MATCH REPORT: Harrogate Town A.F.C. 1 Aldershot Town 0

Aldershot Town fell to a narrow 1-0 defeat in the Vanarama National League after taking the long journey north to Yorkshire at the CNG Stadium.

Manager Danny Searle made just the one change after last Saturday’s FA Cup defeat to Bromley FC, with defender Alex Finney finally overcoming his injury to replace Alefe Santos in the starting line-up.

As a result of doing this, it saw the Shots change to a 3-5-2 formation with Finney making up a back three alongside Kodi Lyons-Foster and Max Hunt and it wasn’t long before he was called into defensive action.

Harrogate Town forward Mark Beck bullied his way into the Aldershot Town penalty area but it took a last-minute tackle from the returning Finney to prevent the effort going goal wards and turned behind for a corner in the 9th minute.

However, this chance was one of just a few for the home side with Aldershot making the most of their extra wide-men in Robbie Tinkler and Lewis Kinsella to provide crosses into the box for strike partners Shamir Mullings and Mo Bettamer.

Aldershot Town also offered plenty of threat from set-pieces with midfielder Jack Powell seeing his 25-yard free-kick just about tipped over the bar by Harrogate keeper James Belshaw in the 28th minute as the Shots continued to add pressure on Harrogate-s eight-game unbeaten run.

There was just enough time in the first-half for a chance for Mullings who did well to find space in the penalty area before seeing his left-footed volley from a Kinsella cross go narrowly wide and arguably put the Shots deservedly in front.

This opportunity ended what was a first-half of few chances for either side with both hoping they would be able to open scoring proceedings in the second-half.

It was Aldershot Town who created the early chances in the second-half as Mullings did well to burst through the Harrogate defence in the 48th minute but his powerful drive was well parried by Belshaw since again.

The Shots continued to add pressure onto the Harrogate defence as Bettamer reached a cross from Kinsella just inside the area but his looping header went narrowly over the home side’s goal just minutes after.

As the game went on however, the style of play began to open up and as Aldershot went to go for the win with the late changes of Whittingham and Shields, it was the home side who would take all three points in the 91st minute through their own substitute Jack Emmett.

The midfielder did well to find for himself at the back post and despite the Shots heroic defending all afternoon, Harrogate snatched a well-deserved point from Aldershot with a close-range strike from Emmett late on.

Despite a late flurry of pressure and throwing everybody forward to try and find that even-later equaliser, it just wasn’t to be for the Shots as we look to next Tuesday’s game away to Boreham Wood.

Harrogate Town A.F.C: 1 J Belshaw (G/K), 2 R Fallowfield, 3 G Smith, 6 W Burrell, 22 W Smith, 15 A Bradley, J Falkingham (C), 14 B Kiernan (Thomson 75′), 9 M Beck, 18, J Muldoon (Stead 79′), J Diamond (Emmett 75′).

Unused Subs: Taylor, Cracknell.

Aldershot Town: 1 M Walker (G/K), 2 R Tinkler, 3 L Kinsella, 6 K Lyons-Foster, 15 A Finney, 25 M Hunt, 4 D Rance (C), 34 J Powell, 20 E Chislett (Whittingham 75′), 19 M Bettamer (Shields 79′), 9 S Mullings.

Unused Subs: Santos, Panayiotou, Berkeley-Agyepong.