Jack Midson's fine chipped finish on 72 minutes proved the difference in the League Two clash at the Recreation Ground - although Aldershot should have led in the opening stages when Craig Reid shot wide.
"I think all along you go for the win, but at the same time you don't want to lose," said Ardley, whose side moved five points clear of the Shots; who dropped into the bottom two.
"The way results are happening around us, you could find yourself in trouble.
"It was a sublime finish. Jack put in the effort for the team in a scrappy game.
"Not to lose was important but that doesn't mean we didn't try and go for the win.
"I knew it would be the sort of game it was with the pitch cutting up, it was always going to be scrappy and we knew we had to dig in to put in a good performance.
"The first half wasn't great to watch. We needed to defend as a team and I thought we kept them at bay well."