The points were shared by Aldershot and Southend, as a fantastic first half Lorent Tolaj strike was cancelled out by Harry Cardwell in the second, handing Tommy Widdrington a point in his return to the dugout in front of 2,281 fans at the EBB.
Tommy Widdrington returned to the dugout, and made one change from the side that beat Boreham Wood on his way, with Jack Barham being given a place in the starting XI in place of Kwame Thomas up front.
The Shots were limited to just a few breakaway chances to start the game by a solid Southend set-up, the best of which fell to Jack Barham who hit an effort just wide inside 10 minutes. The visiting Shrimpers went on to have the best chances of the half, with Jack Bridge missing a cross which Van Stappershoef mis-judged at the back post after 24 minutes.
The best chance of the game came a few moments later, and again Van Stappershoef had a hand in it. The ball was sent through to Harry Cardwell, and his shot on the turn needed saving down low to the Dutchman’s left to keep the scores at 0-0.
Despite spending a lot of the first half defending, it was the Shots who took the lead just before half time through Lorent Tolaj. It came following a rare spell of possession, and assisting his third goal in a row Cian Harries cut open the Southend midfield, and found Tolaj free in space in the middle of the Southend half. The Swiss striker fancied his luck, and from range put the ball low and out of David Martin’s reach to give Aldershot the lead.
HALF TIME: Shots 1-0 Southend
The Shots started the second half very much on the back foot, and in need of a vocal point at the top of the attack Tommy Widdrington turned to the bench, and the scorer of the only goal Lorent Tolaj made way for Kwame Thomas.
Aldershot spent most of the half camped in their own box, and in the 73rd minute the visiting Shrimpers drew level. Noor Husin had a shot from the edge of the box, but his effort was parried straight into the path of Harry Cardwell by Jordi Van Stappershoef, and the striker converted his 7th goal of the season from close range.
Now on terms there was a second Shots change, Theo Widdrington coming off in place of Ethan Burnett in the 74th minute.
Kwame Thomas had the best chance to get Aldershot back into the lead in the 84th minute, after Ryan Glover did some good dribbling to find Barham, before his heavy touch fell into the path of the substitute, who hit his effort straight at David Martin.
There was a third and final Shots change in the 86th minute, as Josh Stokes came off and Tommy Willard came on to try and make a late impact.
Willard couldn’t make an impact at the attacking end, and the Shots were able to keep the goals against tally to one, ending the game in a hard earned draw for Aldershot. Attention now turns to Dagenham at the EBB on Saturday for Tommy Widdrington’s side.
Shots XI: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington (21. Ethan Burnett, 74′), 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj (39. Kwame Thomas, 64′), 10. Josh Stokes (27. Tommy Willard, 86′), 11. Ryan Glover, 17. Aaron Jones (c), 22. Jack Barham
Unused Subs: 25. Jack Bycroft, 5. Coby Rowe