The Shots made it one defeat in six with a draw against Dagenham, as Cian Harries, Josh Stokes and Kwame Thomas scored goals to hand Tommy Widdrington all the points in a performance that deserved it in front of 1,987 Shots fans at the EBB.
There was one change to the side that drew 1-1 to Southend coming into this fixture, as Jack Barham made way in place of Kwame Thomas in attack. Finlay Westen and Maxwell Mullins returned to the squad, as Jack Bycroft’s loan expiration and no place for Ethan Burnett meant there were places on Tommy Widdrington’s bench for the pair of academy graduates.
Despite a bright start for Aldershot, it was Dagenham who took the lead in the 5th minute. A ball came over the top, and Haji Mnoga misjudged the bounce which meant the ball found it was to Charley Kendall, who skipped past Cian Harries and put the ball across Jordi Van Stappershoef to give the Daggers the lead.
An early setback didn’t ruin the flow of the Shots, who had the much better of the chances after the first goal. Kwame Thomas almost levelled after an Ollie Harfield cross found his head, but the ball sailed over the bar. Minutes later Lorent Tolaj and Tyler Frost looked as though they were causing the Daggers defence some problems, but were unable to find any chances to trouble Elliot Justham.
The Shots were given a golden opportunity to get back into the game inside 25 minutes, as Tyler Frost was taken down by Elliot Justham in the Dagenham box and earned the Shots a penalty kick. Cian Harries stepped up from the spot, and cool as you like sent the ball into the bottom right corner of the Dagenham goal to get Aldershot back on terms.
Jordi Van Stappershoef did well when called into action in the first half, making a pair of acrobatic saves to tip efforts over the bar and keep the scores at 1-1.
Dagenham were handed a hammer blow in the fourth minute of added time, as Sam Ling got himself dismissed just before the break. It came after a Mnoga ball was played short to Stokes, and Ling went in for a 50/50 with the Shots midfielder, but got his timing all wrong and clattered into Stokes and got himself sent off.
HALF TIME: Shots 1-1 Dagenham
With a man advantage the Shots made it a goal advantage within minutes of the restart. The ball came forwards to the edge of the box where Josh Stokes was waiting, his first touch to turn was sublime, and his effort into the top left corner of Justham’s goal from the edge of the box was even better, giving the Shots a 2-1 lead in front of the East Bank.
The Shots looked the most comfortable on the ball a man up, but it was the visitors who got themselves on terms. Frank Vincent kept himself strong, and crossed the ball in to Freddie Sears who headed beyond Van Stappershoef to get the game back level.
Barham had been getting ready to come on for a while, and was finally introduced in place of Tolaj just before the 70 minute mark. The Shots continued to dominate the ball, but were unable to produce anything meaning another change was made in the 84th minute, as Tyler Frost limped off for Tommy Willard.
Aldershot kept on pressing for a winner, and got it in the 89th minute. Ryan Glover and Ollie Harfield – as they had all afternoon – linked up well down the left, and Ollie Harfield whipped the ball into the box onto the head of Kwame Thomas, who rose highest to and headed in for his first Aldershot goal of the season.
The final change of the game came in the 99th minute, and after another fantastic shift in midfield Theo Widdrington made way for Maxwell Mullins. It wasn’t a case of “hanging on” as such from the Shots, but Aldershot came away with all the points after 12 minutes of added time at the end of the game.
Attention now turns to Tuesday night, as Aldershot travel to Altrincham.
Shots XI: 1. Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 6. Theo Widdrington (24. Maxwell Mullins, 99′), 8. Tyler Frost (27. Tommy Willard, 84′), 9. Lorent Tolaj (22. Jack Barham, 69′), 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover, 17. Aaron Jones (C), 39. Kwame Thomas
Unused subs: 28. Finlay Westen, 5. Coby Rowe