Aldershot came up short against Chesterfield at the EBB, as a brace from Jack Barham and a goal from Josh Stokes was not enough to give the hosts anything in a 4-3 loss against Paul Cook’s Spireites.
Tommy Widdrington was forced into a change in net, as new Southampton loanee Jack Bycroft came in for the suspended Jordi Van Stappershoef, and three other changes were made outfield, as Coby Rowe, Tommy Willard and Kwame Thomas made way for Maxwell Mullins, Lorent Tolaj and Jack Barham.
Chances were few and far between in the first half, with the game very much about ball retention and defensive solidity for both sides. There were a few questionable refereeing decision in the opening moments, with Tolaj denied a penalty and Ash Palmer shown a yellow for what could be argued as a red card for last man challenge on Jack Barham.
However, this didn’t dampen any Shots spirits, as Tommy Widdrington’s side took the lead with 25 minutes on the clock. Shots August Player of the Month Josh Stokes worked a good chance with Jack Barham and Aaron Jones down the Chesterfield left, Stokes getting on the reviving end of a ball at the byline, putting the ball across to Tolaj in the box. The Swiss striker was unable to take the ball under control surrounded by the Chesterfield defence, and after some bobbling around the ball fell back to Josh Stokes, who calmly rounded Harry Tyrer and tucked in from close range.
Chesterfield with their quality were always going to be tough to keep quiet, and just after half an hour they had themselves back on level terms. A good corner delivery found Ash Palmer, and his volley was defended well to begin with, but lots of poking around at the near post between Ryan Colclough and Ollie Harfield fell the way of the Chesterfield attacker, who found just enough to squeeze the ball into the back of Jack Bycroft’s net.
The best chance for either side to regain the lead eventually came from Josh Stokes, but the original chance came from Ryan Glover. Lorent Tolaj held the ball up well and slipped the ball through to Glover who used his pace to burst into space and into the Chesterfield box, cutting it back to Josh Stokes, who first time saw his effort blocked, and second time sent his effort over the bar.
HALF TIME: Shots 1-1 Chesterfield
Chesterfield showed why they are odds on favourites for the title at the start of the second half, giving themself a two goal lead with less than 10 minutes played in the second half. Will Grigg gave the side a 2-1 lead in the 48th minute, before Tom Naylor headed in a corner to give the visitors a third goal in the 54th minute.
A chaotic second half had a third goal in the 60th minute, as Aldershot pulled themselves back to within one goal. Lorent Tolaj used his strength to bully his way into the area past Ash Palmer, and his pinpoint pass gave Jack Barham one of the easiest finishes he’s likely to ever have from close range into an empty net.
Tommy Widdrington turned to the bench following the goal, bringing on Kwame Thomas and Theo Widdrington in place of Maxwell Mullins and Ryan Glover, with Widdrington going into midfield and switching the formation to a back 4.
The Shots were so close to levelling the scores in the 74th minute, as Tolaj found himself in a good position inside the Chesterfield box, and looped a cross to the back post to Jack Barham, who connected well with the cross, but agonisingly his effort bounced off the crossbar twice and went out for a goal kick!
Jack Barham wouldn’t make the same mistake in the 84th minute, as he headed the Shots back level from close range. Ollie Harfield as he always seems to be was in a great position down the left, and whipped a fantastic ball into the box, and Jack Barham flicked it beyond the reach of Harry Tyrer.
However, the joy was short lived, as Joe Quigley put Chesterfield back into the lead in the 87th minute. The ball bounced around in the box, and the Shots failed to clear the ball which meant that Quigley could hit the ball on the half volley and give Chesterfield a 4-3 lead.
A goal down the Shots were handed a hammer blow, as Theo Widdrington got sent off with less than a minute on the clock.
9 minutes of added time didn’t reap any reward for the Shots, and the game ended 4-3 to the visitors, handing Aldershot a first home defeat of the season. Attention will now turn to the road, as Aldershot travel to Fylde next Saturday.
Shots XI: 25. Jack Bycroft, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 8. Tyler Frost (27. Tommy Willard, 88’), 9. Lorent Tolaj, 10. Josh Stokes, 11. Ryan Glover (39. Kwame Thomas, 60’), 17. Aaron Jones (C), 22. Jack Barham, 24. Maxwell Mullins (6. Theo Widdrington, 60’)
Unused subs: 18. Olly Scott, 21. Ethan Burnett