The Shots came up empty at the Kuflink Stadium, as goals from Franklin Domi and Dominic Poleon gave Ebbsfleet all the points in a first Tuesday night clash of the 23/24 Vanarama National League season.
Shots started the opening 20 minutes or so very much out of possession as the hosts controlled the ball, however some early defensive solidity from the back 3 of Mnoga, Rowe and Harries limited Ebbsfleet to just a sighter from a free kick for the Fleet.
After surviving the early onslaught of possession, Aldershot began to feel their way into the tie without at first really causing any problems for the hosts. The closest chance came in the 21st minute, as a Theo Widdrington free-kick whipped across the box was not met by any of the Shots players in the box.
Ebbsfleet took the lead just after the half hour mark, as Theo Widdrington had his pocket picked in midfield which lead to a quick counter attack from the Fleet, Domi picking up the ball last before cutting in and placing it well out of Van Stappershoef’s reach in the top corner.
The first test of the Ebbsfleet goal came in the 36th minute from Jack Barham. A speculative ball over the top found the head of Swiss striker Lorent Tolaj, who headed down into Barham’s path, but the strikers effort was tame. A second test on Cousins’ goal came just before the break, as Tyler Frost volleyed an Aaron Jones cutback straight into the Fleet keepers’ chest.
HALF TIME: Ebbsfleet 1-0 Shots
Just after the half Lorent Tolaj was given a chance to level by the Ebbsfleet defence, as loose pass found its way into the path of the striker. However, as Tolaj tried to shift the ball onto his left he was dispossessed, stopping any danger towards the Ebbsfleet goal.
Tolaj again had a chance in front of the excellent 321 travelling Shots fans, this time hitting a free kick from distance onto the roof of the net.
Van Stappershoef was called into his first real action of the game with just under 25 minutes on the clock. A loose pass from Widdrington meant Ebbsfleet could work the ball to Poleon, who used his pace to get away from Coby Rowe, but the Dutch stopper was equal to his effort, sending it behind for a corner.
Poleon would get the better of the keeper a few moments later though. Ebbsfleet found their way in behind again, and at first Coby Rowe looked to have kept Poleon out of a shooting chance, however Poleon put the ball onto his right and beat Van Stappershoef to make it 2.
Jack Barham’s race was run in the 73rd minute, as Tommy Widdrington turned to his bench for the first time to introduce Josh Stokes to the proceedings.
The Shots continued to have the ball without reaping much reward, and 9 minutes after the first a second change came in the 82nd minute, as Theo Widdrington made way for Ryan Glover. A third change quickly followed in the 85th minute, as Ethan Burnett came on for Coby Rowe.
There was almost one back for the Shots in the 87th minute, as a quick break forwards from Tyler Frost found Ryan Glover in a good shooting position. However, it wouldn’t fall for the Shots, as his effort across the keeper hit the post.
After 9 additional minutes the referee ended a tough night for the Shots to a close at 2-0. The attention now turns to a second home game of the season on Saturday, as Aldershot host York at the EBB.
Aldershot XI: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 5. Coby Rowe (2-. Ethan Burnett. 85’), 6. Theo Widdrington (11. Ryan Glover, 82’), 7. Stuart O’Keefe (C), 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj, 17. Aaron Jones, 22. Jack Barham (10. Josh Stokes, 73’)
Unused subs: 18. Olly Scott, 24. Maxwell Mullins