Ben King reporting from Westleigh Park
Aldershot Town’s woes away from home continued, succumbing to a narrow defeat against Havant & Waterlooville at Westleigh Park in a televised Hampshire derby.
Goals from Theo Lewis and Paul Robinson saw the home side over the line as the Shots went desperately close to earning a first point on the road this season with Scott Rendell’s strike being a mere consolation in a disappointing night for the club.
Not for the first time this season, the Shots made an impressive start to the encounter creating several chances and zipping the ball in dangerous areas with intensity.
Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had the best chance to give Gary Waddock’s side a dream start in the 12th minute after Josh Lelan’s searching pass from deep met Rendell, who surged to the byline as the cut back fell for the 21-year-old who blazed his effort over the bar.
Momentum was well and truly on the Shots side until a dangerous free-kick taken by Lewis at the half-an-hour mark on the edge of the Aldershot box was too hot for Jake Cole to handle, with the ball despairingly rolling into the net.
This game-changing moment brought relentless pressure from the Hawks despite having to make two first-half substitutes after losing skipper Brian Scott and Wes Fogden to injury. Ex-Shots loanee Alfie Pavey was unable to give Lee Bradbury’s side breathing space at half-time having missed a free close-range header with the goal gaping.
Despite the composure in which Aldershot were moving the ball, long-range efforts looked the only way of the visitors getting back into the contest with Havant being pegged back in their own half. A host of ambitious attempts simply didn’t test goalkeeper Ryan Young with Lewis Kinsella’s speculative effort falling inches wide of the post.
Berkeley-Agyepong once again went close after fashioning his own opportunity midway through the second half having controlled the ball on a sixpence in the box before the winger’s attempt was saved.
After resisting everything that Aldershot had to offer, Havant eventually found their feet in the last 10 minutes. George Fowler’s brave block from Aaron Cosgrave’s fierce strike was a testament to the defensive aspect of the team’s performance.
However, when it looked like the Shots could still snatch what would have been a fully-deserved draw, Paul Robinson’s header from two-yards was the penultimate blow with just five minutes remaining.
A late goal from talisman Rendell reinvigorated the tension around the stadium with two additional minutes remaining. Unfortunately, it was too late for a result to be salvaged as the Shots now sit in the relegation zone ahead of our next game against Bromley at the EBB stadium on Saturday.