Aldershot Town fell to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at home to manager-less Hartlepool United as they look to impress an extended crowd on national Non-League Day at the EBB Stadium.
The game started off in the worst possible way for Aldershot Town, with Josh Hawkes capitalising on a quick counter-attack.
After an early penalty decision that was controversially waved away from referee Ryan Atkin, Hartlepool pounced and took the early advantage in what was their first attack of the game.
A through ball down the left-hand side set Josh Hawkes through on goal and after some tight pressure from Kodi Lyons-Foster, the forward did well to cut inside and just about squeeze his effort just past Mitch Walker and into the back of the net.
However, the home side responded with a great counter-attack of their own in the 14th minute with Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong played through by Ethan Chislett however, Aldershot Town’s joint top-scorer saw his effort go just wide of the mark.
The home side continued to add pressure and two quick-fire chances for both Berkeley-Agyepong and Shamir Mullings from a corner, saw Aldershot still searching for that equalising goal.
Things could’ve gone from bad to worse after Atkins was at the centre of things again, after awarding a controversial penalty to Hartlepool following Lewis Kinsella’s challenge on Ryan Donaldson that looked to have been outside the area.
Never-the-less, goal-scorer Hawkes stepped up to take it but his effort was fantastically saved by Walker who went to his left-hand side and saved from the midfielder.
There was still time in the first-half for Berkeley-Agyepong to try his luck with a glancing header just inside the area in the 43rd minute but his effort was once again well-saved by Killip.
This in turn, ended what was an entertaining first-half with plenty of chances for both sides.
The second-half started in the same frantic fashion with Chislett’s opportunity to equalise in the 50th minute, brilliantly halted by Peter Kioso with a last-ditch challenge just inside the area.
Aldershot Town continued to press for that equaliser with early chances in the second-half for both Mohammed Bettamer and Berkeley-Agyepong respectively, but neither were able to level proceedings.
A few half-chances continued to emerge for the Shots, but despite their relentless pressure, Hartlepool did well to keep the home side at bay for the majority of the second-half.
Despite the Aldershot Town pressure, the away side were then able to find themselves a bit more breathing room, following a nice interchange between Luke James and Nicke Kabamba, that allowed fellow substitute Gavin Holoman to tap in from a couple yards out.
There was time for the away side to deal a final blow to an Aldershot Town side who gave everything going forward as Holoman was able to play in Kabamba for a third and wrap up what was ultimately a disappointing result for Aldershot.
The Shots will be looking to get over the frustrating defeat to Hartlepool as we look to our FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round encounter with Bromley next Tuesday.
Aldershot Town: 1 M Walker, 2 R Tinkler (C), 25 M Hunt, 6 K Lyons-Foster 3 L Kinsella, 34 J Powell, 7 A Santos, 21 J Berkeley-Agyepong (Eyoma 84′), 20 E Chislett (Shields 84′), 19 M Bettamer, 9 S Mullings (Rance 75′).
Unused Subs: Whittingham, Finney.
Hartlepool United: 1 B Killip, 2 P Kioso, 5 F Kerr, 4 M Raynes, 3 M Kitching, 8 N Featherstone, 15 G Mafuta, 7 R Donaldson (C) (Kennedy 90′), 11 J Hawkes (Holoman 75′), 23 G Toure (James 65′), 9 N Kabamba.
Unused Subs: Richardson, Cunningham.