Basingstoke Town 1 Aldershot Town 2
Aldershot Town came from behind with a much-improved second-half performance to maintain their unbeaten start to pre-season.
Goals from Jake Gallagher – with his first touch as a substitute – and a trialist capped a Shots resurgence after Chris Flood put the Dragons ahead on 25 minutes.
Basingstoke Town – featuring former Shots’ Louie Soares and Will Salmon – created the game’s first half-chances, as Lloyd Macklin’s weak finish proved easy for Phil Smith and Liam Enver-Marum pulled a shot wide, but soon Dan Walker found himself on the end of a neat move through midfield only to see his shot blocked.
On 21 minutes, Enver-Marum had the ball in the net as he shot across Smith from close-range, but was immediately penalised for a push on Saville. Tom Richards flashed a half-volley wide after a knock-down from Trialist A, but in the very next minute James Harper chipped over a cross from the right-hand angle of the penalty area and invited Flood to head past Smith and give Basingstoke the lead.
David Ray punched a strong header wide of Smith’s goal on 33 minutes but it was The Shots who ended the half on top. Stevenson’s shot flew wide after being set up by Richards and then, two minutes before the break, Stevenson’s powerful free header, from just eight yards, was somehow scrambled off the line by a header against the underside of the crossbar from Tim Bird.
Soares and Enver-Marum both cut in from the flank to attempt shots, but it was The Shots who visibly grew stronger as the game progressed. Stevenson and Richards went close in the same move but it was another midfielder, Jake Gallagher, who equalised on 62 minutes, seconds after arriving as a substitute for Stevenson.
Aaron Howe produced a virtual airshot in attempting to clear upfield and allowed Lathrope to retrieve the ball near the byline. His low pull-back found Gallagher arriving into the penalty area to score from a tight angle.
With Dan Walker also an increasing influence on the game, it was Trialist B who ultimately made a decisive impact on 83 minutes. Injecting pace into the early stages of another attack, the ball eventually found its way back to him, bursting towards the right corner of the six-yard box from where he smashed a low drive across Howe into the net.
Another substitute, Manny Williams, headed the ball wide in the final minute, but The Shots had showed both spirit and energy in turning around a game against a Basingstoke Town side who will expect to again challenge for the Play-Offs in National League South.
BTFC: Howe, Salmon (Smart 46), Bird, Harper, Gasson, Ray, Soares (Hallahan 79), McAuley (Gilkes 61), Enver-Marum, Flood, Macklin (Williams 61). Subs: Rice, Watts, Gray
ATFC: Smith; Alexander (Beckles 46), Oliver, Saville, McGinty; Lathrope, Hatton (Trialist B 79), Richards, Stevenson (Gallagher 62); D Walker, Trialist A (C Walker 65). Subs not used: Thomas, Barker