The Shots got more crucial minutes in the tank in a victory against Chelsea XI, with Jack Barham, Lorent Tolaj and Kwame Thomas all scoring in an impressive showing for Tommy Widdrington’s side at the EBB.
Chelsea XI got off to a dream start, taking the lead with just two minutes on the clock. A good ball up the line found Dylan Williams, who whipped in an inch perfect cross, which Ronnie Stutter converted for the Blues.
Tolaj was lively in the opening exchanges, almost converting an Ollie Harfield cross in the third minute, before moments later putting a great ball in for Kwame Thomas, but the English striker was unable to convert.
The Shots were controlling more of the ball, but a stern Chelsea defence was holding its own. However, in the 26th minute the hosts had a chance to level, with Tyler Frost running onto a Kwame Thomas header, and sadly for the Shots his effort sailed over the bar.
The best chance to level came through Kwame Thomas in the 32nd minute. A good ball from Ryan Glover found Tyler Frost in acres of space to cross, and his drilled ball across goal was just inches away from finding its way into Teddy Curd’s net via the foot of Thomas.
It was Kwame Thomas who a few moments later found himself the saviour, getting the Shots level in the 40th minute. Ollie Harfield put in a dangerous ball towards the back post, and the towering presence of Thomas was too much for the Chelsea defence, as he headed home from close range to level the score.
Van Stappershoef didn’t disappoint with his first action of the game, as an acrobatic save saw him deny Chelsea the lead just before the break.
HALF TIME: Shots 1-1 Chelsea XI
Kwame Thomas was again involved in the 53rd minute, this time turning provider for Loren Tolaj. The striker was found down the Shots left, and held up the ball well, before digging the ball out for an inch perfect cross, which Lorent Tolaj volleyed into the bottom corner.
Just before the hour Tommy Widdrington made his first switches, swapping Stuart O’Keefe and Kwame Thomas for Theo Widdrington and Jack Barham, the latter Thomas making way with two big involvements under his belt.
Shots controlled possession a bit longer before Widdrington made his third change, with an impressive showing from Maxwell Mullins drawing to a close just after the hour as he was replaced by Henry Ochieng.
Tolaj continued to impress, and pulled an impressive acrobatic save out of Teddy Curd, as he hit a free kick destined for the top corner, only to be denied by the diving keeper.
Ollie Harfield was the next to be switched just after the 70th minute, as he was replaced by Trialist B, and a few moments later the lively Lorent Tolaj was taken off and replaced by Josh Stokes.
Aldershot added a third through Jack Barham in the 79th minute, all but sealing the victory for Widdrington’s side. Tyler Frost had an effort saved well by the Chelsea keeper, but his save fell right to Barham, who had the simple task of putting the ball into an empty net for the Shots third.
Ryan Glover was the next switch for Widdrington, as in the 81st minute he made the long walk around the pitch as academy graduate George Milner-Smith came on for the last 10 minutes. A fellow academy graduate Keane Anderson would join him a minute later, as he came on for Tyler Frost.
The Shots would see out the game at 3-1, and the game drew to a close with Shots the victors.
Shots team: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Ollie Harfield (14. Trialist B, 73’), 3. Maxwell Mullins (18. Henry Ochieng, 61’), 6. Cian Harries, 7. Aaron Jones, 8. Tyler Frost (20. Keane Anderson, 83’), 9. Lorent Tolaj (23. Josh Stokes, 74’), 10. Tommy Willard, 11. Ryan Glover (15. George Milner-Smith, 81’), 16. Kwame Thomas (17, Jack Barham, 57’), 19. Stuart O’Keefe (C) (4. Theo Widdrington, 57’).