Aldershot Town suffered a heartbreaking end to their Buildbase FA Trophy run as Hereford picked up a narrow win on penalties after a 1-1 draw at the EBB Stadium (3-5 on penalties).
Michael Bakare got the visitors off to a fine start when the winger found the net in the sixth minute, but Josh Rees’ deflected strike in added time took the game to the spot. Substitute Mo Bettamer saw his penalty saved by Brandon Hall as the visitors progressed to the Semi-Finals.
There were only two changes to the starting lineup that beat Maidenhead United midweek, with Kodi Lyons-Foster replacing Jamie Sendles-White in defence while Shadrach Ogie came in for the suspended Killian Colombie.
The visitors started the game on the front foot and took an early lead through Bakare. Captain Jared Hodgkiss found space on the right before delivering a deep cross to Luke Haines at the back post, the defender guided his header to the feet of Bakare, who made no mistake in sweeping his strike past Mitch Walker with just six minutes on the clock.
Aldershot Town grew into the game midway through the half and boasted more possession but frustratingly could not find a way through the centre of the Hereford defence.
The away side continued to maintain a threat going forward and Joey Butlin’s clever flick allowed Kyle Finn an audacious shot from distance which trickled wide of Walker’s near post.
The hosts almost found an equaliser before the half-time break when Rees’ whipped delivery picked out Joel Nouble at the back post, but the winger’s fierce effort was blocked before Shadrach Ogie’s follow-up met the same fate.
Aldershot Town began the second half with more intensity in attack and quickly saw James Rowe’s effort from the edge of the box blocked. Appeals were raised for a penalty but they were quickly waved away by referee Tom Reeves.
Hereford managed to find a foothold in the heart of midfield as the game went on and rarely allowed the Shots time on the ball. The visitors pushed forward once again as Haines saw his strike from the edge of the box deflected wide of the near post. The defender then rose to meet a Chris Camwell corner with a solid header which was held well by Walker.
Aldershot Town desperately needed a way back into the fixture and they almost had one when Ricky Miller was played through on goal, but his chipped effort was tipped just wide by Hall.
Substitute Bettamer followed up by picking up Alfy Whittingham’s pass on the right before turning inside and dragging his left-footed strike past Hall’s near post.
Hereford defended well and the game appeared to be over when Whittingham and Miller were restricted to ambitious, but ultimately unsuccessful attempts from distance late on.
But there was enough time for late drama at the EBB Stadium as Rees found his side’s equaliser in the dying embers of added time. Nouble made a strong run down the right before driving a low cross through the penalty area which initiated a scramble before Rees’ deflected shot nestled into the top corner to send the game to penalties.
Whittingham, Rees and Miller all found the net for Aldershot Town before Haines capitalised on Bettamer’s miss to send Hereford through to the Semi-Finals.
Aldershot Town XI: 1 M Walker (G/K), 6 K Lyons-Foster, 7 J Rowe (T Edser 72’), 8 J Rees (C), 10 C Kandi (M Bettamer 57’), 12 A Whittingham, 14 J Nouble, 15 J Anderson, 22 G Phillips, 25 S Ogie, 30 R Miller
Unused Subs: 13 R Hall (G/K), 4 J Sendles-White, 16 D Gillela, 21 B Shroll, 29 J Rabbetts
Hereford XI: 20 B Hall (G/K), 2 J Hodgkiss (C), 3 L Haines, 6 J Grimes, 7 C Camwell (B Pollock 80’), 8 J Butlin (C Rowe 87’), 10 T Owen-Evans, 11 K Finn, 17 R Lloyd, 25 M Bakare, 33 L Butroid
Unused Subs: 1 P White (G/K), 12 K Digie, 16 J McQuilkin, 18 Y Klukowski, 24 D Jones