Tuesday 9 August // Vanarama National League // Attendance: 2,355 // Report by Ruth Tunnell
A goal from substitute Bernard Mensah just two minutes from time broke Maidstone United’s resistance after they had battled hard to hold a strong Aldershot side at bay for the majority of this match.
It is hard to recall a first half where the Stones had been under as much pressure that Aldershot subjected them to in recent years. But at the interval, Jay Saunders shored up Maidstone’s midfield by bringing Jack Paxman on for Ben Greenhalgh. The Stones were much more in the game for longer periods after that and they perhaps could be disappointed that their assured defensive performance didn’t see them nick a point.
Maidstone were put under the cosh from the outset and they had Lee Worgan to thank for keeping the scores level before even five minutes had passed. The first flowing move from the Shots came early on when Shamir Fenelon found Matt McClure who turned into space and now only had Worgan to beat. The Maidstone keeper did well to get down to his right to parry McClure’s effort and James Rogers arrived to get the ball clear.
Aldershot kept on coming though and Iffy Allen went for a speculative shot from out towards the left hand touchline but Anthony Acheampong managed to get the ball away as it threatened to drift into the net. Then another excellent move involving Fenelon and McClure ended with McClure firing a curling effort towards goal which Worgan managed to save.
Cheye Alexander then crossed for the unmarked Jake Gallagher whose header deflected wide and Gallagher was involved again on 25 minutes. This time he picked up possession on the edge of the box and it seemed as though he handled the ball as he tricked his way into the area. Gallagher got a shot in which Worgan stopped and then from the follow up, Worgan made another fine save to deny Allen.
Not long past the half hour mark Alexander picked out Fenelon who sent the ball goalwards. Callum Driver was rushing in to try and get the ball away and as he did so he nearly diverted it into the right hand side of the net.
However, after surviving all of that pressure, it could have been the Stones who went in at the break in front. Five minutes before the interval, Alex Flisher put Tom Murphy in on goal but keeper Jake Cole was very quick off his line and he made the block before getting back to comfortably save from Flisher.
Unfortunately for the Stones, Callum Driver had to be substituted early in the second half so Bobby-Joe Taylor moved to right back and Flisher went out onto the wing as Dumebi Dumaka came on up front. It was Dumaka who then put Flisher in down the left and he ran into the area but fired over the bar.
Moments after this, substitute Bernard Mensah showed his pace to get away from Taylor. Mensah delivered a wicked cross which came to Fenelon and Kevin Lokko showed great awareness to block the shot. The Stones immediately raced up the other end with a rapid break of their own and in a similar situation to what Driver had found himself in during the first half, Callum Reynolds nearly turned the ball into his own net as he made the clearance.
As the game moved towards its later stages, Dumaka put Murphy away down the right. The Maidstone winger made decent progress down the wing before driving over a cross which Dumaka reached at the far post but Cole reached up to make a one handed save.
Acheampong then did well to stop a shot from Gallagher who had got into a good position. But with just two minutes remaining, Maidstone’s defence was finally breached. Taylor got caught and Mensah advanced forwards before smashing the ball towards goal. Worgan stuck out a leg but the shot had too much power and it flew into the left hand side of the net to give the Shots all three points.
Aldershot Town: Bernard Mensah 88
Maidstone United: –
Aldershot Town: 1. Jake Cole, 3. Anthony Straker, 4. Liam Bellamy, 6. Jack Saville, 7. Shamir Fenelon (17. Jim Kellerman 90), 9. Scott Rendell (5. Will Evans 89), 10. Matt McClure, 12. Cheye Alexander, 14. Iffy Allen (11. Bernard Mensah 60), 16. Jake Alexander, 22. Callum Reynolds. Subs not used: 2. Nick Arnold, 25. Mark Smith.
Maidstone United: 1. Lee Worgan, 2. Callum Driver (20. Dumebi Dumaka 53), 3. Tom Mills, 5. Kevin Lokko, 6. James Rogers, 8. Dan Sweeney, 11. Alex Flisher, 14. Tom Murphy, 15. Anthony Acheampong, 16. Bobby-Joe Taylor, 17. Ben Greenhalgh (10. Jack Paxman 45). Subs not used: 4. Jamie Coyle, 7. Vas Karagiannis, 12. Jack Evans.
Who was your man of the match against Aldershot Town?
- Anthony Acheampong (31%, 41 Votes)
- Lee Worgan (28%, 37 Votes)
- Kevin Lokko (10%, 14 Votes)
- Callum Driver (8%, 11 Votes)
- Dan Sweeney (5%, 7 Votes)
- Alex Flisher (4%, 5 Votes)
- Jack Paxman (4%, 5 Votes)
- James Rogers (2%, 3 Votes)
- Tom Mills (2%, 3 Votes)
- Bobby-Joe Taylor (2%, 3 Votes)
- Ben Greenhalgh (1%, 2 Votes)
- Dumebi Dumaka (1%, 2 Votes)
- Tom Murphy (1%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 134