2016 marks the 90th anniversary of football in Aldershot and this year we will be remembering the most important matches, players and moments which have shaped our clubs. Every day on our Twitter and Facebook pages we remember another piece of history, and then bring them altogether here at the end of the week…
Aldershot 1 Sheffield United 0 – Monday 15 January 1979, The Recreation Ground: Despite poor away form and a number of players suffering with colds, The Shots had held the Blades to a goalless draw at Bramall Lane in their first third round tie in eight years. Now, on a foggy Monday night in Hampshire, they continued to build their best FA Cup run since 1933. Tommy McAnearney’s team, unchanged from both the first tie and the 1-1 draw against Port Vale just two days before the replay, were roared on by an 8,321 crowd. Again they bridged the gap between the fourth division promotion chasers – in the middle of a run of just one defeat in 24 league matches – and the second division strugglers with admirable skill and tenacity. Eventually, John Dungworth – whose 34 goals won him the Division Four Golden Boot for 1978-79 – blasted home the 81st minute penalty which saw The Shots sneak through to a fourth round tie against Swindon Town. AFC: Johnson, Howitt, Wooler, Dixon, Youlden, Jopling, Crosby, Brodie, Needham, Dungworth, McGregor
Aldershot 1 Reading 0 – Monday 16 January 1967, The Recreation Ground: Over 2000 fans were locked out as a new record crowd of 16,801 – who contributed record gate receipts of £3,355 – saw The Shots deservedly knock their local rivals out of the FA Cup. Reading were going well in Division Three, Aldershot ninth in Diision Four, and every vantage point was taken – rooftops, trees, floodlight pylons, pitchside – to witness a game which, having twice been postponed due to bad weather, finally lived up to its hype. Jack Howarth – who had missed his sister’s wedding two days previously to score a hat-trick in the 5-0 thrashing of Newport County – was again the hero, as he finished a lethal counter- attack with a stunning drive into the net. It could have been more, as Alan Burton hit the post and Ronnie Walton hit the crossbar from 40 yards, but the result was only secured when Reading’s Pat Terry also hit the post and then shot wide from six yards. Nonetheless, the delirious celebrations, and mass pitch invasion, at the final whistle proved what the result meant to The Shots, who progressed to a third round tie against Brighton and Hove Albion. AFC: Godfrey, Walden, Renwick, McAnearney, Walker, Dawes, Walton, Rafferty, Howarth, Kearns, Burton. Sub: Maloy
Alf Rogers (363 games, 7 goals) – born Saturday 17 January 1920: A Midlander who initially joined The Shots as a wartime guest whilst at West Bromwich Albion, right-back Alf Rogers was signed by Bill McCracken in May 1946 and became a mainstay of the team for eight seasons. Despite Aldershot’s struggles at the wrong end of Division Three (South), Rogers earned a fine reputation as both a tough-tackler and dressing room joker. Such was his loyalty to McCracken that he requested a transfer when his manager left in 1949, but new boss Gordon Clark persuaded Rogers to sign a new deal which saw him rewarded with a benefit match against Wolverhampton Wanderers in May 1952. Upon leaving for Yeovil Town – with whom he would win the Southern League championship and Somerset Premier Cup double – in 1954, Rogers was Aldershot’s record appearance maker, and remains in AFC’s top ten.
Aldershot Town 0 Farnborough Town 1 – Tuesday 18 January 1994, The Recreation Ground: A Hampshire Senior Cup quarter-final replay and part three of the rivalry which enthralled an entire borough. Dave Osgood’s 93rd minute header in the bad-tempered original tie had earned The Shots a replay, and this game, in front of 4502, was again keenly contested. Steve Stairs hit the crossbar with an early long-range shot but soon Chris Boothe had a goal belatedly disallowed and then saw another Boro chance scrambled off the line. In the first period of extra-time, Mark Butler hit the post with just the keeper to beat and then, in the 103rd minute, Andy Nunn tried to cover Boothe’s break down the middle as the visitors counter-attacked. Unfortunately, he sliced his attempted clearance over Phil Burns into the net and, even though The Shots created several late chances, it was Farnborough who again progressed by the narrowest of margins. ATFC: Burns, O’Neill (Tomlinson), Nunn, Harris, Udal, Baker (Frampton), Calvert, Osgood, Stairs, Holmes, Butler
Glen Burvill (312 games, 44 goals), Tuesday 19 January 1988 – Aldershot 1 Bristol City 0: Glen Burvill scored an extra-time winner in this Sherpa Vans Trophy first round tie, one of 44 goals that the dynamic creative midfielder scored in a fine Shots career which saw him involved in some of the Club’s most famous moments. Burv arrived from West Ham in 1983, and in his first season scored four goals in a 7-1 thrashing of Mansfield as The Shots finished fifth. In 1985, an £8000 fee took him to Reading – where he won the Division Three title – but Glen was back at The Rec to lead the team to promotion via the Play-Offs in 1987, where he scored in the semi-final first-leg against Bolton Wanderers. Earlier that year he also scored a screamer in the 3-0 FA Cup third round defeat of Oxford United, and remained a key figure until the end of 1991, by which time he was one of only 14 Shots players to have made over 300 appearances.
Mark Molesley (110 games, 11 goals), Saturday 20 January 2007 – Northwich Vic 1 Aldershot Town 3: Molesley’s 87th minute strike sealed a comfortable victory against The Vics but it proved to be the only goal during the 40 games of his first spell at the Club which had given him his first professional contract. Thankfully, after a return on loan from AFC Bournemouth also yielded just one goal, his third spell with The Shots proved rather more prolific as the dynamic midfielder wrote himself into Aldershot Town folklore. He scored the winner against Macclesfield Town which saw The Shots wipe out their 10-point deduction for entering administration before, in November 2014, putting Aldershot Town ahead in the FA Cup first round tie against Portsmouth and then scoring the scrambled winner in the televised replay. Yet perhaps his most famous goal was one that he didn’t actually score, as his shot was deflected into the net by John Nutter to give The Shots the 2-1 win at Woking which secured Skrill Premier survival. His spirit typified Aldershot Town’s great escape, and ensured that marvellous, mercurial Mark Molesley will forever loom large in Shots fans’ memories.
Charlie Billington (226 games, 14 goals), Saturday 21 January 1956 – Aldershot 2 Shrewsbury T 0: An imposing, no-nonsense centre-half, and renowned penalty-taker, who became the Shots’ defensive lynchpin in the late 40s and early 50s. This victory – appropriately achieved with a clean sheet – was Billington’s 226th and last appearance for The Shots. A member of the Royal Army Medical Corps, Charlie joined Aldershot in December 1946 after starting his career as an amateur with hometown team Chesterfield. Only truly established himself once Alf Rowland joined Cardiff City for a then-Club-record fee of £10,500, but Billington played an influential role in The Shots’ steady rise up the Division Three (South) table. Charlie was awarded a Testimonial against an All-Star XI in April 1954, before Norwich City paid £3000 for the services of a player who would also go on to captain Watford.
We want to tell the official and unofficial histories of Aldershot FC and Aldershot Town, and we also want your memories, to create a personal history of your Club and form part of the new Shots Stories archive. Be it your favourite match or player, your first Shots game, your memory of a great goal or – because some of the best memories aren’t always directly related to what happens on the pitch – the best away day or any story connected to supporting The Shots. These tales will be added to a new section of this website, so get writing and help us to remember. Email your contributions to firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘Shots Stories’ in the subject.