Aldershot Town 4 Worcester City 1
Rob Worrall reporting:
For the fourth time this season, The Shots found themselves playing host to lower league opposition. On this occasion Worcester City, who are struggling at the wrong end of the Conference North were the visitors.
Shortwood, Weston-super-Mare and Farnborough had all left the Electrical Services Stadium with a positive result, but despite an early set-back, The Shots finally brought that run to an end with a convincing home win.
Manager Andy Scott was able to name Chris Barker in his starting line-up after a two week absence, following a head injury sustained against Southport. Mark Molesley, also returned from injury to take his place on the bench alongside Anthony Tonkin and Adam Mekki. Worcester made two changes to their previous starting line-up, Moore and Leslie coming in for Nti and Dell.
In a rather bizarre opening, Worcester somehow managed to kick off with just ten men, Richard Taundry entering the fray some two minutes after kick off!
The Shots forced the early pace, winning a third minute corner following Manny Oyeleke's deflected strike. Soon after, Jordan Roberts almost connected with Brett Williams pull back from the by-line. Former Tamworth and Macclesfield keeper Jose Veiga then got down well to save another Oyeleke strike from the edge of the area.
Eleven minutes had passed before the visitors finally made their first serious foray into the Shots half but they did so to great effect; Danny Glover sending Ethan Moore away and the City number 10 showed great strength to hold off a couple of challenges before striking a rasping drive past Jon Henly and in off the post. 0-1.
Buoyed by their early strike, the visitors grew in confidence and began to take the game to their Conference hosts. They forced a couple of corners themselves and for a few minutes the home side were reeling. However, parity was restored in the 23rd minute, when Aiden O'Brien showed great pace and timing to latch onto a perfectly weighted through ball from slkipper Craig Stanley before firing home from 15 yards. 1-1
The game began to open up and City responded quickly, Moore going close again with a bullet header which Henly stopped and gathered in at the second attempt. Stanley then pulled the trigger from fully thirty yards and connected sweetly, but his thumping shot was always rising and sailed harmlessly over the bar.
Shots took the lead in the 34th minute, thanks to a moment of sheer quality from Oyeleke and it was all his own work. He intercepted the ball a few yards inside the City half and strode forward with intent. He had runners either side of him, but chose to go alone, skipping one challenge after another before flicking the ball nonchalantly past Veiga and just inside the post. A quite stunning goal, 2-1 Shots.
Shots could easily have doubled their lead five minutes later, when O'Brien rose unmarked to meet Lewis Young's right wing cross, but he could only head weakly into the grateful arms of Veiga and that was to be the last real action of a lively first half.
There were no changes to the line-ups at the break and it was The Shots who asked the first key questions of the second half. Brett Williams rose to meet Roberts cross and via a deflection it arrived by the far post at the same time as O'Brien. The Millwall loanee connected but somehow failed to convert from a yard, a combination of goalkeeper and post coming to City's rescue.
It was a golden opportunity for Shots to close the game out but City remained in the tie and forced a succession of corners as they pressed for an equaliser. Goodman atoned for his brief lapse by recovering to block Glover's goalbound shot. City boss Carl Heeley threw Daniel Nti into the action on 58 minutes, replacing Leslie.
Veiga thwarted O'Brien again on the hour, parrying the Irish striker's shot after Roberts had again found him inside the area. Still City pressed though and more corners followed. However, they failed to convert any of them and Shots made them pay, when finally forcing a corner of their own on 65 minutes. The ever reliable Barker's delivery was met by Adam Webster and although his header was cleared off the line, Brett Williams follow up was adjudged to have crossed the line. 3-1 Shots.
Generous applause rang around the stadium in the 72nd minute to greet the return of the popular Mark Molesley following a two month absence with a hamstring injury. Lewis Young made way. Four minutes later Ebby Nelson-Addy replaced George Williams in Worcester's third and final substitution. Moments later O'Brien met Jaydon Gibbs' cross with a powerful header which flew just wide. Further replacement's followed. Matt Paterson came on for O'Brien, who had once again made a valuable contribution in the 78 minutes he was on the pitch for The Shots and with 8 minutes left, Mekki replaced Roberts.
Two of Shots three substitutes were involved in the build up to the fourth goal. Molesley exchanged passes with Stanley, who fed Paterson on the right. Veiga could only parry his shot into the path of Williams, who pounced on the loose ball to fire home his 15th goal of the season and complete the rout. All that remained was for City sub Munday to pick up a yellow card for a desperately late lunge on Mekki, who, fortunately, was unhurt.
In the end, it was an encouraging showing from Andy Scott's men, who have now scored 17 goals in their last five games!
Shots: Henly, Stanley (Capt), Goodman, Webster, Williams(B), Oyeleke, Roberts, Barker, Gibbs (Molesley 72) O'Brien (Paterson 78) Subs not used: Mekki, Tonkin, Williams(L)
Worcester: Veiga, Weir, Williams(G), Regan, Hutchison (Capt) (Munday 38), Deeney, Williams(A), Taundry, Glover, Moore, Leslie (Nti 57) Subs not used: Dell, Nelson-Addy, Thompson
Att: 1,158 (80)