Bernard Mensah got off to a goal-scoring return as the Shots drew 1-1 against Dagenham & Redbridge at the Chigwell Construction Stadium. His second half equaliser cancelled out Conor Wilkinson’s goal early in the second half for the hosts.
An ill Gary Waddock named three changes to the side that lost 2-0 to Chesterfield last week with Mensah thrown straight into the starting eleven, Lewis Kinsella returned after missing his first game since joining the Shots a year ago and Josh Lelan also returned at centre-back.
Luke Wanadio, Jake Gallagher and Marvin McCoy all moved to the bench and Luke Howell captained the Shots against his old side.
Mensah almost got on the scoresheet just 10 minutes into the game after Adam McDonnell picked him out with a cross but he flashed his header across the face of goal.
Dagenham’s best chance of the game came after 21 minutes. Doug Loft’s precise through ball found Jack Munns whose low cross took a heavy deflection off of Alex Finney and over Will Mannion but Lelan was in behind to clear the ball off the line.
John Goddard, in his second Shots game, had the next chance after Kinsella set him free down the left, he cut inside, beat Matt Robinson and shot low at goal but Elliott Justham got down well to save at the near post.
Shots took their good start to the game into the second half. The two newest signings combined with Goddard crossing for Mensah but he flicked his header over the bar.
A minute later Shots were hit with a sucker-punch. Wilkinson made a bursting run at the Shots defence, got a shot away just inside the area which took a heavy deflection off of Lelan and wrong-footed Mannion to give the hosts the lead.
The Shots responded well though and just a minute later they almost equalised. Goddard delivered a corner to Lelan at the far post, he nodded it back across goal to Mensah who acrobatically flicked an effort goalward that Justham had to be alert to tip over the bar.
Then on 64 minutes came the moment everyone was waiting for. Kinsella picked out Mensah who had the freedom of East London in the Dagenham penalty area and nodded it past Justham and wheeled away to celebrate with the jubilant travelling faithful.
Mensah was eventually replaced by Wanadio who almost won the game for the Shots on 86 minutes. McDonnell picked him out with an accurate cross but he couldn’t direct his header either side of Justham and the keeper held onto the effort.
Wilkinson gave the Shots one final scare in stoppage time after he brought the ball down on the edge of the area and fired a volley toward goal, it beat Mannion but was just over the bar and the Shots gained a well-earned point on the road.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Mannion, Bernard, Lelan, Finney, Kinsella, McDonnell, Booty, Howell, Goddard (McClure 90), Mensah (Wanadio 72), McDonagh.
Subs not used: Gallagher, Bozier, McCoy.
By Chris Woods