there is a better footballing side than us in this division and when we're in the mood there is no one who will stop us, I think we showed as much at Chesterfield in the first half. The two goals in the last two minutes of the first half yesterday showed exactly what I am on about.
Byron Moore converted the first from the edge of the area after good build up play between himself, Grant and Donaldson. Grant then turned scorer after quick passing from Donaldson, Westwood and provider Blanchett carved open Aldershot for the second time in 90 seconds.
The two goals set up the second half for a more open affair. Aldershot were more willing to have a pop and we were happy to try and add to the tally. Donaldson should probably have netted the third just after the break; his shot from the right of the area was just too good a height for the keeper not to save it, low and a foot to the left and the keeper wouldn't have stood a chance. Ho hum, we've come to expect such waste from Donaldson these days.
It could have been significant as moments later Aldershot pulled a goal back, Marvin Morgan breaking free down the left wing, his low cross neatly turned in by Straker. As is the norm at Gresty Road these days, there was severe anxiety building in the home stands as we wondered if we were going to throw it away - it's a bad way of thinking, and it does us no good.
Thankfully the Railwaymen on the pitch look to have learnt something from the Chesterfield games. Heads didn't drop and nerves didn't set in, instead we took the game to Aldershot again and it was Luke Murphy who secured the three points.
Murph has come on leaps and bounds this season and after two wonderful assists last week, he notched up another, equally as good, cross from the byline for Westwood to run onto and head home from 10 yards.
From there you couldn't really see Aldershot scoring twice, never mind thrice, to take a point or three. That's not to say they are a particularly bad side, they are actually pretty decent till they get within 30 yards of goal and then it just looks painful.
They came close in the last 10 minutes to pulling a goal back, Marvin Morgan smashed one off the cross bar whilst a McGlashan header looped onto the post. But even after 9 minutes of injury time, a result of a nasty head injury to Danny Blanchett (which turned out to be not-so serious), there was no massive onslaught.
I'd say 3-1 was a fair result, and a good one too. Takes us up to 7th and extends our unbeaten run to 11 games. We're still, however, staying under the radar. Whilst Chesterfield take all the plaudits and Vale mess up weekly, we can continue chugging along at a good pace and the longer no one notices the better.
Still plenty of football to be played but I'm seeing little to suggest why we can't stay and challenging for a top 7 finish. Injuries may take their toll if they come but our squad had sufficient depth in comparison to the rest of the division.
Next Saturday is a big game. It's winnable too. So get down to Vale Park and support the Railwaymen. Seriously; it's going to be a good one! The more Alex fans, the better!