Aldershot Town maintained their 100% home record and in doing so inflicted a first defeat of the season on erstwhile leaders Tranmere Rovers.
Bernard Mensah gave The Shots an early lead to capitalise upon a great start, but Rovers came back into it in the second-quarter and Andy Cook’s header has brought them level atthe break.
Tranmere had begun to exert pressure in the second-half but Rendell’s nerveless penalty – won by Iffy Allen – and then a flashing volley from Will Evans earned a fourth home win in a row for The Shots!
The hosts began a patient passing move which freed Cheye Alexander down the right, and his low cross was turned in by Mensah, breaking ahead of his marker in the midst of a scramble in the six-yard box.
Jake Cole preserved the lead with a fine save, blocking Steven Jennings’ effort after Adam Mekki’s snapshot had deflected into his path.
Norwood was always a threat to The Shots but before he could make a telling impact, Rendell fed Mcclure to fire in a fierce 16-yard drive which Scott Davies parried superbly.
Just two minutes later, though, on 37 minutes, Norwood’s angled cross invited Andy Cook to guide a header back across goal into the far corner of the net, and Rovers were level. The visitors ended the half on top – with Cook and Norwood particularly to the fore – and the latter brought another excellent save from Cole on 59 minutes, after being played in my Lois Maynard.
As the rain fell in increasing torrents, The Shots became sloppy in possession and appeared to gift the initiative to Tranmere, but the introduction of Iffy Allen and Nick Arnold down the left proved the catalyst for a thrilling final 15 minutes.
Allen skipped into the box on 77 minutes and induced the rash challenge which allowed Scott Rendell to roll in a nerveless penalty. The best, however, was saved for last. Alexander and Allen worked a short corner routine which created space for Alexander’s cross. On half cleared by the Rovers defence, the ball dropped towards the edge of the box, where Will Evans lashed an unstoppable 18 yard volley into the roof of the net.
Delirium erupted around the EBB Stadium, and Aldershot Town had made another potentially huge statement of intent at the start of what is already shapng up to be an exciting season.
ATFC: Cole; Alexander, Evans, Reynolds, Straker (Arnold 74); Fenelon, Gallagher, Bellamy, Mensah (Allen 74); Rendell, McClure (Wakefield 85). Subs not used: Conroy, Smith