Chris Woods reports from The Hawthorns…
Aldershot Town’s 2019 pre-season campaign ended in a slender 1-0 defeat to National League South side Chelmsford City at the home of Stanway Rovers on Friday evening.
The Clarets enjoyed a spell of dominance late in the first half and made that count when Chris Whelpdale scored the only goal of the game 41 minutes in.
Shots began the first half well, retaining the ball well and either side conceding few chances in the first half of the first half.
Mitch Walker was the busiest of the two keepers in the first half, first keeping out Tom Wraight and then Jamar Loza, who both directed shots straight at the keeper.
The Shots number one then had to pull off a quick reaction save to prevent Alex Finney from poking the ball into his own net on 29 minutes.
Chelmsford then had a flurry of chances from Michael Spillane and Loza, but again all were comfortably dealt with by Walker.
Then on 41 minutes a long punt forward by Clarets keeper Chris Pentney was flicked on to Whelpdale, he brought the ball down in the Shots box, slipped his man in Aaron Eyoma and swerved past Walker with the outside of his boot.
Shots boss Danny Searle made four changes at the break and it was two of those that combined to carve out the Shots first chance of the game. Trialist A delivered a fierce low cross for Alefe Santos but his effort was well tipped round the post by Pentney.
The Shots trialist had a great chance to equalise on 59 minutes when Connor Shields delivered a perfect cross onto the forward’s head but he couldn’t quite direct his free header at goal and it went just wide of the post.
Aldershot did finally get the ball past Pentney, Ethan Chislett capitalised on a poor back pass to round the keeper but his touch was heavy and the ball was scrambled off the line by Adrian Cascaval.
The hosts proved to be tricky to break down, showing the quality that has got them into the National League South Play-Offs the past three seasons and it wasn’t until injury time that the Shots got their next chance.
Shields delivered a long throw into the box to Finney, he flicked on for George Fowler who tried an overhead kick but he couldn’t get enough pace on his effort and it was collected by Pentney.
The 1-0 defeat proved to be the only loss of Shots pre-season and they go into the National League campaign with a renewed sense of optimism and intrigue surrounding the new squad and management team.
Shots begin their National League campaign at home to AFC Fylde at the EBB Stadium on Saturday 3rd August. 3PM Kick Off.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Walker, Tinkler, Finney, O’Dwyer (Fowler 46), Kinsella, Rance, Whittingham, Chislett, Eyoma (Santos 46), Berkeley-Agyepong (Shields 46), Panayiotou (Trialist A 46).
Subs not used: Hall, Rowe, Woodward, Montague, Kudyiwa.