Lorent Tolaj, Tyler Frost and Jack Barham made the difference for the Shots at the Laithwaite Community Stadium, as their goals earned the Shots all the points in a 3-2 victory over Woking to kick off 2024 perfectly.
A draw at the EBB Stadium on Boxing Day warranted only one switch by Shots manager Tommy Widdrington coming into the return fixture at the Laithwaite Community Stadium, as Ryan Glover made way for Olly Scott on the left of the defence.
The Cards were yet to score under Michael Doyle in two games, but also yet to concede, and it would be the latter which would be ended first 25 minutes into the game. Josh Stokes did some good work to intercept posession in a dangerous area for Tommy Widdrington’s side, and worked the ball to Lorent Tolaj, and from an angle was able to squeeze the ball past Alexis Andre Jr to put the Shots 1-0 up at Kingfield.
Doyle would get his first goal as Woking manager moments later, as former Shot Rhys Browne got the Cards back on terms four minutes after Shots had taken the lead. An initial effort came in from Akinola and Jordi Van Stappershoef initially did well to deny hium, but Rhys Browne was on hand to start 2024 as he did 2023, by scoring against the Shots.
Tyler Frost has previously expressed his desire to score in front ot the East Bank, but if you can’t do that then away at Woking is a good enough alternative in the eyes of most Shots fans. Three goals before half time more than made up for the goalless draw on Boxing Day, and again Lorent Tolaj was involved as he sent the ball through, a ball not dealt with, that found it’s way to Tyler Frost, who remained calm as he sent the travelling Shots fans into raptures with 36 on the clock.
Conceding after scoring has been a bit of an issue of late for the Shots, seen perfectly away at Chesterfield, but away at Woking the Shots were able to see out their lead for the remainder of the half, and in a repeat of New Years Day 2023 the game went into half time at 2-1, however this time the Shots were much the happier of the sides as they went in ahead.
HALF TIME: Woking 1-2 Shots
There wasn’t as much action to start the second half as there was to end the first for fans at the Laithwaite to enjoy, but the referee began to get his cards out of his pockets, firstly for Coby Rowe and then later for Rohan Ince as he dragged Lorent Tolaj back as he looked to get forwards.
Lorent Tolaj had been the problem for Woking in the first half, but it was his strike partner Jack Barham who should have had the game wrapped up 74 minutes in. Barham found a way around Alexis Andre Jr in the Cards net, and eventually managed to work an effort on target, however Dan Moss made a crucial block for Woking to keep the game within touching distance for the home side.
Tommy Widdrington made his first change with just under 15 to go in the half, as on a booking Coby Rowe made way for Ryan Glover, who in turn went into a fullback position and Haji Mnoga went back into the back three, where proir to Aaron Jones’ injury the Tanzanian had been playing for the Shots.
Despite missing his chance earlier, Jack Barham refused to give in, and in the final 10 minutes did have himself on the scoresheet. Ollie Harfield sent a good ball into the box, and Haji Mnoga made no mistake as he put a fantastic header into the path of Jack Barham, who from close range was able to put Aldershot two goals ahead with less than 10 minutes of normal time to play.
Barham made way moments after scoring the third, as Kwame Thomas came on, and it was a speical moment for Ollie Bray, as he came on in place of Lorent Tolaj to make his Aldershot Town debut in the 88th minute of the game.
Although the game seemed as though it was stumbling towards full time Woking made the game more tense for those in yellow in the dying moments. Amond was able to find a ball towards Reece Grego-Cox, who made the game 3-2 just before the announcement that there would be 9 minutes of added time. The game got even harder for the Shots in added time, as key player Josh Stokes was given a second yellow card and sent off for what the referee judged to be a dive.
Despite a man advantage and 9 minutes to find something the Cards were unable to find a third goal to snatch a point, so Aldershot went back to the EBB Stadium with all the points.
Attention now turns to next weekend for Aldershot, as they travel to the Hawthorns to take on West Brom in the third round of the FA Cup.
- Jordi Van Stappershoef, 2. Haji Mnoga, 3. Ollie Harfield, 4. Cian Harries, 5. Coby Rowe (11. Ryan Glover, 75′), 7. Stuart O’Keefe, 8. Tyler Frost, 9. Lorent Tolaj (39. Kwame Thomas, 88′), 10. Josh Stokes, 18. Olly Scott, 22. Jack Barham (14. Ollie Bray, 88′)
6. Theo Widdrington, 27. Tommy Willard,
Attendance: 5321 (1,198 away)