Chris Woods reports from Cressing Road…
Reece Grant’s goal against his former club saw the Shots finally end a lengthy winless run and pick up a vital three points over Braintree Town at Cressing Road. Shots captain Scott Rendell was sent off late on.
After last week’s 0-0 draw at FC Halifax Town, Shots boss Gary Waddock made just one change, a forced one too, Bernard Mensah was missing with a knee injury and it was the goal scorer Grant who stepped in.
Shots were also buoyed by the inclusion of Will Mannion, Marvin McCoy and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong who all returned from their injuries with places on the subs bench.
Grant almost opened the scoring just eight minutes in. Jake Cole’s long goal kick was flicked on by Rendell, Grant slipped his last man and slotted past Ben Killip but his effort bobbled across the face of goal and wide.
After a promising start from the Shots the hosts recovered. Ricky Gabriel made a bursting run down the left, shrugging off Regan Booty and delivering a low cross back to Lyle Della-Verde on the edge of the area but he was thwarted by a Rollin Menayese block.
Killip was then forced into a save from Booty. The Huddersfield Town loanee played an intricate one-two with John Goddard on the edge of the box but the keeper was out quick to block with his body.
Booty was then involved again, delivering a low cross to Rendell on the edge of the area, he dummied it allowing Jake Gallagher a run at goal but Killip was out again quickly to palm his effort wide.
The hosts best chance of the game came moments into the second half. Della-Verde beat Goddard on the edge of the area to square to Luke Allen but his low effort went just wide of Cole’s post.
The Shots upped the ante on 64 minutes. Booty crossed a free-kick into the box to Menayese, he flicked on for Rendell but his snapshot was held by Killip.
Killip then cleared upfield but before he could compose himself the ball was delivered straight back into Grant who slipped his man and slotted low past Killip into the far bottom corner.
Menayese almost capped a fine performance with a goal on 75 minutes but he headed just wide at the far post from a Goddard free-kick.
Berkeley-Agyepong almost scored on his return. He got a head onto the end of Booty’s corner, his effort beat Killip but former-Shots defender Kodi Lyons-Foster headed off the line, it went to Gallagher on the edge of the area but he shot wide.
Shots task to hold on in the closing stages became a touch more difficult when Rendell was sent off for dissent on 85 minutes but the Shots held on without conceding any clear cut chances to the hosts.
The win closes the gap to four points as the Shots battle to stay in the division. Defeat for Braintree leaves them rooted to the foot of the table. It’s Gateshead up next for the Shots at the EBB Stadium on Saturday in another massive clash.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Cole, Lelan (McDonnell 63), Elokobi, Menayese, Bernard, Booty, Gallagher, Howell, Goddard (Finney 89), Grant (Berkeley-Agyepong 67), Rendell.
Subs not used: Mannion, McCoy.