Overjoyed Aldershot boss Tommy Widdrington felt his Vanarama National League high-flyers were worthy FA Cup second-round replay winners at Stockport after the visitors sealed a dramatic 1-0 victory.
The game looked to be heading towards extra-time at the home of the Sky Bet League Two leaders, only for substitute Olly Scott to slam home an 88th-minute winner from close range.
That goal booked Widdrington’s men a third-round trip to Championship outfit West Brom early in the new year.
“I’m absolutely delighted for all the lads, they’ve worked so hard for this,” beamed Widdrington. “To be honest I thought we deserved to win the game.
“Over the 90 minutes, we created some great chances and we also produced some brilliant last-ditch defending. We knew it would be tough here.
“Dave has got Stockport playing some great football and they’re up there in League Two for a reason.
“I’m delighted for everyone, though, the fans, the players and everyone at the club.
“The lads have been given an opportunity and they’ve taken it. To a man, they’ve all run themselves into the ground tonight. And that’s against a team packed with quality all over the park.
“On another day we might have scored more than the one goal, but just the one will do. Particularly coming so late, that helped us.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of finishes, but as I say, I think we deserved it overall and we’ve got another terrific day to look forward to now.”
Stockport went closest in the first half when Kyle Wootton’s first-time strike clipped the top of the crossbar early on.
However, the hosts struggled to create much of note in the second period.
Despite their lofty position in League Two, Scott’s late winner appears to have put the cap on a miserable few weeks for Stockport as they are now winless in six matches in all competitions.
Boss Dave Challinor was left furious by the result. He said: “I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for any of our players after that.
“I’ve been a manager for 14 years now, and I’ve never felt as embarrassed as I do right now.
“We were nowhere near good enough, and that’s a huge worry for me, a huge concern given the games we’ve got coming up in the next few weeks. We were absolutely miles off it all night.
“With respect, we were running over teams like this two years ago in the National League, but that’s not been the case in these two games.
“There was a lack of everything out there – a lack of willing to get on the ball, to pass the ball and to attempt to get behind their defence.
“Every single part of our game has to improve before Saturday’s game against Sutton, because that was as bad a performance I’ve endured during my time here.
“The goal at the end summed it up – the defending was shambolic.”