United and Aldershot have played out some thrillers in their recent histories, and Tuesday night was another one to add to the list. Unfortunately, this time it was United that came out on the wrong side of a 3-2 loss.
Aldershot took the lead through Shamir Fenelon, then strikes from Bobby-Joe Taylor and Shaun Okojie earned the Shots all three points. Luke Young and a cross from Jamie Reid that seemed to go straight in replied for the Gulls.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson made four changes from the team that started against Tranmere on Saturday. Damon Lathrope, Jon-Paul Pittman, Jake Gosling, and Josh Gowling made way for Jordan Lee, Jamie Reid, James Gray and Myles Anderson. Gowling missed out due to injury, while Nicholson said before the match, that he had Aldershot’s line-up in mind before the Tranmere match.
United clinched a point at the EBB Stadium last season with Ruairi Keating opening the scoring. Aldershot showed on that day that they were one of the trickiest propositions in the National League. Little has changes with the Shots with Gary Waddock in charge with largely the same team as last season. Pace and guile, Aldershot have plenty of both.
The goals came early. Shamir Fenelon was the benefactor when a ball into United’s box received an unfortunate deflection off United defender Sean McGinty. Ryan Clarke raced out and pulled off a terrific save. Unfortunately, the ball went over the line.
Aldershot followed up their goal with more of the ball but it was United that would score next.
A free-kick around 20 yards out from Aldershot’s goal had Luke Young’s name all over it. The ball was maybe a little too close to goal to get the ball up and under the bar. It didn’t matter. Young opened United’s account for the season with a sumptuous strike that beat Jake Cole to his far post. Eight minutes gone and the game was 1-1.
Aldershot took the lead once again in early in the second half. Winger Bobby-Joe Taylor scored for the Shots, putting away a low cross from Fenelon after the ball had been lost by United.
Kevin Nicholson rang the changes in the 63rd minute when Jon-Paul Pittman and Jake Gosling replaced Ruairi Keating and Jordan Lee.
United thought they had equalized in the 68th minute. Jamie Reid headed in but the assistant referee raised his flag. Whether it ruled out for a handball or for offside, it didn’t matter, United were still behind.
It was Aldershot that extended their lead in the 85th minute. A corner into the box had Aldershot and United lunging for the ball. Clarke went to get it but the throng on bodies in front of him stopped him claiming the ball. The referee didn’t see any infringement from any Aldershot players. Okojie was there to fire the ball home.
United weren’t finished. A Jamie Reid cross may have taken a touch from a Yellow shirt, either way, United scored their second goal and had the chance to test Aldershot’s metal for the five minutes of time added on.
While not able to force an equalizer, player-manager Kevin Nicholson will be pleased with United’s second-half performance.
Aldershot Town: 1 Cole; 2 Arnold; 3 Alexander; 7 Fenelon; 8 Oyeleke; 10 McClure [Rendell 75’]; 12 De Havilland; 16 Gallagher; 18 Rowe; 22 Reynolds; 27 Taylor [Okojie 75’]
Torquay United: 1 Ryan Clarke; 5 Sean McGinty; 7 Sam Chaney [Rory Fallon 82’]; 8 Luke Young; 10 Ruairi Keating (Jon-Paul Pittman 63’); 14 Myles Anderson; Jordan Lee; 17 James Gray; 18 Yan Klukowski; 19 Jamie Reid; Ryan Higgins Subs Not Used: 20 Neal Osborn
Referee: Alan Young
Attendance: 2,662 (343 Away)