A remarkable few minutes late in the game saw Kwame Thomas score and then assist Josh Stokes to give the Shots all the points in a 2-1 win in front of 2361 fans on a rainy afternoon at the EBB against Hartlepool.
Having won two in a row there were, to the surprise of none, very few changes to Tommy Widdrington’s XI. Cian Harries was forced out through suspension, but Haji Mnoga came straight back into the back line following international duty. Joe Haigh was the only other change to the XI, with Jack Barham returning to the eleven following a knock that kept him out of Lewes last weekend.
New signing Dejan Tetek was amongst the substitutes, alongside Tyler Frost, Joe Haigh, Maxwell Mullins and Kwame Thomas.
Rain before the game meant the opening 15 was about feeling the pitch, with bith sides enjoying spells of possession on the wet surface. The Shots thought they had the lead after five minutes, but Jack Barham’s headed effort on the end of Ryan Glover’s cross was met by the linesman’s flag.
As has been a staple of Tommy Widdrington’s Shots possession was easy to come by for the hosts, but the chances were harder to find against a solid Pools defence. However, there were a hanfull of chances for Aldershot around the 25th minute, the first falling for Barham, who headed an Ollie Harfield cross wide. Barham was involved again for the next, showing strength to hold off Zak Johnson, before delivering a cross which wriggled behind for a corner. The quick flurry ended with Tommy Willard, who burst into the box following a corner and shot straight into the arms of Pete Jameson.
Aldershot had undoubtedly had the best chance of the game just after the half an hour mark, but were unable to take the lead. Lorent Tolaj battled well and stayed strong to beat off a Hartlepool defender and was bearing down on goal with Barham and Stokes in support, and the Swiss striker cut it back to Stokes, who fired over the crossbar from inside the box.
Again, it was a case of nearly for the Shots and skipper Aaron Jones as they looked to break the deadlock. Aaron Jones prevented a quick counter attack from Hartlepool, and with bodies already flooding forwards the space opened up for Jones, and from range he forced Pete Jameson to tip over the bar for a corner.
HALF TIME: Shots 0-0 Hartlepool
The Shots came out swinging in the second half, and Lorent Tolaj almost gave Tommy Widdrington’s side the lead with two minutes gone. Josh Stokes did well to hold the ball up and find the Swiss striker, who beat Matt Dolan and with his stronger left foot forced Pete Jameson into a good save.
Despite all the pressure from Aldershot it was the visiting Pools who went ahead. The Shots failed to deal with a corner, and an acrobatic effort from Emmanuel Dieseruvwe caught Jordi Van Stappershoef blindsided and ended up in the back of the Shots net.
A goal down it was all still falling for Aldershot, and they should have been level 61 minutes in. Josh Stokes found a way into the box, and rather than shooting elected to pass the ball to Jack Barham, but with the goal gaping Barham was unable to control the ball and it went out for a goal kick.
Chasing an equaliser Tommy Widdrington turned to the bench, Theo Widdrington making way to give Dejan Tetek his debut in the 72nd minute. Not long after in the 76th minute attention turned to the bench again, this time Jack Barham was replaced by Kwame Thomas.
The Shots continued to press, and were assisted by Tyler Frost, who came on in place of Ryan Glover with 10 minutes to go.
After not falling for the Shots all afternoon, it fell for them twice in the space of a few seconds. The first came from substitute Kwame Thomas, who scored at the back post after Ollie Harfield did well to burst into the box and put the ball on a plate for the striker, who made no mistake from close range. From the kick off Shots took the lead, Kwame Thomas again involved as he held the ball up superbly and fed it to Josh Stokes, who had a clear path to goal and one on one Stokes would be the only winner, putting Aldershot in the lead when they had trailed just two minute prior.
Tyler Frost almost added a third in the 89th minute, but his effort was just wide. A corner for Hartlepool resulted in a quick attack for the Shots, Tolaj holding the ball up well before finding Tyler Frost who had acres of space, but his effort from the edge of the box went behind for a goal kick.
Hartlepool applied some late pressure, but Jordi Van Stappershoef remained safe in the Shots goal and Tommy Widdrington’s side ended the game the victors. A return to the EBB on Tuesday night awaits for Aldershot, as they host Maidenhead.
Shots XI: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 5. Coby Rowe, 6. Theo Widdrington (34. Dejan Tetek, 72′), 9. Lorent Tolaj, 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover (8. Tyler Frost, 80′), 17. Aaron Jones (C), 22. Jack Barham (39. Kwame Thomas, 76′), 27. Tommy Willard
Unused subs: 8. 20. Joe Haigh, 24. Maxwell Mullins