MATCH REPORT: Dagenham & Redbridge 3-3 Shots

Aldershot’s 2023/24 season came to an end at the Chigwell Community Stadium, as a dramatic 3-3 draw against Dagenham & Redbridge meant the Shots finished a much improved season in 8th position in the National League table. 

Tommy Widdrington made two changes to the side who were winners in Gateshead on Wednesday, bringing Lorent Tolaj and Josh Stokes back into the side in place of Josh Barrett and James Daly, and Olly Scott made the bench in place of Tommy Willard.

The game had an even opening, Tyler Frost finding particular joy down the right hand side without being able to create any big chances. Former Shot Inih Effiong was getting himself about, forcing Jordi Van Stappershoef into a good save in the 12th minute after he did well to turn Harries and get a shot away.

And it was former Shot Inih Effiong who gave Dagenham & Redbridge the lead gave with just over half an hour gone in the game. Effiong did well to win the initial corner, and after a failed clearance Harvey Kedwell found Josh Hare, who had beaten the offside trap and pulled it back to Effiong, who showed good composure to go past Haji Mnoga before converting past a handfull of Shots defenders on the line.

The Shots had more of the ball following the opener, but a flicked header by Lorent Tolaj which went wide was all the Shots could provide Elliot Justham before the interval.

HALF TIME: Dagenham & Redbridge 1-0 Shots

A dramatic start to the second half saw the Shots level almost immediately. Pressure came from the off, and after Kwame Thomas went down in the box the referee pointed to the spot to give Aldershot a golden way back into the game. Cian Harries stepped up, and as he does he converted from the spot to level the scores again.

The Shots completed the turnaround in the 73rd minute thanks to captain on the day Lorent Tolaj. Josh Stokes did well to win a free kick near the corner flag, and Tyler Frost played the free kick short to Ryan Glover, in turn his cross was perfect, and at the back post Lorent Tolaj headed home at the back post to make it 2-1 to the Shots.

Dagenham would find a way back into the game, as Josh Rees, who according to the linesman beat the offside trap, ran through but was caught up to by Haji Mnoga, and instead of taking him on layed if off to Ryan Hill, who converted past Jordi Van Stappershoef from close range to level the game once again.

Josh Stokes was given a warm reception by the 752 Shots fans in the 88th minute, as he made way for James Daly on his final appearance for Aldershot before his loan expires and he links up with Bristol City in the Championship next season.

It wasn’t to be on the final day, as Dion Pereira, much like Ryan Hill, came off the bench to score for Dagenham to complete a second turnaround of the game, this time for the Daggers as they took the lead with just a few minutes of added time remaining.

An end to end second half did have another goal with 97 on the clock, this time the Shots were back on terms. Theo Widdrington won a free kick right on the edge of the box, Lorent Tolaj faked a shot, and Josh Barrett was the one who eventually did shoot, perfecly putting his free kick into the back of Elliot Justham’s net.

It wasn’t quite done there, as Jack Barham got in behind moments later, fizzed a ball across goal and nobody could connect. At the other end, Jordi Van Stappershoef made a handfull of big saves to deny the Daggers, and the game ended at 3-3.

It has been a fantastic season for the Shots, and the 752 behind the goal today were loud and proud all afternoon, just as Shots fans have been all season, and the Shots cannot thank the fans enough for their continued support of the team.

Shots XI

  1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington, 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj (C), 10. Josh Stokes (26. James Daly, 88′), 11. Ryan Glover, 34. Dejan Tetek (20. Josh Barrett, 76′), 39. Kwame Thomas (22. Jack Barham, 70′)

Unused subs

18. Olly Scott, 26. James Daly, 28. Dylan Kadji

Away attendance: 752