REPORT | Aldershot Town 3-1 Wealdstone
Wealdstone were beaten 3-1 by an impressive Aldershot Town at the EBB Stadium this afternoon.
A Josh Stokes brace, along with a goal from Ryan Glover resigned the Stones to their first defeat this season, with Sean Adarkwa’s goal proving only consolatory.
Manager Stuart Maynard made one change to side that defeated AFC Fylde last week as Olufela Olomola returned to the starting line-up for the Stones.
Wealdstone started the match brightly, nearly taking the lead within the first six minutes as Max Kretzschmar’s perfectly floated ball found Tahvon Campbell, who rounded goalkeeper
Jordi Van Stappershoef and fired towards the far post, but Cian Harries recovered with an excellent goal-line clearance.
Moments later, Micah Obiero latched onto the ball from a corner and drove a fierce low effort from just outside the area towards the bottom corner but Van Stappershoef produced a solid save.
Just shy of the quarter of an hour mark, the Shots crafted a goal scoring opportunity as Jack Barham surged forward and cut inside from the left wing, unleashing a powerful effort that had to be deflected behind by Charlie Barker.
Two minutes later, another attacking spell from Aldershot resulted in skipper Aaron Jones whipping in a teasing cross from the left flank which just evaded their striker.
Maynard was forced into an early substitution as the injured Kretzschmar had to be replaced by Nathan Ferguson in the 21st minute.
The hosts broke the deadlock in the 32nd minute when Glover’s strike from just inside the area slipped through the hands of Jed Ward into the net.
Galvanised by the goal, Aldershot Town nearly doubled their advantage four minutes later when Lorent Tolaj’s strike flew just over the crossbar.
The Shots continued on the ascendancy with Josh Stokes releasing Barham through on goal to fire a thunderous effort towards goal, only being denied by the woodwork.
Wealdstone continued to search for an equaliser, and just before the stroke of half-time, Campbell nearly brought his team back on level terms with a low strike, but Van Stappershoef reacted with a fine save to preserve the score line.
The Stones made a promising start to the second half as Obiero burst through on goal and was brought down on the edge of the box by Harries, with Ashley Charles curling the resultant free-kick just wide.
Four minutes later, the home side were close to generating another goal as Stokes surged forward and slipped through Barham, but Ward produced a smart stop.
Aldershot Town duly increased their lead in the 54th minute when Barham broke with pace and his strike was well-saved by Ward, but Stokes was on hand to convert home with a clinical rebound.
On the hour mark, the Stones were close to pulling a goal back after a dangerous cross found Nathan Ferguson, but the Shots managed to clear their lines.
By the 76th minute, the hosts were in cruise control as Tolaj poked the ball through the Wealdstone defence for Stokes to coolly slot under Ward.
However, two minutes later, the Stones reduced the deficit as substitute Adarkwa converted from close range to notch his first goal of the season.
Aldershot Town were then reduced to ten-men when substitute Hady Ghandour had to leave the field through injury after Shots manager Tommy Widdrington had already made all three changes.
With nine minutes of added time, Wealdstone rallied for another goal with Charles Clayden cutting inside from the right wing and curling an effort toward the top corner, but Van Stappershoef tipped the ball over the bar. Resolute defending from the home side saw them make two goal-line clearances in succession from the subsequent corner.
Despite the Stones’ late flurry, the Shots held firm to secure all three points and bring an end to Wealdstone’s unbeaten start to the season.
Wealdstone return to action on Bank Holiday Monday when they entertain Dagenham & Redbridge at the Vale in a 3pm kick-off.
WEALDSTONE: Ward, Cook (c), Barker, Mundle-Smith, Clayden, Charles, Dyer, Kretzschmar (Ferguson 21), Obiero, Olomola (Allarakhia 45), Campbell (Adarkwa 68).
Subs not used: Barrett, Bowen.
Attendance: 1,860 (including 149 Stones fans)
Report by Nicole Cho-Yee