MATCH REPORT: Eastleigh FC 0 Aldershot Town 0

A cagey affair saw Aldershot Town and Eastleigh FC share the spoils with a 0-0 draw at the Silverlake Stadium.

Manager Danny Searle made four changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Dover Athletic on Saturday. Robbie Tinkler features after his suspension and Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong returns from his loan-spell with Dartford.

Alefe Santos also featured whilst new signing Jean Yves Koue-Niate made his debut after his release from Torquay United.

A cagey opening 10 minutes saw a combination of midfield scraps and long balls, with neither side able to scalp an opening.

Jake Scrimshaw found the first opening on the first 18-minute mark, breaking through the left-side of the Aldershot box, but his cross couldn’t create a scoring opportunity.

A James Rowe cross proved dangerous soon after, but Alex Finney’s flick couldn’t find another yellow jersey at the back post.

It was the Shots with the first strike of the match, as a Koue-Niate lay-off allowed Ethan Chislett to get a shot off. His effort dipped narrowly over the crossbar.

The contest began to come alive on the quarter-mark, with Scrimshaw continuing to trouble the away defence, as Finney was left to deny his close-range effort reaching the goal.

The Shots continued to test the home side with crosses, the third of a succession of which leading to a failed punch from Max Stryjek. With the goal briefly open, captain Dean Rance was unable to hit the target.

Eastleigh came the closest minutes before the break, Jack Payne’s 20-yard free-kick met the unmarked head of Joe Partington at the back post. His header was drilled just wide.

The 307 away fans in attendance were in fine voice as a big second half got underway.

The Shots started to the second half in an explosive fashion, after a quick break left Chislett with some space down the left-wing.

After some stepovers, Chislett’s shot was deflected by Berkeley-Agyepong, forcing a good stop from Stryjek in the home goal.

Echoing the opening exchanges of the game, the second half saw a tight battle in midfield, interspersed by counterattacks from both sides.

A 74th minute break saw the Shots best chance of the half, with the ball finding Rowe on the edge of the box in space. His shot was blocked well. This would signify an increase in the tempo for the last quarter.

Mo Bettamer was next in line for a shot at the home goal. A poor clearance found the forward in the box, but his powerful strike could only find the side-netting.

Bettamer came close again late on after a smart cut inside allowed him to strike to Stryjek’s near post. The keeper was equal to the weak-footed effort, palming it out of play.

An uneventful three minutes of added time confirmed the draw, as neither side could break the deadlock.

Aldershot’s next game sees a visit from second-placed Harrogate Town on Saturday, February 1.

Eastleigh FC XI: 1 M Stryjek (G/K), 2 J Parrington, 4 R Atkinson, 6 A Boyce, 8 J Payne, 9 S. Rendell (10 T Barnett 67’), 15 A Wynter, 17 C Miley, 18 J Alabi (11 S Smart 67’), 19 D Hollands ( C ), 22 J Scrimshaw (T Bearwish 82’)

Unused Subs: 13 R Flitney, 23 U Godwin-Malife.

Aldershot Town XI: 1 M Walker (G/K), 2 R Tinkler, 3 L Kinsella, 4 D Rance ( C ), 7 A Santos (12 A Whittingham 68’), 8 J Rowe, 15 A Finney, 19 M Bettamer, 20 E Chislett, 21 J Berkeley-Agyepong (11 H Panayiotou 77’), 23 J Koue-Niate.

Unused Subs: 10 C Shields, 24 L Walker, 26 C Tanner