Aldershot Town 1-0 Bristol Rovers Match Report

Charlie Smith reporting from the EBB Stadium

Shots Red Shirts, Blue Shorts, White Socks
Bristol Rovers Green and Black Shirts, Black Shorts, Green Socks

Shots : Young, Herd, Straker, Jones, Morris, Mekki, Vincenti, Brown, Bradley, Hylton, Madjo
Subs: Smith, Doughty, Risser, Payne, Sinclair

Bristol Rovers Bevan, Woodards, Bolger, Harrold, Brown, Patterson, Richards, Smith, Lund, Dorman, Sawyer
Subs: Gill, Carayol, Anyinsah, Zebroski, Downes

Referee: Michael Russell
Assistant: Stephen Rubery
Assistant: Stephen Daly
4th Official: Colin Lymer

Att: 2315 (Bristol 555)

Aldershot kicked off what was an emotional night at the EBB Stadium, marking 20 years since the demise of Aldershot FC. Despite the occasion it was the visitors who created the first chance of the game. Bristol Rovers’ skipper Danny Woodards broke down the right and found Elliott Richards free in the box. The striker’s cute finish didn’t trouble Jamie Young however, and went over for a goal kick.

With ten minutes gone it was a very tight opening at the EBB with both teams desperate not to concede early. The next opportunity again went to the away side, and it was they who started the match the brightest. After a Ben Herd free kick was cleared a brilliant through ball from Lee Brown found Richards on the move. The lively striker had started the game well and this time forced Young into a good save low down to his left-hand side.

The hosts were struggling to get a foothold in the game. It took the men in red nearly 20 minutes to get their first attempt on goal. Aaron Morris, who has been in fine scoring form of late tried his luck from range, but his effort just didn’t have enough dip and Scott Bevan saw the ball go over the bar.

With the halfway point of the first 45 approaching it was a very scrappy affair with neither team taking control of the game. After a bright opening Rovers’ is strikers, in particular Richards, seemed to be getting frustrated by the lack of service, which was summed up by Richards shooting high and wide from 35 yards out.

Mark McGhee’s men’s best opportunities were coming from crosses, as both Herd and Anthony Straker made important headed clearances to deny the away side the first clear cut chance of the game.

It was now Aldershot’s strikers who were getting frustrated by the lack of service, and this was clear to see when Guy Madjo tried his luck from a difficult angle outside the box, but it never really looked like troubling Bevan.

With just two minutes till half time the deadlock was broken. Probably against the run of play it was the hosts that took the lead. Great work from Madjo driving into the box caused problems in the visitors’ defence, and the ball fell kindly into the path of Vincenti. The midfielder composed himself and slotted past a helpless Bevan in the Rovers goal.

GOAL: Shots 1:0 Bristol Rovers (Vincenti 43 mins)

The goal was the last piece of action in what was a very scrappy first half. Both teams will certainly look to improve their performances after the interval.

HT: Shots 1:0 Bristol Rovers

The second half started in a similar pattern to the first with both teams struggling to build up any momentum. It was the men in green and black who had the first attempt after the break. After the Shots’ defence failed to clear a cross, Bristol’s Matt Lund tried an ambitious overhead kick, but his effort went well wide of the target.

Just like in the first half Dean Holdsworth and Mark McGhee were constantly out in their dugouts trying to encourage their team. With nearly an hour gone it was still the away side on top in the second.

The hosts’ first piece of sustained pressure came on the counter attack. Hylton released Herd down the right, after a nice one-two with Vincenti the Aldershot skipper’s cross was cleared. The clearance however only fell to Vincenti. The midfielder took the ball beautifully out of the air and tried a spectacular volley similar to Peter Crouch’s on the weekend, this time however the accuracy wasn’t there and it went over the bar.

Both managers introduced double substutions to try and inject some spark into the game. Aldershot introduced Josh Payne and Michael Doughty in place of Madjo and Mekki. The visitors replaced Brown and Richards with Chris Zebroski and Mustapha Carayol.

Carayol’s first touch in the game saw him go on a jinxing run that caused chaos in the Aldershot defence. Their poor clearance only fell to Andy Dorman on the edge of the box. The midfielder scuffed his shot into the ground, which allowed Straker to clear.

The Rovers sub was causing constant problems down the left hand side. This time he hit a shot that beat Young, but fortunately for him beat the post as well. It was all the visitors going into the last 15 minutes of the game. Dean Holdsworth’s side were going to have to fight till end to secure the three points. The Aldershot boss then decided to bring on Wilko Risser in place of the goal scorer Vincenti for the last stages of the game.

The hosts responded in the best way possible and tried to take the attack back at the Bristol Rovers. Hylton brilliantly disposed Dorman in the middle of the park. The ball eventually fell to Payne just inside the box, the substitute tried to lob the keeper and his effort forced Bevan to tip over.

Going into the final 10 minutes the men in red seemed to have come through Bristol’s most dominant part of the game with their lead still in tact, and they were now playing some of their best football of the evening.

You could see Payne was full of confidence from his earlier effort and after Morris was brought down by Zebroski 30 yards from goal, the Shots midfielder tried his luck. His effort had the power but just not the accuracy and went just wide of Bevan’s goal.

With just a couple of minutes left of normal time the visitors had a glorious opportunity to equalise. Zebroski’s beautifully weighted cross found Lund unmarked inside the box, but his weak effort was easily gathered by Young.

As the fourth official held up four minutes of added time both sets of fans tried to give their teams one last push. In the last minute of the game Bristol Rovers were inches from getting an equaliser. With the ball bouncing around inside the box Darren Jones cleared the ball off the goal line, not once but twice before the ball was eventually cleared and help secure Aldershot’s third league win in a row.

FT: Shots 1: 0 Bristol Rovers

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