Aldershot’s hearts were broken as Hallam Hope scores a 94th minute winner to snatch victory in a tightly-contested encounter.
Both sides had early chances. The Shots first sight of goal fell to Inih Effiong after just two minutes but his effort from outside the box was safely over the bar. Oldham’s first chance a couple of minutes later was more dangerous; Ben Tollitt forcing Luca Ashby-Hammond into a good save.
Oldham found the breakthrough as the game entered the 20th minute. A blocked effort dropped outside the box to Dan Gardner who unleashed a powerful effort into the bottom corner.
But their lead didn’t last too long. Justin Amaluzor received the ball just outside the Oldham box and looked to be off-balance as he stabbed at the ball and launched a fantastic effort into the top corner to get The Shots back into the game.
Oldham thought they instantly regained the lead just moments later when they had the ball in the back of the net. Hallam Hope challenged Ashby-Hammond and though The Latics’ forward thought he won the duel and scored, the officials disagreed and disallowed the goal for a foul on The Shots ‘keeper.
Aldershot looked to capitalise on any mistakes Oldham made and looked to press from the front. inih Effiong and Ryan Glover both came close with half-chances from intercepting wayward passes in midfield and surging forward.
Justin Amaluzor had the first chance of the second-half for The Shots, again from distance. His shot was on target and forced a save out of Magnus Norman but lacked the conviction of his goal from earlier in the game.
There was confusion when referee Steven Copeland called the players and his assistant referees to the dugouts, stopping play in the process around the 50th minute. Oldham fans began to wave their phone torches perhaps suggesting a floodlight failure but not being able to see the floodlights from the press box and the pitch still illuminated, it remains to be seen why play was stopped.
Resuming five minutes later, it was the hosts who restarted on the front foot with Ben Tollitt forcing Ashby-Hammond into making a great save as his effort from outside the box looked to be heading in.
Mark Molesley brought on Corey Jordan for Harrison Panayiotou after the hour bringing a change of tactic for The Shots with Jordan creating a back three. Archie Davies and Ollie Harfield advanced further up the pitch and looked dangerous almost instantly as they both swung in dangerous crosses to no avail.
The game closed up at either end but looked open in the middle of the pitch as the game advanced. Oldham kept pushing towards their home support behind Ashby-Hammond’s goal only to be denied by a strong Aldershot back three.
The hosts were sloppy in midfield, however, and struggled to keep possession as The Shots began to capitalise. Effiong again showing brilliant perseverance to barrage through The Latics’ defence but with Ryan Glover in acres of space to his left, Effiong decided to shoot a tame effort straight at Norman.
Aldershot nearly found a late winner from an unlikely source when Archie Davies forced Norman into a great save with a free-kick from about 25 yards out with only a couple of minutes left on the clock.
With eight minutes added on as a result of the earlier stoppage, both sides were given a chance to steal a late winner from an evenly contested game. Oldham did just that. Out of nothing, Hallam Hope was slipped in and scored. Sometimes it really is the hope that kills you.
- Luca Ashby-Hammond, 2. Archie Davies, 3. Ollie Harfield, 5. Tyler Cordner, 7. Justin Amaluzor, 8. Frank Vincent, 9. Inih Effiong, 10. Josh McQuoid (c) (20. Michael Klass, 72′), 11. Harrison Panayiotou (16. Corey Jordan, 63′) 22. Giles Phillips, 23. Ryan Glover (14. Francis Amartey, 86′). Subs not used: 13. Ryan Hall, 27. Tommy Willard