It was an afternoon to forget for Aldershot as a buoyant Oldham defeated the Shots 5-1.
Aldershot made one change with Tyler Frost coming in to start in place of Theo Widdrington who wasn’t named in the squad after his early, enforced substitution last weekend. Ethan Burnett was named on the bench.
The opening exchanges didn’t see either side threaten goal until the ninth minute when the Shots had a golden opportunity to hit their hosts on the counter. Jack Barham and Lorent Tolaj were 2v2 and when Barham squared the ball to Tolaj, the Swiss striker was bundled to the floor with the goal just in front of him.
What looked like a clear, goalscoring opportunity was evidently not so as the referee only gave the Oldham defender a yellow card. The free-kick – just outside the box – was blasted at the wall by Tolaj as Josh Stokes was then fouled on the rebound. Tolaj took the next free-kick from five yards further out and forced Magnus Norman into a good save.
From the resulting corner, the ball eventually ended up at the feet of Stokes in the Oldham area. He pulled off a beautiful Cruyff turn to gain significant space and found Barham at full-stretch but he could only poke the ball at Norman who saved well, despite the Assistant Referee’s flag being raised.
Though Aldershot had the better of the early chances, possession was fairly even and they grew into the game, forcing Jordi Van Stappershoef into a great save in the 26th minute. James Norwood the man denied from close-range.
The Oldham striker wasn’t to be denied five minutes later, however, as he gave his side the lead in the 32nd minute. Haji Mnoga was shoved to the floor in what was probably a foul in most peoples eyes except the Referee and attacking down the left, the ball found Norwood who finished from close-range.
Aldershot pushed for an immediate reply as Stokes, out on the right-wing, found Tolaj in the centre but the man who scored twice on the opening day last weekend, couldn’t find the right connection and the ball dragged wide.
Sometimes you have to give the opposition credit and say fairplay and Oldham’s second goal in the 37th minute was one of those. Brennan Dickenson scored an absolute beauty from at least 30-yards out which found the top-corner and gave Van Stappershoef no chance.
And just five minutes later, the Dutch stopper was equally stranded from another fine finish from Ben Tollitt. A little closer – just outside the box – the winger’s low, powerful effort found the inside of the post and the back of the net to give Oldham a 3-0 lead going into half-time.
Oldham were happy to sit on their lead and looked to just control proceedings in the second-half meaning chances were few and far between until the 62nd minute. Again, it was Van Stappershoef pulling off a fantastic save to deny a Norwood header from just yards out.
Aldershot weren’t completely out of the game and were still pushing to fight back with a few half-chances. Most notably, Stokes fired high and wide after some nice build-up play by the Shots.
They managed to get a goal back with 15 minutes to play through an own goal. A deep free-kick found Ollie Harfield at the back-post who volleyed back into the danger zone with the ball headed into his own net by an Oldham defender.
The Shots almost had a second goal back just minutes later as Barham raced forward and beat a stranded Norman to the ball to leave the Oldham ‘keeper in no-mans land. He squared the ball from a tight angle but it was cleared from danger with Kwame Thomas inches away from a tap-in.
But, Aldershot’s hopes of a comeback were made significantly harder when Thomas was shown a red card for a second-bookable offence in the 84th minute.
And the comeback hopes were dashes just four minutes later after two quickfire goals saw Oldham race four goals in front. James Norwood raced through on goal to finish past Van Stappershoef for his second and Oldham’s fourth and Brennan Dickenson added a fifth with a lob from the edge of the box in the 88th minute.
Shots lineup: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 7. Stuart O’Keefe (C) (21. Ethan Burnett 62′), 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj 39. Kwame Thomas 62′), 10. Josh Stokes (11. Ryan Glover 75’), 17. Aaron Jones, 22. Jack Barham, 24. Maxwell Mullins.
Subs not used: 5. Coby Rowe, 27. Tommy Willard.
Attendance: 7,593 (251 away)