Chris Woods reports from the Laithwaite Community Stadium…
A solitary goal from Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong in the 23rd minute was enough to see Aldershot Town beat local rivals Woking at the Laithwaite Community Stadium on Tuesday night.
It was the first win for new Shots boss Danny Searle, coming in front of 925 noisy and jubilant visiting supporters.
Berkeley-Agyepong was one of the three changes Searle made to the side that lost 2-1 to AFC Fylde on the opening day, with George Fowler and Ethan Chislett also coming in with Ollie O’Dwyer, Harrison Panayiotou and Alefe Santos all missing out. Shots Academy defender Simba Kudyiwa made the bench.
And it was Guildford-resident Chislett who had the first chance of the game on eight minutes after he was fed in by Berkeley-Agyepong but his strike went straight at Craig Ross in the Woking goal.
The Cardinals, playing their first home game since promotion from the National League South, looked strong in the first half. Former Shots youth player Josh Casey beat three defenders and worked his way into the box only to see his effort take a crucial block from Lewis Kinsella.
Dave Tarpey then repeated Casey’s skills, turning Fowler on the edge of the box but his effort produced a fantastic stop from Mitch Walker on 17 minutes.
The only goal of the game came soon after. Kinsella’s cross was headed clear by Manny Parry to Shots captain Dean Rance, he brought it down and delicately lofted a ball over the Woking defence into Berkeley-Agyepong who calmly knocked it past Ross and create pandemonium in the away end.
The hosts then enjoyed a spell of significant pressure before half time. They did have the ball in the net through Max Kretzschmar, prompting home fans to let off a flare, but their celebrations were premature as the goal was ruled out for a clear offside.
They should’ve equalised right before half time when Ben Gerring found himself unmarked at the far post from a corner but he headed over the bar from close range.
The second half was much more muted with few chances, Walker in the Shots goal faced no significant chances for the entire half.
Shamir Mullings and Connor Shields both had half chances inside the hour mark and the Shots defence held firm throughout the entire half.
Berkeley-Agyepong had a great chance to double his tally on 78 minutes. He dispossessed Jack Cook on the halfway line, forcing a devastating counter-attack with Shields, the Scottish forward played Berkeley-Agyepong through on goal but he slipped at the vital moment, rolling the ball straight into the path of Ross.
That was to be the scorer’s last action as he hobbled off for Panayiotou. And it was his replacement who struck the woodwork in injury time. The St Kitts and Nevis international latched onto a long clearance, raced through on goal, smashed it past Ross but only to see his effort crash off the post and out.
The Shots effectively managed the game in the second half and saw off every Woking threat to give Searle and his new management team their first win at the club and a precious victory over local rivals.
ALDERSHOT TOWN: Walker, Tinkler, Finney, Fowler, Kinsella, Rance, Rowe, Chislett (Whittingham 90), Berkeley-Agyepong (Panayiotou 79), Shields, Mullings.
Subs not used: Santos, Eyoma, Kudyiwa.