Aldershot 1 Pompey 0

Aldershot's Mark Molesley celebrates scoring the winning goal
Aldershot's Mark Molesley celebrates scoring the winning goal
Gareth Evans in action against Bournemouth. Picture: Shaun Boggust

Evans: Pompey deserved better against Cherries

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Several fans giddily danced onto the pitch to mark the moment, while one member of the press box leapt to his feet to celebrate.

It was the 81st minute and an almighty scramble had effectively put Pompey out of the FA Cup.

For a club which has suffered so many brutal kickings in recent times, it was a new low and fresh humiliation.

The Blues had never before lost to a non-league side in the FA Cup – until last night at Aldershot Town.

Mark Moseley was credited as the destroyer amid the decisive melee, not that Pompey fans were fussed over the culprit’s identity.

A woeful second half from Andy Awford’s men contrasted to the resurgent hosts who grew in confidence and belief with every minute that ticked by.

In the end, the visitors were hanging on to a goalless draw, Paul Jones keeping them in it such was the Shots’ dominance – roared on by a wonderful home crowd.

To think in a thrilling first half the League Two side were well on top, the better chances arrived their way and they dictated possession with assurance.

At the break there was no inkling of the cup upset to follow.

Then again, was it an upset? Andy Scott’s side unquestionably deserved the victory over the duration of both games and warrant plenty of praise.

So much for the reaction Awford wanted after the Home Park debacle.

His team let him down again. More importantly, they disgraced themselves to their supporters.

It has been four years, seven months and eight days since Frederic Piquionne and Prince Boateng netted at Wembley to defeat Spurs, with Ricardo Rocha named man of the match.

A lifetime away and last night’s latest humiliation will now inevitably cast doubts over the future of boss Awford.

Awford is not a man to hide but there are plenty of fans now vocal in their criticism of his ongoing tenure as permanent boss.

The fixture even saw him reshuffle his side with four changes – Nigel Atangana, Paul Robinson, Craig Westcarr and Ryan Taylor all recalled.

The Blues boss also reverted to a 4-4-2 with Atangana joining Danny Hollands in the centre of midfield and Jed Wallace and Ricky Holmes on either flank.

As a result, Jack Whatmough dropped back into the centre of defence to replace the injured Joe Devera, while Robinson came in for Ben Chorley in the other centre-half spot.

Nicky Shorey retained his place, despite his disappointing showing at Home Park and the challenge of Dan Butler, who spent a successful loan period at the Shots last season.

Elsewhere, Nick Awford – who was given his first Football League start against Plymouth Argyle – missed out on last night’s squad, while Miles Storey dropped to the bench.

That allowed a new strike force of Westcarr and Taylor to feature in the search for goals against the non-leaguers.

Meanwhile, Johnny Ertl and Patrick Agyemang made returns to the bench having not featured of late.

Seconds after the match got under way, Hollands won a free-kick after a barge in the back by Manny Oyeleke.

Holmes took it and struck his delivery deep where it was met at the far post by the head of Whatmough only for the ball to be hacked off the line by a Shots defender.

The hosts countered straight away and Kieron Forbes fired in a snapshot from the edge of the area which flashed just wide of the far post.

In a lively opening, Jaydon Gibbs was pulled up by the referee following a full-blooded slide challenge on Holmes and the winger once more delivered a swinging free-kick, this time narrowly past the post.

On seven minutes, Westcarr’s corner from the right was met by a free header from Robinson, who went for placement only to see his effort comfortably repelled.

At the other end, a deep free-kick was headed back by Glenn Wilson and Joe Oastler pounced to fire in a shot which Whatmough brilliantly blocked.

On 14 minutes, Gibbs closed down a Holmes shot and then Taylor fired a follow-up across the the face of goal as the visitors pushed on.

A stunning save from Phil Smith denied Wallace a wonderful goal on 20 minutes as the sides remained deadlocked.

Holmes twisted and turned down the left before delivering a left-foot cross which was volleyed goalwards by Wallace, only for the keeper to fling himself to his left and make a fingertip save.

In the 34th minute, Westcarr delivered a free-kick from the right which was flicked on in the direction of Whatmough at the far post but the youngster completely missed his kick, to the cheers of the home fans.

The shots were forced into a change on 37 minutes when left-back Chris Barker – brother of former Pompey manager Richie – limped off and was replaced by Naby Diallo.

It remained goalless going into the break and seconds after the restart Dan Holman, with his back to goal, had Paul Jones scrambling across his line to gather.

Still the teams couldn’t be separated as opportunities dried up and the half wore on – although Wallace had the ball in the net but the offside flag was raised.

Awford’s men had a real let-off in the 62nd minute when a cross was whipped in from the right and Moseley, from a position at the far post, somehow sent a diving header back where the ball had come from.

It was an awful miss from close range when the visitors should really have fallen behind.

Then Pompey almost gifted the lead to the Shots when Whatmough played the ball back to Jones who slipped twice on the wet surface before scrambling the ball away.

On 71 minutes, Brett Williams got through and drilled in a shot which Jones magnificently finger-tipped away for a corner.

The visitors were rocking and in the 75th minute Shorey had to clear the ball off the line following a scramble, with Jones beaten.

Jones then had to produce a flying save to deny Holman’s spectacular 25-yarder.

But from the resulting corner the Shots had their lead – an almighty scramble saw the ball cleared off the line but as feet flew in, it was prodded home.

Even with four minutes added on, Pompey could not muster a meaningful shot on target as they failed to find a way back.

And another forgettable moment in the history of this football club was created at the final whistle.