Dan Goodman reports from the EBB Stadium…
Aldershot claimed an important 2-0 victory over Southern League Premier opposition Kettering Town that sees them progress into the 1st Round of the FA Cup.
A first half goal from Scott Rendell and a breath-taking long-distance effort from Adam McDonnell gave the Shots a hard-fought victory.
Shots boss Gary Waddock made three changes to the side that won at Eastleigh last week with Will Mannion, Luke Howell and Shamir Fenelon coming in for Jake Cole, Jake Gallagher and Adam May who was ineligible to play.
It was a fast start made to the game by both teams, but it was the visitors who had the first chance, after just two minutes when Lindon Meikle delivered a pin point lofted cross that was met by the head of Marcus Kelly who was unable to get his headed effort past goalkeeper Will Mannion.
The Shots responded well to the early pressure, and nearly opened the scoring on the 10-minute mark when Rendell was found by Shamir Fenelon inside the six-yard box, but his acrobatic effort was well saved by Paul White.
Moments later the Shots got the goal they were looking for. McDonnell found space at the edge of the area and let fly a curling left footed effort that was parried by White into the path of Rendell who was on hand to tap home.
It nearly got better for the home side in the 29th minute, when Gabriel Osho brilliant pass found Matt McClure who delivered a bullet of a cross to Rendell who couldn’t steer his effort on target.
The Shots controlled the first half, making Kettering resigned to speculative efforts from outside the box and went into the half time break with a well-deserved lead.
The second half began very similar to how the first half ended, and Gary Waddock’s side were nearly rewarded if it was not for Poppies goalkeeper White who made a terrific save to stop an excellent Fenelon shot that was destined for the top corner.
Despite this, it was Kettering Town who had a golden chance to equalise in the 57th minute after George Fowler was caught on the ball, leaving Ben Milnes a one on one with Mannion who expertly saved and at the same time saving Fowler.
Kettering responded well and were the team looking more likely to score, and this nearly came to fruition when substitute Aaron O’Connor was put through on goal, but his low driven shot was again brilliantly saved by Mannion.
Minutes later, Kettering town had a big penalty claim turned down, when Rhys Hoeness appeared to be taken out by the Mannion, but it was turned down by the referee.
After weathering heavy pressure from Kettering the Shots doubled their lead. McDonnell tried his luck from almost 30 yards out and his unbelievable effort rattled the back of the net to give the Shots the important breathing space they needed as they headed into the final stages.
The Shots will be hoping they can take the momentum into the next league match, which is away to Gateshead next Saturday.
The draw will be shown live on BBC Two at 7PM on Monday night.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Mannion, McCoy, Osho, Fowler, Kinsella, McDonnell, Howell, Booty, Fenelon (Wanadio 60), Rendell, McClure (Gallagher 60).
Subs not used: Cole, Bernard, Lelan, Holman.