With free entry compensating the controversial hosting of the final at Aldershot’s Recreation Ground, the Diamonds fans and players will now be able to focus on the job at hand; playing in our first ever national cup final tomorrow, and snatching some consolation prize as the season nears its end.
With the league championship yet to be sealed, Aldershot fans could be understood for feeling that this final has come at an inconvenient time; with tricky ties against Salisbury, Ebbsfleet, Burton and Exeter all coming up in the near future, the players will need to be in peak condition to finish off their league job. Nonetheless, with Rushden fans getting free entry, and the Shots faithful also getting in at a reduced price, a large enough crowd is expected for the game.
Aldershot progressed to the final by winning four games, and scoring an impressive 13 goals. After edging Oxford out of the competition 1-0 in December, Aldershot put four past struggling Conf South side St. Albans, and then six past Crawley in an extra-time victory over Crawley. The Shots won the Southern Section final on penalties, beating Woking after a 2-2 draw AET. They are the competition’s top scorers.
Town have failed to win just four times at the Rec Ground this term. They are boosted by an average attendance of over 2,700, the fourth highest in the league. Some Shots’ fans’ crowd predictions are in excess of 2500, although given the midweek evening KO, it may be slightly lower.
Aldershot are the bookies definite favourites for the game, going in with odds of 1/4. Rushden have longer odds of 11/4, which may tempt a few Diamonds fans, as well as some neutrals. Fans of both teams are optimistic about their clubs’ chances, albeit in the Diamonds case, cautiously so!
As ever, photos will be uploaded throughout the game. Match reaction etc. will follow soon after…