Aldershot Town fell to a disappointing defeat 2-0 away to Hartlepool United on Saturday at Victoria Park.
Luke Molyneux put the hosts in front early on before Mark Shelton doubled Hartlepool’s advantage 15 minutes later.
Despite looking to grab something from the game, Aldershot Town come away frustrated they were unable to make the most of the opportunity.
Danny Searle made just one change from the 1-1 draw at home against promotion-hopefuls Harrogate Town A.F.C. last Saturday, as Kodi Lyons-Foster returned to the starting line-up in place of fellow defender Alex Finney who picked up a slight knock last weekend.
George Fowler also made his long-awaited return to the match-day squad by taking his place on the substitutes’ bench for the first time since his long-term injury last year.
It was a promising start for Aldershot Town after their initial early pressure forced Hartlepool’s Ben Killip into a save from Craig Tanner’s corner.
However, it wasn’t long after the home side would score the opening goal of the game through Molyneux in the sixth minute.
An initial pass deflected off Tanner which in turn, allowed the ball to find Rob Harker down the right-hand side who spotted Molyneux at the back post, leaving the midfielder able to tap the ball home for a goal on his return to the Hartlepool side.
Aldershot Town looked to respond to falling behind early on and looked dangerous from a number of free-kicks into the box, but were just unable to find that finishing touch.
They would later be punished for this as Hartlepool doubled their advantage in the 20th minute through Mark Shelton.
The midfielder found space in the penalty area from a corner and did well to turn a wicked cross into the box goalwards and found the bottom left corner.
It was a difficult first-half for Aldershot Town and things were made even tougher in the 45th minute at Mo Bettamer went off injured following a strong challenge off Hartlepool captain Ryan Donaldson.
Lewis Walker came on in place of Bettamer but it wasn’t long after he stepped onto the pitch that the referee called both teams in for half-time.
Aldershot Town looked to respond early on the second-half and threatened with a number of chances with crosses into the box after good work by Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Tanner respectively.
Walker almost guided The Shots back into the game with a brilliant strike on the volley in the 62nd minute but saw his audacious effort whistle past Ben Killip’s far right post in the Hartlepool goal.
It became a very even tie in the second-half with Aldershot Town continuing to press for at least a goal that their second-half performance deserved.
Exceptional defending from Hartlepool’s Macauley Southam-Hales saw captain Dean Rance’s effort inside the penalty area cleared off the line from the young defender in the 78th minute, as The Shots continued to threaten more and more as the game started to reach its closing stages.
Hartlepool did however, have a chance to wrap things up late on in the 85th minute with a quick counter-attack seeing recent substitute Aidan Keena laying the ball off to fellow substitute Gus Mafuta, before the latter smashed his effort over the bar from just past the penalty spot.
Mitch Walker was called into action late on to deny Donaldson sealing a third for the home side, but The Shots’ keeper did well to stand up and palm the goal-wards effort away from danger.
This chance ended what was a disappointing result for Aldershot Town as we look ahead to next week’s National League game against Boreham Wood back at the EBB Stadium.
Hartlepool United XI: 1 B Killip (G/K), 2 M Southam-Hales, 3 M Kitching, 7 R Donaldson (C), 8 N Featherstone, 9 R Harker (Keena 81′), 12 T Odusina, 16 G Liddle, 21 L Molyneux (Mafuta 66′ ), 23 G Toure, 29 M Shelton (Hawkes 90′).
Unused Subs: Anderson, Richardson.
Aldershot Town XI: 1 M Walker (G/K), 2 R Tinkler, 3 L Kinsella, 4 D Rance (C), 6 K Lyons-Foster, 8 J Rowe, 19 M Bettamer (L Walker 45′), 20 E Chislett (Panayiotou 55′), 21 J Berkeley-Agyepong, 23 J-Y Koue Niate, 26 C Tanner (Whittingham 68′).
Unused Subs: Santos, Fowler.