Aldershot secured their third win of their 23/24 pre-season campaign as Josh Stokes and a Zain Walker double, saw the National League side brush aside AFC Totton.
Jack Barham scored the Shots’ only goal in Tuesday’s win over AFC Sudbury and was looking to get on the scoresheet again from the off. In the first minute he had his first sight of goal when cutting in from the right-wing and seeing his shot saved low down.
Aldershot’s next chances both also fell to the striker to no avail. A powerful long range strike blasted over the bar after a great touch and drive forward and after being gifted the ball not long after, Barham missed the target again.
Totton were also threatening, mainly on the couter-attack. A sudden drive forward split open Aldershot’s back-line but Henry Ochieng had tracked his man well and made a fantastic sliding challenge to quell the danger.
Ollie Harfield gained a reputation for fantastic deliveries with countless assists from the left last season and swung in a beautiful cross from the left at the half hour mark but it was just out of the reach of Lorent Tolaj at the far-post.
The Shots received another gift in the 36th minute but again couldn’t capitalise. A poor back pass was pounced on by Barham who rounded the ‘keeper but was too wide for a shot. He crossed it to Tommy Willard, but his goal-bound effort was blocked.
Aldershot came closest just after half-time. Josh Stokes was introduced at the break and was instantly involved as his low-cross found it’s way to Willard who again saw a goal-bound effort blocked.
And it was Stokes who would get the breakthrough for the Shots, 10 minutes later, finishing off a sublime move. Tyler Frost drove forward and played it into Willard who turned and played a lovely ball to set Stokes in down the right. He found Harfield but well in the middle, whose shot was saved, but it fell to the feet of Stokes who had an easy finish on the rebound.
A flurry of changes after the hour mark took a bit of the sting out of the game and chances became few and far between. Only Theo Widdrington came close with an long-range effort that curled over the bar.
But, you wait a while for one chance and two goals come at once! Zain Walker was introduced in the 70th minute and 10 minutes later he got the first of an instant double, finishing another beautiful Shots move.
Stokes played a beautiful through ball between the Totton defence and Alex MacAllister drove towards goal. The youngster unselfishly squared the ball to Walker who had an easy finish. And, just a minute later, he’d doubled his tally with a neat finish over the ‘keeper from close range.
Shots lineup: 1. Trialist A (13. Fin Westen 76′), 2. Ollie Harfield, 3. Maxwell Mullins (20. Keane Anderson 76′), 5. Coby Rowe (c) (15. George Milner-Smith 63′), 6. Cian Harries (14. Trialist C 66′), 9. Lorent Tolaj (16. Alex MacAllister 70′), 10. Tommy Willard (12. Zain Walker 70′), 11. Ryan Glover (7. Aaron Jones 46′), 17. Jack Barham (23. Josh Stokes 46′), 18. Henry Ochieng (8. Tyler Frost 46′), 19. Trialist B (4. Theo Widdrington 46’).