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The Non-League Football Paper

It’s Waddock time! Aldershot’s promotion charge is a waiting game

By Jon Couch

Forget Fergie Time, we’ve now entered Waddock Time!

While Sir Alex Ferguson often famously benefitted from an ever-ticking referee’s stopwatch, now it’s the turn of Aldershot Town boss Gary Waddock it seems – and it may well have just kept his promotion charge on track.

It’s was certainly a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year for the Shots. In the four matches played over nine days in the holidays, Waddock’s men popped up with THREE crucial stoppage-time goals to further boost their push for a Football League return.

  • First, Santa came early to deliver an injury-time effort from Shamir Fenelon to snatch a 1-1 draw at Guiseley.
  • Then, the following Saturday, Waddock’s men were at it again when Jim Kellermann’s last-gasp header bagged a crucial point in front of the BT Sport cameras against Maidstone United.
  • And the tasty late treble was complete on New Year’s Day when Scott Rendell’s 90th-minute effort sealed a  2-1 victory at his old club Woking.

Never-say-die

Those extra four points gained ensured the Shots stayed second in the National League table ahead of yesterday’s game at fellow high-flyers Dover Athletic.

And Rendell believes they could just come in handy in what is proving to be the tightest National League promotion race in years.

“It’s a bit of an about-turn for us as we were on the wrong end of a number of late goals last year,” said the 31-year-old, whose Bank Holiday double at Woking silenced the Cards for a second successive season.

“But we have good character here and we’ve learnt to keep going to the final whistle.

“We’ve got this never-say-die attitude here now – we just don’t give up. We were poor against Guiseley but scraped a point and even poorer against Maidstone and somehow ground it out.

“And then to find a late winner in front of over a thousand of your travelling fans at the home of your local rivals…well that’s just massive. It’s given them the bragging rights for the season and it’s given us a huge boost going into another tough period.”

Waddock – who saw an official approach from a Football League club turned down by the club this week – is now busy re-shaping his squad for a promotion push, bringing in former Hampton striker Nicke Kabamba and left-back Lewis Kinsella on loan deals from Portsmouth and Colchester United respectively.

Spirits

And Rendell believes the new arrivals will be joining a squad in high spirits and confident of securing a Football League return after five seasons back in Non-League.

“Gary has wanted to strengthen certain areas and that can only help us as a group,” Rendell added.

“We are now entering the business end of the season and we’ve given ourselves a good chance. This is a season like no other in that not one team is running away with it, but we can’t look too far ahead of ourselves.

“We have some very big games coming up and while you can’t win the title in January, you can certainly lose it!? We must remain focused, work hard, and take each game as it comes.”

 

*This article originally featured in The @NonLeaguePaper, which is available every Sunday

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