The Gulls secured a valuable point at Plainmoor, but had to survive a second half where the men from Hampshire 'called the shots'.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson made four changes to the team that went out of the FA Cup on Tuesday. Nathan Blissett, Dan Sparkes, missed out of the matchday squad completely through injury. Joe Ward dropped to the bench after experiencing some illness overnight. Back came Lathaniel Rowe-Turner to replace the Gaffer Kevin Nicholson who dropped to the bench. Damon Lathrope, Jamie Reid and Brett Williams returned to the starting eleven.
Ex-Gulls Shamir Fenelon (formally Goodwin), Scott Rendell, Iffy Allen, and Josh Wakefield all made the matchday squad for the Shots.
The earliest chance fell to Aldershot winger Bernard Mensah who impressed throughout the match, but especially in the first half. He peeled away from his marker and met the ball at the near post to fire a shot on goal. Fortunately for United, ‘keeper Brendan Moore was right behind it and claimed the ball well. United pushed back almost immediately.
Jamie Reid tried to test Aldershot ‘keeper Jake Cole from distance. He received the ball and immediately swiveled and tried to bend the ball in at the far post. Unfortunately for Reid his attempt had too much power and not enough accuracy.
Mensah was showing his quality once again when in the 8th minute he delivered a divine cross that was begging to be diverted towards goal. Liam Bellamy couldn’t get to the ball.
Then United ramped up the pressure on the Shots, pushing them back into defending their penalty box.
Aldershot had to put their bodies on the line to keep United out having survived multiple attempts by the Gulls to force the ball over the line.
Ex-Gull Scott Rendell then will consider himself unfortunate when, looking free to run at Brandan Moore, Sean McGinty dived in with a last-ditch challenge. The ball flicked up in the air and looked to fall in an ideal position for him to take towards goal.
The referee judged that the ball had struck his hand and United were allowed to restart the game.
A minute later the Gulls put together their best moment of the match. First there was a sublime dummy by Jamie Reid, followed by Sam Chaney delightful through ball to Brett Williams. Williams looked likely to at least get a shot away, but unfortunately for the Gulls he lost his footing at the vital time and the chance was gone.
United’s plans were dealt a big blow when right back Aman Verma had to leave the match thanks to a re-occurrence of the hamstring injury. Kevin Nicholson responded by bringing on Joe Ward to replace the former Kidderminster man.
Then, just before the half-time break Damon Lathrope’s groin inury flared up and had to be replaced by Kevin Nicholson.
The second half wasn’t as equal as the first.
It wasn’t as if United didn’t have their chances but Aldershot pushed up a gear and created the better chances after the break.
After a fairly quiet first half, Brendan Moore had plenty to the in the second.
The first came when substitute Matt McClure went one-on-one with Moore. An outstretched hand kept United on level terms. Moore kept on his feet and his momentum took him to his right but he saved with his left. It was a terrific save.
United had chances to score against the flow of the game.
Brett Williams met a long ball forward and struck a low shot with his left foot that went wide of the post.
United’s two enforced substitutions had shifted the team about. Giancarlo Gallifuoco was now playing right back with Lathaniel Rowe-Turner playing at right-sided center half.
Aldershot Town left back Anthony Straker found more space and time in the second half. His low ball into the box was met by Liam Bellamy with his left foot. It would have been an extraordinary goal had it gone in but his effort went a few feet wide of goal.
Williams then put Chaney through on goal with a cultured pass to the left, but the assistant referee raised his flag for offside.
Reid made an angle for himself running with the ball. Unfortunately his shot was too near Jake Cole to test the ex-Plymouth Argyle man too much.
Aldershot managed many ball into United’s box. One caught Kevin Nicholson out and allowed Aldershot midfielder Liam Bellamy to shoot on goal. He had more time than he thought as he rushed his shot. A little more composure and United would have been in trouble.
Moore rubber stamped his Man of the Match award when he saved from Fenelon with his legs. The man from Georgia can be very pleased with his performance.
Aldershot were to create one more chance in the match, and what an effort it was. McClure struck an unbelievable effort from the edge of the box. It pinged the inside of the post and thankfully went safe.
Joe Ward had the final say for the Gulls. The ball dropped to him after being cleared from a United corner. The technique was sound, but the direction wasn’t.
United now have to count their wounded and get ready to go again on Tuesday when they face Eastleigh at the Silverlake Stadium.
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