MATCH REPORT: Gateshead (A)

Aldershot secured a vital win to keep their playoff hopes alive with a 1-0 win over 10-man Gateshead thanks to a Kwame Thomas header.

Tommy Widdrington made five changes to the Shots side that lost against Boreham Wood at the weekend as Olly Scott, Josh Barrett, James Daly, Dejan Tetek and Kwame Thomas replaced Lorent Tolaj, Josh Stokes, Ryan Glover, Jack Barham and Tommy Willard.

It took a long time for the game to get going and it was almost 20 minutes in when the first chance of the game fell to Marcus Dinanga after the Gateshead forward found some space in the Shots box, but his effort was some way off target.

The slow, start to the game in terms of chances was perhaps a sign of two sides who like to keep the ball attempting to work the other out and it seemed that Gateshead were the first to have found second gear as they began to create more chances.

Tom Allan fired a free-kick from just outside the area over the bar in the 23rd minute before a dangerous cross from Callum Whelan from the right just evaded Dinanga in the centre and Allan on the left a couple of minutes later.

The Shots were able to grow into the game themselves, though and enjoyed a good spell of possession before half-time, but were only able to create one clear-cut chance on goal.

Ollie Harfield darted forward on an underlapping run down the left wing and cut it back to Josh Barrett, but his effort which did look to be on target was blocked as a half with very few chances at either end drew to a close.


If the first-half was lacking action, though, the second-half made up for it in the first five minutes as a shot pass back to Nathan Harness in the Gateshead goal was intercepted by James Daly whose electric pace was too quick for Harness who could only bring the Shots attacker down outside the area and subsequently received his marching orders.

With no substitute ‘keeper on the bench, experienced centre back and Assistant Manager Louis Storey was forced to take the ‘keeper’s shirt and deputise between the sticks.

From the subsequent free-kick, Josh Barrett hit the wall and Storey was able to collect a loose ball to perhaps calm some nerves and get a first touch with his hands and from another free-kick just outside the box a minute later, pulled off a diving save to deny Cian Harries.

The Shots were pushing to make their numerical advantage count and put pressure on Storey and Josh Barrett showed brilliant skill to break into the box in the 58th minute only to see his effort blocked and though Kwame Thomas won the ball back in the area, his effort was also blocked.

Aldershot found the breakthrough in the 62nd minute as Kwame Thomas found the back of the net with a header from close range after meeting a looping cross from Josh Barrett down the right wing caused Storey problems.

This gave Aldershot a spring in their step as they stepped up their intensity and began to enjoy more fruitful phases of possession. Josh Barrett again causing problems int the 65th minute as he fired just wide after a really nice Shots move started by some good footwork from James Daly on the halfway line.

The Shots continued their pressure going forward but were unable to find further joy in front of goal as Olly Scott fired over from a tight angle and Kwame Thomas, who was causing the Gateshead defence all sorts of trouble, saw a number of headed chances fail to test Storey.

And though Gateshead did fire themselves up for a bit of a late push, they failed to test Jordi van Stappershoef and were unable to find a way back into the game.

Attendance: 892 (77 Away)

Shots lineup: 1. Jordi van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield (C), 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington, 8. Tyler Frost, 18. Olly Scott, 20. Josh Barrett (10. Josh Stokes 72′), 26. James Daly, 34. Dejan Tetek (22. Jack Barham 88’), 39. Kwame Thomas.

Subs not used: 9. Lorent Tolaj, 27. Tommy Willard, 28. Dylan Kadji.