'Knock the Cup? You must be mad' says Aldershot's Dean Holdsworth after going out to Middlesbrough
Middlesbrough 2 Aldershot 1
Pride. Sickness. Madness. They were all words emanating from the Aldershot dressing room at the Riverside Stadium come 10 to five on a Saturday afternoon when the fourth round of the FA Cup had finished in such cruel fashion.
There were 12 seconds left of the 96th and final minute when Middlesbrough summoned up one final effort that would prove to break the hearts of Dean Holdsworth's brave side, when Lukas Jutkiewicz barged his way through to make the finishing scoreline 2-1. In that moment, the manager of Aldershot (they are 89th in the Football League) turned to look at his No 2, and then to the heavens. The footballing gods, like Holdsworth, still enjoy becoming wanton boys when the FA Cup rolls into town. This time Aldershot were their flies. It is forgotten that heartache falls regularly on David as well.
Yet Holdsworth, still smiling in appreciation of his side's performance in a stadium that had been a third full, turned on those that seek to dilute the competition his side had just left.
"You must be mad to knock the FA Cup," he said. "It's a fantastic competition. Look at the history behind it. We were hungry for the FA Cup. We showed that. It's why it hurts so much.
"I want more, I really enjoyed the occasion and I'm a proud man. We want more of that. I think the preparation, commitment and the quality we've shown against a team 64 places above us was fantastic. It makes you hungry for more, doesn't it?
"I've just challenged the players to show the same desire as this for the rest of the season. We've matched them toe to toe. The players should be proud and should learn from that.
"I use it as a benchmark. They should want to learn and want to push on. Overall, we should be really proud. We went on the pitch on Friday. I wanted to give them a taste of it. I didn't want them to be intimidated. There is no fear in the team, they're a great bunch and we prepared really well. We are all hurting but we have the character to come again."
Aldershot's admirable resistance lasted until the 83rd minute. Then Jutkiewicz scored his first. Tony Mowbray admitted afterwards he thought then the job was done. With two minutes left, Aldershot's Danny Rose clipped a delightful ball to Danny Hylton. The centre forward has some story in this season's FA Cup. He scored a hat-trick in the previous round against Rotherham, a game in which he was also sent off. For that he was suspended for three games, the third of which came in mid-week, against Northampton, when the Recreation Ground was covered in snow. Hylton helped clear the pitch to ensure the game went ahead and his suspension was served.
Thus in the 88th minute, when the ball came, his first touch, which was excellent, was that of a man ready, his second drilled the ball past Jason Steele. Then the story was his. The goal was his eighth in the tournament this year. He may still finish as top scorer. It did not seem like much consolation after Jutkiewicz scored again.
"We feel sick in the dressing room," said Hylton. "For 95 minutes we ran ourselves into the ground trying to match them in every way we could. The equaliser came two minutes from the end, then they score with the last kick of the match. It's sickening really.
"It was worth the snow shovelling and we can take an awful lot of positives out of the game. Eight goals in the cup? The best this season? Some of the big boys might have something to say as they will be involved until the latter stages but I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope it stays the best."
Holdsworth has a difficult few days to see if he must fight off offers for his centre forward. On Saturday the pain came quickly, but it will last.
Middlesbrough: STEELE 7/10, HINES 6, BIKEY 7, WILLIAMS 7, PARNABY 7, BAILEY 6, SMALLWOOD 6, REACH 7, EMNES 5 ZEMMAMA 7, JUTKIEWICZ 8
Aldershot: YOUNG 8, MORRIS 6, BRADLEY 6, BROWN 7, HERD 6, VINCENTI 6, ROSE 7, HECTOR 6, REID 6, HYLTON 8, CADOGAN 7
Goals: Midd Jutkiewicz 83, 90. Aldershot Hylton 89. Substitutions: Middlesbrough Halliday (Smallwood, 61), Ledesma (Emnes, 61), Leadbitter (Hines, 78). Aldershot Risser 5 (Reid, 69), Mekki (Cadogan, 78), Rankine (Hector, 87). Bookings: Middlesbrough Hines, Ledesma, Halliday, Leadbitter. Aldershot Hector. Man of the match Jutkiewicz. Match rating 5/10. Possession: Middlesbrough 60%. Aldershot 40%. Attempts on target: Middlesbrough 10. Aldershot 5. Referee R Madley (West Yorks). Att 12,684.
Latest in Sport
Manchester United's best XI of the season so far: No place for Angel Di Maria or Juan Mata
WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
WrestleMania 31: What time does it start? Full match card and preview ahead of WWE event
Sting vs Triple H: NWO, DX and Shawn Michaels return at Wrestlemania 31 as The Game triumphs in flashback to Monday Night Wars
Thierry Henry shows he's still got it with incredible pass against Jamie Carragher's side during Steven Gerrard tribute match
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 2 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 3 WrestleMania 31 results: Seth Rollins stuns WWE as he cashes in Money in the Bank contract to claim title from Brock Lesnar
- 4 Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
- 5 Germanwings plane crash: I have depression. That doesn't make me a psychopath
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans