Following Saturday’s opening day defeat (2-1) at Hartlepool, Aldershot Town host their first National League game of the 2020-21 season on Tuesday evening, behind closed doors, against Sutton United, who collected all three points at the weekend with a 3-0 home victory over Maidenhead United.
Rob Worrall previews the game:
Shots’ boss Danny Searle brought in Leyton Orient Left Back Shadrach Ogie for an initial one month loan and he made an immediate debut up at Victoria Park on Saturday. Searle also gave debuts to new skipper Jamie Sendles-White, midfielders Josh Rees and Toby Edser and wide forward Joel Nouble. Striker Ross McCormack is still building fitness after a year out of football and another new signing, Chike Kandi is still recovering from a pre-season knock. French wide man Killian Colombie came off the bench to make his debut too. Craig Tanner scored the Shots’ goal and is joint top scorer in the National League, with 25 others (including ‘own goal’) who each have one, the season kicking off with no braces, or hat-tricks!
Name: Sutton United
Nickname: The U’s
Manager: Matt Gray
Stadium: Gander Green Lane
2019/20 National League position: 14th when the season was curtailed, awarded 15th place on PPG (1.31)
The club was formed in March 1898 through the amalgamation of two leading junior sides, Sutton Association and Sutton Guild Rovers. In 1910, they sought Senior status as members of the Southern Suburban League and played at several local grounds in the years prior to the First World War. The National League is the highest level the club has played at. Three seasons ago, they made the play-offs, as well as reaching the Fifth Round of the FA Cup after victories over AFC Wimbledon and Leeds United, eventually bowing out to Arsenal just three games from Wembley.
38-year-old Matt Gray is a name familiar to Shots fans, having been a coach at Aldershot Town under Andy Scott, Chris Barker and Barry Smith. As a player, Gray played for Tottenham Hotspur and Cardiff City before being forced to retire through injury aged just 25. Gray now has 13 years of coaching and management at League Two and National League level, having previously served as Head Coach at Sutton under Paul Doswell. He took the reins at Gander Green Lane in the summer of 2019, following Doswell’s departure and led the U’s to a 15th place finish in his first season in charge.
Sutton lost the services of Tommy Wright in the summer, the striker electing to join former boss Doswell at Havant & Waterlooville on a three year contract. Other than that, just four players were released; goalkeeper Jamie Butler, midfielders Kyel Reid and Tom Bolarinwa and striker Aaron Jarvis.
There has been little movement in or out of Gander Green Lane this summer and 17 players remain at Gander Green Lane, including last season’s top scorer Harry Beautyman and evergreen midfielders Kenny Davis and Craig Eastmond.
Gray has brought in just four new players, two of which are Goalkeepers; Dean Bouzanis, from Melbourne City and Filip Chalupniczak (Hanwell Town). Defender Aaron Simpson has joined from Dover Athletic and striker Toby Sho-Silva from FC Halifax Town.
Tuesday evening’s referee is Tom Reeves, who refereed 13 National League matches last season, showing 49 Yellow Cards and1 Red Card. He took charge of Aldershot Town’s 2-1 home victory over Notts County at the EBB last season.
The game is available to watch on ‘Shots Live TV’ (Click HERE for the details). BBC Surrey Sports Rob Worrall will be commentating along with a special guest and the game is also live on the BBC Sport website (or the BBC Sport App), with full match commentary from 7:45.