Mark Molesley’s scrambled late winner earned The Shots a famous FA Cup victory and a second round tie against Rochdale on a tumultuous night at the Electrical Services Stadium.
A thrilling, end-to-end game was matched by the vibrant atmosphere generated by the 5374 crowd and, even though the goal was a scrappy affair, bundled in from virtually on the line after Pompey failed to deal with Roberts’ corner, it was rich reward for Aldershot Town’s resolve and second-half performance.
Yet Pompey had started apace; inside 40 seconds, Barker had to clear Whatmough’s header off the line as Wallace whipped in a dangerous free-kick. On the counter, Oyeleke sliced a shot wide and then, back at the other end, Holmes missed his kick in front of goal.
It was a breathless opening, with Aldershot Town’s defence stretched several times, but still Oastler had a strong shot blocked and, from the corner, Williams sliced his effort wide. Gibbs threw himself in the way of Holmes’ shot – as Taylor pulled the rebound wide – and Atangana’s drive was deflected.
The half’s best chance fell to Wallace, following fine wing play by Holmes: digging out a cross after jinking down the left, the ball was perfect for Wallace to hit an improvised volley towards the bottom corner, only for Smith to deny him with a superb save, low to his left.
Just 20 minutes had elapsed and eventually the game settled down. Two further chances were spurned by Whatmough, with a shot wide of goal and then a virtual airshot.
Roberts’ long-range effort ballooned over the bar via a defender but the winger soon found himself at left-back, as Chris Barker limped off with a calf injury. He was still able to drive in a free-kick which found Wilson rising highest at the far-post but, from his nod-down, the resulting appeals for handball were waved away by referee Atwell.
The Shots steadily raised their game after the break, as Pompey’s initial momentum dissipated. Holman nearly nipped in front of Jones to meet Williams’ towering downward header, but another header – from Molesley – provided a far better opportunity. Gibbs measured a teasing cross through the six-yard box and the midfielder, stooping to direct it towards the far-post, couldn’t find the target.
On 72 minutes, Oastler’s long ball out of defence was flicked on by Diallo and, turning into space, Williams hit his 25-yard shot early and forced Jones to fumble the ball behind. As the tie entered its final stages, Aldershot Town took control. Forbes and Oyeleke went close, before Holman, turning sharply away from two defenders, sent a looping 30-yard drive towards the top corner, bringing a fingertip save from the goalkeeper.
The resulting corner sparked delirium around the stadium, as Roberts whipped the ball into the goalmouth. Williams beat Jones in an aerial challenge, only for Shorey to clear his header off the line. Oastler slid the rebound back into the mix and, via a deft flick from Wilson, Molesley eventually bundled the ball in amidst a tangle of legs on the line.
Pompey attempted to lift themselves towards the final whistle, but it was too late. Wallace’s free-kick wobbled over the crossbar and Smith stood strong at the near-post to parry Storey’s angled drive. To great cheers from the home fans, Hollands sliced his shot high and wide, and – in the dying seconds of injury-time, Agyemang threatened to burst through the whole defence only to lose control at the vital point and see the ball roll harmlessly behind.
The East Bank sang “There’s only one team in Hampshire” and, over 180 minutes, Aldershot Town had proved themselves worthy winners.