A good second half display didn’t reap any reward for the Shots at the Hive, as a second half Lorent Tolaj header wasn’t enough to overturn a two goal Barnet lead as Tommy Widdrington’s side were defeated 2-1 on the road.
Tommy Widdrington made three changes to the side that drew with Gateshead at the weekend, as Jordi Van Stappershoef, Haji Mnoga and Jack Barham were reintroduced to the side in place of Jack Bycroft, Olly Scott and Kwame Thomas.
The ball spent most of the time in the middle of the park during the first half an hour or so, with either side limited to a handful of half chances each. The best for the Shots fell to Aaron Jones, as Max Dyche lifted a hopeful ball into the captains path, and his looping cross come shot had Laurie Walker worried for a moment, but the ball looped wide of the Barnet goal.
On his return to action, Dutch stopper Jordi Van Stappershoef was called into action after 35 minutes, as he had to deny Armstrong from giving Barnet the lead. A good ball over the top was flicked on, and already sprinting through Armstrong was able to take the ball in his stride past Max Dyche, but Van Stappershoef kept himself big to deny Armstrong from scoring.
Tyler Frost had a half chance to score from the edge of the box in the 41st minute, but his effort was sent over the bar, and eventually the first goal came, but came for the hosts on the night. A quick corner routine found its way to Kanu on the edge of Aldershot’s box, and his looping cross was met by Danny Collinge, who headed beyond Van Stappershoef to give Barnet the lead.
HALF TIME: Barnet 1-0 Shots
Four minutes into the second half Barnet doubled their lead, as the rapid Reece Hall-Johnson burst down the Shots left past Max Dyche and Ollie Harfield before putting the ball on a plate for National League top scorer Nickie Kabamba, who converted from close range to give Barnet a 2-0 lead.
The Shots had a golden chance to get a foothold in the tie after 51 minutes, as Josh Stokes picked up a Max Dyche tackle and played in Jack Barham, who opted to shoot rather than square to Tolaj, with his powerful effort being saved low by Laurie Walker in the Barnet goal. The original effort to win the ball back from Dyche proved to be his last action of the tie, as contact after the ball had gone saw the Northampton loanee forced off after 54 minutes, with Olly Scott taking his place.
After going two down Aldershot looked the more likely to score, and in the 59th minute halved the deficit through Lorent Tolaj. Josh Stokes originally broke through the Barnet midfield, and his long range effort forced Laurie Walker to save for a corner. Ollie Harfield delivered the resulting corner, and at the near post Lorent Tolaj sent a looping header over Laurie Walker to get Aldershot back into the game.
Following Tolaj’s goal the momentum shifted in the Shots favour, with Tolaj again, Stokes and Glover all having chances to level the game. The best fell to Glover, as he had a pop from distance and forced Laurie Walker to get down low to push his low driven effort behind for a corner kick.
Looking to get on terms Tommy Widdrington turned back to the bench, and called upon Kwame Thomas in place of the scorer Lorent Tolaj in the 73rd minute.
Despite the momentum staying with the Shots and the hosts keeping the pressure up on the Barnet defence, the Bees were able to hold onto their lead, and claimed all the points at the Hive. Aldershot now turn attention to another away clash on Saturday, as Tommy Widdrington’s side travel to Boreham Wood.
Shots XI: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj (39. Kwame Thomas, 73′), 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover, 17. Aaron Jones (C), 22. Jack Barham, 35. Max Dyche (18. Olly Scott, 54′)
Unused Subs: 25. Jack Bycroft, 5. Coby Rowe 6. Theo Widdrington