Aldershot Town 1 Dover Athletic 1
Aldershot Town earned their second point of the season but fell agonisingly short of a first victory.
Richard Brodie’s deft finish – on his home debut – had snatched an equaliser late in the first-half but The Shots felt that they could and maybe should have taken all three points with a dynamic second-half display.
Dover Athletic started the stronger team and took a seventh-minute lead as Grimes found Stefan Payne out on the left with a raking pass and the striker curled a 20-yard shot over Phil Smith. Dan Walker’s pace and workrate created a couple of half-chances for himself but Smith twice made strong saves to deny the lively Ricky Miller. On 34 minutes, he also denied Liam Bellamy from Payne’s pull-back, and just three minutes later The Shots were level.
Jim Stevenson controlled a loose ball on his chest and hooked a pass through the defence for Brodie to race on to and lift a shot over the advancing Mitch Walker. Before the break, Barnes-Homer and Walker both had shots saved as a low cross into the box provoked a scramble in the Dover area, and the half-time introduction of Rhys Browne galvanised The Shots.
Browne was fouled on 56 minutes and when Hatton’s free-kick from deep found Beckles unmarked for a knock-down at the far-post, Brodie’s stooping header was saved. The winger then had a shot blocked and nearly danced his way through towards goal from the rebound. Walker, too, had two efforts skid wide.
Dover retained their own threat, through Payne and Miller especially, but from Smith’s quick throw out, which sent Browne racing across the halfway line, The Shots created the game’s crucial moment. Another substitute, Tom Richards, burst down the middle and was clear inside the area when Browne slid a pass to him, but the shot rolled under Mitch Walker and inches wide.
Miller’s shot was deflected alarmingly close to the goal and Diallo had a shot blocked, both in the final ten minutes, as Aldershot Town continued to push for a winner, but ultimately had to settle for a draw.