Ben King reports from the EBB Stadium…
Aldershot escaped with three much-needed points against Braintree Town as Adam McDonnell stole the show for the Shots again with a delightful free-kick 10 minutes from full-time at the EBB Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
It was a quiet first 15 minutes as Aldershot looked to break down a Braintree side holding a defensive shape.
However, it was the visitors that had the best chances of the first half, despite the Shots controlling possession.
The strike partnership of Virgil Gomis and Reece Grant were causing problems. Nottingham Forest loanee Gomis had the first clear-cut chance of the match as he was found in the box by Justin Amaluzor. Thankfully, Gabriel Osho blocked the goal-bound attempt to prevent the deadlock being unlocked.
Adam McDonnell tested his range, having scored from outside the box in the 1-1 draw against Boreham Wood on Tuesday. Unfortunately, the 21-year-old had two strikes sailing over the bar this time round.
As Aldershot looked to assert their authority in front of the home faithful, they had to be wary of any counter-attacks from Hakan Hayrettin’s side.
The Shots looked on edge heading into half-time as Braintree were causing problems down the right-flank. It was Gomis who provided the pace to get to the bar-line before dragging his pass back for Grant. Sighs of relief were breathed from the Shots faithful as the opportunity wasn’t taken with Grant slicing his shot wide of the far-post.
The same pattern of play flowed into the second-half as Aldershot failed to create any chances that would test Braintree shot-stopper Ashlee Jones.
It looked as if Braintree would be rewarded for their resilience at the back as Gomis was unmarked in the box but his drilled strike was well saved by Shots keeper Will Mannion.
Shamir Fenelon had the Shots’ best chance with the ball falling to him with the goal at his mercy until a last-ditch challenge from Braintree skipper Joseph Ellul saved his side.
As this stop-start affair was crawling to its conclusion, the Shots could finally muster a promising opportunity with a 20-yard central free-kick awarded.
Up stepped McDonnell, who didn’t disappoint as the strike left Jones flat-footed with the ball sailing into the top-right corner in the 83rd minute.
Although it was an event contest throughout, it made up for the disappointment of Tuesday night’s result with this vital victory leaving the Shots still in 16th in the National League table.
Aldershot’s next game is in the first-round of the FA Cup against Bradford City at the EBB Stadium on Saturday.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Mannion, McCoy, Osho, Fowler, Kinsella, Gallagher, McDonnell (Lelan 90), May, Fenelon (Howell 69), Rendell, Wanadio (Booty 72).
Subs not used: Cole, Bernard.