A scrappy Marvin Morgan goal was enough for Aldershot to take all three points from Southend United at the EBB stadium.
It was the home side's first goal in three competitive matches this season, and it was left until the 81st minute to be scored.
Playing the 4-2-3-1 formation so fashionable at the moment, the Shots started brightly, playing the ball around comfortably in front of the Southend defence.
However, to the home fans' frustration, Aldershot seemed content going right back to their centre-backs when in attacking positions rather than risk losing the ball with an incisive pass. And with Southend organised and willing to put men behind the ball, the opening exchanges were devoid of any serious goalmouth action.
It was the visitors who nearly took a shock lead in the game's first real opening, when Louie Soares - returning to Aldershot for the first time since leaving in the summer - saw his deflected shot loop over Jamie Young in the home side's goal, only to be cleared off the line by the recovering Darren Jones.
Both side's impressive defences kept their opposition's forwards honest, until Marvin Morgan showed what a handful he can be for Aldershot in the closing stages of the first half.
Twice he showed great feet for a big man - as the cliche goes - wriggling through the Southend defence, but on both occasions his left foot efforts failed to trouble Glenn Morris in the Shrimpers' goal.
Just before half time came the best move of the period. Glen Little found a pocket of space in front of the Southend back line, and fed Morgan with a delightful through-ball. This time Morgan did make Morris work, but the keeper was up to the task, forcing away the right-footed shot low down at his near post.
The second half brought with it torrential rain, making conditions difficult, but the Shots seemed to relish opportunity the slick conditions presented to pass the ball about.
The statistics showed nearly 70% possession for the home side, but the breakthrough was not forthcoming, until the introduction of Shots' striker Damian Spencer.
Kevin Dillon reverted to 4-4-2, but it became more of a 4-2-4, as Manny Panther and Aaron Morris (on for his debut) sat deep - their selfless work allowing wingers Straker and Small to support the front men.
Spencer's physical presence provided more opportunities for Morgan to get on the ball, and finally - with nine minutes to go - the breakthrough came.
Morgan picked the ball up midway inside the Southend half and charged into the box. As Clohessy came across to challenge, the ball spat up into the air and into the path of Spencer. Morris saved well at his feet, but as the ball broke free, Morgan was the most alert, ramming the ball home from close range.
It was not the beautiful, passing goal the Shots' new approach this season had suggested it would be, but as the first goal of the season, not a soul in red and blue cared. The celebration was one of relief - a mass bundle in the dugout - but there was, and is, still work to be done.
The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
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