Inih Effiong led his side from the front with a fantastic hat-trick as The Shots continued a fine run of form to beat maidstone United.
The Shots saw the first chances at goal within the first few minutes. Firstly, a searching delivery from an Oliver Pendlebury free-kick on the right-wing was inches away from Tyler Cordner’s head before Ryan Glover found space on the edge of the box as play was recycled but blasted his shot way over.
Inih Effiong then came closer with a long-range effort as he launched a snapshot effort from almost 30 yards out that was just narrowly over.
But the in-form striker found the target not long later as The Shots took the lead in the 13th minute. Olly Pendlebury’s cross was deflected but found Ryan Glover at the back-post. His shot was blocked but looped up into the air and Effiong scored with a spectacularly acrobatic overhead kick!
Maidstone struggled to put Luca Ashby-Hammond under any real pressure in the first half hour and their first real effort on goal was off-target. A corner was met at the front post but what lloked like a decent flick on drifted wide with nobody at the back-post to turn it in.
Effiong had a golden opportunity for his second on the 30th minute after being played in by a perfectly weighted through ball from Michael Klass. He let the ball run across him but took too much time getting his shot away and allowed the Maidstone defence to block his effort on goal.
The Stones almost grabbed an equaliser against the run of play though captain Jerome Binnom-Williams. He found himself unmarked from a corner but his header from just yards out was straight at Ashby-Hammond and an easy catch for the Shots stopper.
Aldershot’s dangerman was finding joy with runs behind the defence and was almost gifted another brace as Yusuf Mersin found himself stranded in no-mans land. Effiong dinked it over the ‘keeper but George Fowler got back in time to clear the ball as it bounced towards the open net.
Just moments later, The Shots came even closer to getting a second. A neat one-two between Ollie Harfield and Ryan Glover resulted in Glover’s header bouncing off the inside of the post and across the goal.
Maidstone certainly had some work to do in the second-half and whatever George Elokobi said to his side at half-time looked to have fired them up as they looked a different side from kick-off.
Jack Barham came very close for the hosts as his shot hit the outside of the post and wide having found space inside the box. The assistant referee’s flag was raised, however, meaning it wouldn’t have counted.
But The Shots are on form and so too is Inih Effiong as the striker scored his second for yet another brace in the 66th minute. Haji Mnoga did brilliantly to beat three men down the right wing before threading a beautiful ball through to Effiong who slotted the ball under Mersin.
And some form that is for Effiong who completed his hat-trick and got his side’s third goal in the 79th minute. A deep cross from Ryan Glover found Effiong at the back-post and his loopping header found the net to cap a wonderful performance from The Shots captain.
The Stones came close to a consolation goal in added-time but Ryan Galvin’s powerful shot crashed against the bar and over summing up his side’s luck in front of goal.
Shots lineup: 1. Luca Ashby-Hammond, 3. Ollie Harfield, 5. Tyler Cordner, 7. Justin Amaluzor (2. Archie Davies 75′), 9. Inih Effiong (c), 15. Karoy Anderson (18. Peter Abimbola 80′), 16. Corey Jordan, 19. Oliver Pendlebury (27. Tommy Willard 61’), 20. Michael Klass, 22. Haji Mnoga, 23. Ryan Glover. Subs not used: 11. Harrison Panayiotou, 17. Jake Hutchinson.