Aldershot earned all the points at the start of bank holiday weekend, as a goal from Ryan Glover and a brace from Josh Stokes maintained Tommy Widdrington’s unbeaten home start to 23/24 in front of 1,711 Shots fans.
Tommy Widdrington was forced into two changes to the squad ahead of the game, as Ryan Glover came into midfield for the injured Stuart O’Keefe, and Hady Ghandour made a first National League squad appearance for the Shots, being named amongst the substitutes.
Former Shot Tahvon Campbell had the first chance of the game for the hosts, as he rounded Jordi Van Stappershoef in the 6th minute. However Campbell couldn’t finish past Cian Harries, who had put himself in a fantastic position on the line to stop the chance.
The possession was held mostly by the Shots for the opening 25 minutes, with the best chance falling to Jack Barham in the 23rd minute. Josh Stokes made a good run off the ball down the Wealdstone left, and he put an inviting ball into the box, which went through the legs of Barham and missed Lorent Tolaj who was waiting behind him.
After a lot of possession the Shots finally had the lead in the 33rd minute. Ryan Glover played a nice 1-2 with Lorent Tolaj, and found himself in a good position to put the ball into the box, and his effort with the outside of his boot looked routine for Stones keeper Jed Ward, however the ball evaded the keeper and ended up in the back of his net, giving Aldershot a 1-0 lead.
Wanting a second before the break, Jack Barham almost gave the Shots a 2-0 lead in the 40th minute. Josh Stokes played a perfect ball through to Barham, and the striker let fly from the edge of the box, and his effort rattled off the post and was subsequently cleared by the Stones defence.
There almost was a second goal before the interval, but for Wealdstone in the 45th minute. Ryan Glover was dispossessed in midfield by Olofela Olomola, who slid through Tahvon Campbell, but a dominant Jordi Van Stappershoef came out and got low to deny the striker a goal on his return to the EBB.
Wealdstone ended the half the stronger of the two sides, but Ryan Glover’s strike was enough to ensure Aldershot went into the break in the lead.
HALF TIME: Shots 1-0 Wealdstone
The combination of Barham and Stokes was working well again as the second half kicked off, but an early chance for Barham as he was slid through by Stokes was saved well by the feet of Jed Ward.
Aldershot were denied what seemed a clear penalty by the referee, as Lorent Tolaj lifted a great ball over the top to Stokes, who controlled it and took a touch, and was then taken down in the box, however the referee was not interested in the claims.
It was all forgotten moments later though, as Josh Stokes doubled the Shots lead in the 54th minute. The original chance came from Jack Barham, as an over the top through ball found its way to his feet, wirlth his effort originally saved by Jed Ward. However, the keepers save was parried into the path of Josh Stokes, who slotted in for his second of the season and Shots second of the game.
Goalscorer Ryan Glover and Jack Barham were the first changes of the afternoon, as Ethan Burnett and Kwame Thomas came on in their places after 68 minutes.
It got better for Stokes and Aldershot in the 76th minute, as the Shots took a 3 goal lead. Tolaj held the ball up well, and slid Stokes through one on one with Jed Ward, and Stokes put the ball through the legs of the Stones ‘keeper to make it 3-0.
However, moments later Sean Adarkwa got a questionable goal back for Wealdstone. The Stones found 3 players in behind the Shots defence, and a first shot was deflected off the leg of a Wealdstone attacker and into the path of Adarkwa who seemed offside, but the linesman’s flag never arrived as he slotted into an empty net.
The Shots were then dealt another blow, as Hady Ghandour and Jack Cook clashed leaving the Shots attacker down and out with no substitutions left, meaning the Shots had to see out the remaining 7 or so minutes plus added time with 10 men.
Wealdstone were putting immense pressure on the Shots defence, which forced some fantastic goal line clearances from Cian Harries and Haji Mnoga, and most impressively an outstretched save from Jordi Van Stappershoef to tip an effort from Charles Clayden just around the post.
Wealdstone continued to dominate 10 man Shots until the final whistle, but an outstanding defensive effort from Aldershot meant there was no other breakthrough for the Stones, and Aldershot walked out 3-1 winners. Attention will now turn to Eastleigh on Monday, with the Shots looking to carry the momentum of today’s performance into that one on bank holiday Monday.
Shots XI: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 5. Coby Rowe, 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj (23. Hady Ghandour, 76’), 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover (21. Ethan Burnett, 68’), 17. Aaron Jones (c), 22. Jack Barham (39. Kwame Thomas, 68’)
Unused subs: 18. Olly Scott, 24. Maxwell Mullins.