Cureton at the double for Grecians
A double from the evergreen Jamie Cureton secured City their first points of the season and their first win at Aldershot for 23 years at the EBB Stadium this evening.
The 36-year-old was almost unplayable at times alongside Alan Gow upfront and he opened his account for the season after just 13 minutes with a thumping finish from Alan Gow’s smart pass.
The home side drew level just minutes later when Craig Reid fired home. But City continued to threaten despite the setback and where very unlucky to see Scot Bennett’s header hit the post.
Cureton then grabbed his second when he acrobatically fired home the winning goal and City's first winner here since 1989 with 25 minutes to go after Liam Sercombe’s volley was kept out.
The players celebrated with the 341 travelling fans in the far corner at the final whistle and now head to Accrington on Saturday on a real high.
City boss Paul Tisdale made just one change from the side beaten 3-0 at home by Morecambe last weekend – Tommy Doherty starting in place of Matt Oakley despite picking up a shoulder injury seven days ago.
It meant Oakley, himself a pre-match doubt, replaced Elliott Frear on the bench. The other injury worry for Tis was Scot Bennett but he was passed fit to start in the centre of midfield having been substituted at half-time on Saturday with a groin strain.
Aldershot remained unchanged from the 2-0 victory down at Home Park last weekend.
The Grecians, in their new light blue away shirt with white shorts and light blue socks, had their first sight of goal after three minutes, Liam Sercombe thumping a half-volley high over the bar.
On 14 minutes, after a good spell of possession, the Grecians took the lead when Gow weaved and slipped Cureton through with a lovely through ball. The experienced striker span on the right hand side of the box and lashed a first time rocket into the top corner, giving keeper Jamie Young no chance. It was the striker’s first goal since returning for his third spell at the club and a fine one.
But just two minutes later the home side drew level. A long ball into the box was knocked down and caused a scramble which eventually saw the ball forced over the line from close range by Craig Reid.
But City weren’t flustered and continued to look bright. On 22 minutes the second corner for the Grecians in quick succession saw Gow’s delivery flash across the box, just inches from the head of Scot Bennett who’d made a late run into the box.
Reid, already with one goal to his name then came close to doubling his tally for the night with a back post header from a good delivery from a free-kick conceded by Danny Coles. At the other end Gow tried to catch out Young with an instant snapshot but the keeper watched it roll wide. Two minutes later Doherty opened his body and bent a right-footed shot right into Young’s midriff from the left hand side of the box.
On the half hour mark Cureton and Gow linked up again with a near replica of the move that saw City take the lead. Gow weaved and wriggled before slipping Cureton through but he ran out of space and eventually had to settle for a corner.
And that resulting set-piece was superbly delivered into the box and met by the diving figure of Bennett but his header thumped off the base of the post. It was a fantastic chance for the Grecians who were looking threatening from open play and especially from set-pieces.
The strike pair of Gow and Cureton continued to link up whenever possible and on 35 minutes only the offside flag stopped Gow racing through on goal.
On 39 minutes Cureton won a free-kick after being hauled down by Sonny Bradley after racing down the left flank. It was taken, right-footed, by Sercombe and after getting it up and over the wall it didn’t dip in time to threaten Young’s goal.
At the other end injured forced the introduction of big striker Guy Madjo for goalscorer Reid and he had the Shots’ next chance on 44 minutes when he span and powered a shot that only flew into the away fans behind Krysiak’s goal.
Then on 45 minutes a huge chance for City to retake the lead. Bennett spotted Cureton’s run and sent an inch-perfect drilled ball to his feet from deep in his own half. And Cureton, one on one with the keeper, took too long to get the ball on to his right foot and the covering defender managed to get back to rob him. You could tell from City’s number 12’s reaction at losing the ball just what a big opportunity that was.
And that was the last chance in what was comfortably City’s best half of the season so far and a very entertaining 45 minutes with both sides looking threatening going forward. Cureton was very close to getting through on goal on two occasions in the opening five minutes of the second half as the Shots’ defence continued to struggle with his movement.
Then on 54 minutes Aldershot missed a fantastic chance, Alex Rodman firing across Krysiak’s goal from an angle after Ben Herd’s ball had found him at the back post – a warning to the Grecians.
At the other end Cureton beat the offside trap but just couldn’t control the ball after Krysiak’s fine drilled goalkick was flicked on by Doherty. City then had an appeal waved away after Cureton went down in the box having been slipped through by, yep you guessed it, Gow.
At the other end Michael Rankine’s header looped into the top of Krysiak’s goal after a deep cross from Madjo.
On 65 minutes Doherty was replaced by Oakley, the midfielder having put in a very solid display in the centre of the park.
On 73 minutes City and Cureton got the goal their play deserved with a devastating counter-attack. The Shots had a free-kick in a dangerous position in City’s right-back position but Anthony Tonkin passed straight to Gow who ran from the edge of his own box to the edge of theirs before teeing up Sercombe. His initial shot was blocked by his marker and when it fell back to him he lashed an effort towards goal with his right foot which the diving figure of Young saved superbly and he could only look on as the ball fell to Cureton who scissor-kicked the ball into the empty net before celebrating infront of the 341 delirious supporters.
And Cureton then had a chance for a memorable hat-trick on 75 minutes after Davies lovely lofted ball found him but his lob was wide. And two minutes later Gow sent him through with a rabona inside the box but Cureton’s shot was deflected wide.
Aldershot tried their luck with a couple of long range efforts, much to the dismay of the home crowd who sensed an air of desperation around their side. They had a half-chance on 84 minutes from a Tonkin free-kick but Troy Brown headed straight at Krysiak.
On 87 minutes Guillem Bauza was introduced for Gow who’d shone throughout and linked up superbly with Cureton.
The City bench thought their side had earned a penalty on 91 minutes when Bauza was hauled down but the ref was pointing for a goal kick not a spot kick.
There was to be no late twist and City could reflect on a hard-fought victory full of attacking flair. Cureton will be particularly delighted, having looked back to his best and on another night he could have walked home with the matchball. The Shots just couldn't cope with his movement and it was fitting that he proved to be the matchwinner.