Shots have got better since the seven-goal thriller...
THE alarm bells were ringing loud around north Hampshire's commuter belt during a nightmare autumn at the Recreation Ground.
In a 14-game run from August-October, Aldershot won only once and lost ten times.
One of the defeats came at Plainmoor, where the Shots led 3-0 and lost 4-3, the sort of result that must have left manager Dean Holdsworth under serious pressure.
But Holdsworth has dug in and, helped by a run to the third round of the FA Cup, the Shots have started to turn things around.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
They've lost only three of their last 12 matches and, against time-honoured trends, Holdsworth has done it with kids.
Loaning out more experienced players like ex-Gulls defender Guy Branston (to Bristol Rovers), Alex Rodman (York) and Michael Rankine (Grimsby), Holdsworth has bolstered his squad with young loanees like defenders Michael Hector (Shrewsbury) and Sonny Bradley (Hull) and midfielders Kieron Cadogan (Rotherham) and Dani Lopez (Stevenage).
Holdsworth may well have two of his more experienced defenders back to face Torquay.
Full-backs Ben Herd and Antony Tonkin have been out through suspension and injury respectively.
But in front of ex-Reading and Wycombe goalie Jamie Young, Holdsworth also has Aaron Morris, Swedish teenager Doug Bergqvist, plus Hector and Bradley in the middle.
Also back after a ban is ex-Stevenage midfielder Peter Vincenti, and he's likely to be picked in a unit which also includes Cadogan, Lopez, ex-Oxford, Newport and Fleetwood player Danny Rose and Rob Sinclair (Salisbury, Stevenage).
United will do well to beware another option on the wing, where youth product Adam Mekki is a promising, pacy threat.
Up front Holdsworth has been going with Craig Reid (see Player To Watch) and club favourite Danny Hylton, 23, who's now scored more than 40 goals since graduating through the youth ranks.
The well-travelled Guy Madjo, who had a loan spell at Plymouth earlier this season, has never settled anywhere for long, but he has a good scoring record over the years.
Former Leyton Orient and Southend goalie Glenn Morris is cover for Young.
Jordan Roberts, Bobby Webbe, Adam Brice and Matt Rudolph are all young players taking the first steps at senior level.
After the Gulls' trip to Aldershot this weekend, they will welcome struggling AFC Wimbledon to Plainmoor on New Year's Day (3pm).
Wimbledon have sacked long-serving manager Terry Brown since United's 1-0 win at Kingsmeadow in September.
Neal Ardley, a big favourite during the club's salad days at Plough Lane, has taken over.
But they went into Christmas on a run of one win in eleven games.
Their two leading scorers are Jack Midson and Byron Harrison, with seven and eight goals respectively.
But their attack has not been the big problem. Their defence had conceded 41 goals in 22 games.