Aldershot Town started 2022 in perfect fashion with a 3-2 win against local rivals Woking FC at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.
Goals from Jayden Harris, Corie Andrews from the penalty spot and a last-minute Mikael Ndjoli goal cancelled out a brace from Woking’s Max Kretzschmar to give Aldershot Town their first win of the New Year.
The Shots made six changes to the starting XI that fell to a narrow defeat to Dagenham & Redbridge last time out.
Alfy Whittingham, Ryan Glover, Mo Sylla, Corie Andrews, Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong and Giles Phillips all returned with Scott Wagstaff, Mikael Ndjoli, Ben Shroll, Elis Watts, Brad Webb and Tommy Willard taking their places either on the bench or were not involved in the match-day squad.
It was a frantic start to the game, with the returning Berkeley-Agyepong doing brilliantly down the left-hand side before seeing his deflected effort deflect off a Woking leg and bounce back off the crossbar as Woking cleared just five minutes in.
However, despite the early pressure it was the home side who took the lead in an end-to-end first-half as Inih Effiong kept the ball in down their left-hand side before laying the ball across for the onrushing Kretzschmar, who found the far corner to give Woking the lead just two minutes later.
Despite this, Aldershot Town continued to the look the more threatening of the two sides of the first-half with both Jayden Harris and Alfy Whittingham looking to add to the Shots’ attack from midfield.
It was Berkeley-Agyepong again however who had the chance to equalise, after a clever corner routine found its way to him in the penalty area, but couldn’t connect with the ball across allowing Woking to clear in the 18th minute.
Woking responded with some pressure following this with Effiong shooting wide three minutes later, but it was Aldershot Town who continued to look the most likely to get the game’s next goal as a succession of corners and free-kicks into the Woking penalty area were unfortunately cleared by the home side.
The next best chance for The Shots to equalise in the first-half came in the 37th minute, Berkeley-Agyepong again involved as neat work down the left-hand side allowed him to square the ball across for Harris, but the midfielder could only convert his effort just wide of the near post.
This opportunity ended what was a promising first-half for Aldershot Town, but ultimately found themselves a goal behind going into the midway break.
However, it wasn’t long in the second-half before The Shots found themselves level as Harris was on hand to equalise just a minute into the second-half with a well-taken header.
A move that started from the midfielder in his own half, saw Berkeley-Agyepong, Andrews and Kinsella all involved with the ball moving from right to left with Kinsella’s cross picking out Harris who drove into the Woking penalty area and headed home at the near post.
Following their equaliser, The Shots continued to push as they looked to go ahead for the first-time in the game, with chances for Ryan Glover and Berkeley-Agyepong coming but unable to find the back of the Woking net.
However, midway through the second-half Woking began to threaten and following the introduction of Jamar Loza and Kyran Lofthouse, found themselves able to go back in front in the 72nd minute with Loza fouled in the Aldershot Town penalty area, which left Kretzschmar the chance to score from the penalty spot for his second of the game.
After a small delay, the Woking man found the back of the net, leaving Aldershot Town with work to do with 20 minutes to go.
Aldershot Town did find themselves back on level terms following persistent pressure, with the recently introduced Mikael Ndjoli and Tommy Willard involved with the former’s cross seeing the latter brought down by Champion in the Woking penalty area, leaving top scorer Corie Andrews to score after an extended delay in the build-up to the penalty.
There was still time for a last-minute winner and in true derby fashion, Aldershot Town would do just that with recent substitute Mikael Ndjoli picked out at the back post from a Lewis Kinsella cross as the forward’s first-time volley squeezed in at the near post and gave Aldershot Town a deserved victory after an impressive second-half showing.
The Shots are next in action when we host Maidenhead United at home next Saturday, the 8th January 2022.
Woking FC: 13 C Ross (G/K), 3 J Casey (C), 4 T Champion, 6 M Diarra, 8 S Nwabuokei, 9 I Effiong, 10 M Kretzschmar, 11 T Johnson (Loza 64′), 19 T Campbell, 21 T Block (Lofthouse 64′), 23 J Anderson
Unused Subs: 1 M Smith (G/K), 5 J McNerney, 24 R Ince
Aldershot Town FC: 37 L Walker (G/K), 3 L Kinsella (C), 7 A Whittingham (Ndjoli 82′) (Wagstaff 90′) ,10 J Berkeley-Agyepong, 11 C Andrews, 12 C Oxlade-Chamberlain, 14 R Glover (Willard 82′), 16 C Jordan, 18 M Sylla, 22 G Phillips, 23 J Harris
Unused Subs: 1 M Walker (G/K), 21 B Shroll