An impressive Connor Shields hat-trick sealed a solid 4-2 victory in a midweek friendly against National League South side Slough Town at Arbour Park.
Manager Danny Searle and first-team coach Michael Koopowitz opted to go with several academy players including full-back Harry Woodward and goalkeeper Ryan Hall, along with returning first-team players such as James Rowe given the opportunity to impress from the start.
The Shots would repay their manager’s faith in them with an early lead in the 16th minute with Connor Shields smashing home the game’s opening goal with a well-taken finish.
Aldershot Town continued to look to add pressure to their National League South opponents early on in the game and were perhaps a bit fortunate to not find themselves back on level terms, with Slough’s Dan Roberts spurning his chance in the 30th minute and saw his effort go over the bar.
However, Aldershot Town looked to have reacted brilliantly to their disappointing Hampshire Senior Cup defeat last week, with Shields doubling his goal tally for the evening with his second just a minute later with another well-taken strike.
It was from this point onwards where the goal floodgate began to burst open, as just a couple of minutes later Slough Town would half the deficit through forward Manny Williams, who did well to slot home in the 34th minute after good individual work from Francis Amartey.
Shortly after this, midfielder Amartey found himself on the score-sheet and the late equaliser for the home side in the 40th minute, after another intelligent run allowed him to get into the penalty area and fire low past Hall in the Aldershot Town goal.
Despite being pegged back, the Shots did well to respond and continued to look for that deserved goal that would put them in front going into the half-time break.
However, a good save from Slough Town goalkeeper Jack Turner from Trialist C just before the half-time whistle blew, kept Aldershot Town at bay at least until half-time with the Shots responding to the second-half in the best possible way.
After a string of confident save from Hall in the Aldershot Town goal from the threatening Amartey early on, the Shots would take the lead with a powerful header at the back-post through Trialist C in the 69th minute.
The Shots would then capitalise on their relentless pressure by scoring a fourth goal through the impressive hat-trick hero Connor Shields, who capped off a strong showing with his third goal in the 82nd minute.
Having pressed the National League South side all evening, the Scotsman showed great composure to nonchalantly chip the ball over the onrushing Turner and give manager Danny Searle a real selection headache going into the this weekend’s National League game away to Dagenham and Redbridge.
Overall, it was a much-needed strong showing from the Shots, with plenty of strong showings from a number of academy and first-team players, including hat-trick hero Shields and midfielder Rowe, who was able to complete his first full 90 minutes since returning from injury in last week’s game against Moneyfields FC.
Slough Town: 1 J Turner (G/K), 13 M Nisbet (C), 3 G Wells (M Fraser 45′), 5 G Hollis, 18 F Amartey, 15 A Kuhl, 11 W Harris (M Worsfold 45′), 10 M Williams, 8 M Lench (J Jackman 45′), 17 D Roberts, 18 R Bird (S Davies 45′).
Unused Subs: Togwell, Grant.
Aldershot Town: 1 R Hall (G/K), 2 H Woodward (N Howe 60′), 3 Trialist A, 4 A Whittingham (R Suckling 75′), 5 Trialist B, 6 H Taylor, 7 Trialist C, 8 J Rowe (R Wylie 65′), 9 M Bettamer (R Millar 45′), 10 C Shields, 11 A Eyoma.