Aldershot fell to defeat on a cold and wet night in Altrincham. Chris Conn-Clarke and Alex Newby twice put the home side in front to cancel out an Aldershot equaliser from the penalty spot through Cian Harries.
The Shots made two changes from the side that beat Dagenham & Redbridge 3-2 at the weekend. Jack Barham and Tommy Willard replaced Kwame Thomas and Tyler Frost who didn’t travel with the squad with injury concerns.
The game started brightly for both sides. Jack Barham and Josh Stokes had early sighters within the first 10 minutes but both Barham’s flicked-on header and Stokes’ low-effort were wide of the target.
Altrincham grew into the game and former-Shot Justin Amaluzor looked lively on the right-wing, against his former teammates Ryan Glover and Ollie Harfield.
But Chris Conn-Clarke was the dangerman for the hosts and he gave his side the lead in the 24th minute. A sharp touch took him away form Haji Mnoga and a great effort from outside the area gave Jordi Van Stappershoef almost no chance of saving it.
The Shots were arguably unlucky to find themselves behind and instantly pushed forward to fight their way back into the game.
Ryan Glover, finding himself playing at left-wingback, drove forward with the ball and was allowed to carry the ball into the box. His curled effort was superb and looked to be heading in but struck the inside of the post and bounced clear of the danger.
Seconds later, Stokes saw a half-volley just over the bar, before Lorent Tolaj’s first-time effort from outside the area was wide a couple of minutes after that.
Ollie Harfield provided a superb block to keep the deficit to just one in the 33rd minute. Altrincham’s effort was dangerous and certainly on-target but Harfield had covered well to find himself in the right place to block the effort.
The Shots started the second-half brightly. Josh Stokes saw an effort deflected behind for a corner, just minutes after the restart, with Ryan Glover seeing a volley blocked from the resulting corner.
The second-half was an even affair with both sides sharing possession and chances.
Jordi Van Stappershoef had to have strong wrists to deny a powerful effort from Amaluzor around the hour mark, and up the other end, Ethan Ross did well to gather a Jack Barham header.
Aldershot would be gifted their route back into the game in the 71st minute. Haji Mnoga drove forward and was shoved in the back with the referee deeming the foul to be in the box and awarding a penalty.
Cian Harries stepped up again and for the second game in a row, sent the opposition ‘keeper the wrong way to equalise.
But, the game wouldn’t remain level for long. Altrincham retook the lead just four minutes later through Alex Newby. The winger ran onto a loose ball on the edge of the Shots area and found the bottom corner.
The Shots continued to push forward in search of a second equaliser but with time running out, failed to really test Ethan Ross in the Altrincham net.
The most notable chance in the closing stages came the home side’s way. Amaluzor was in on goal and looked certain to score but Van Stappershoef pulled off an incredible save to deny him from 10-yards out.
Attendance: 1274 (117 away)
Shots lineup: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington, 9. Lorent Tolaj, 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover, 17. Aaron Jones (C), 22. Jack Barham, 27. Tommy Willard.
Subs not used: 38. Finlay Westen, 5. Coby Rowe, 12. Keane Anderson, 20. Joe Haigh, 24. Maxwell Mullins.