Aldershot Town 1 Harriers 0
Venue: Recreation Ground
away fans: 107
Bottom club blues again
For the third time in as many weeks the Harriers lost out to the team that occupy the bottom slot in this League but this time they at least turned in a credible performance and could easily have won the game if Lady Luck had had been a bit more free and easy with her favours and if we had kept the ball on the ground a bit more.
On what seemed like a late summers day but was in fact mid October the Harriers lined up with basically the same team that beat Morecambe last weekend with the exception of Michael Blackwood. He failed to make the game after suffering a return of his hamstring problems during the week so Stuart Watkiss replaced him with Simon Heslop.
It was Heslop who was to miss the easiest chance to score that he will ever have and one wonders that if he had scored would we have finally lost the game.
It stemmed from an initial shot from Iyseden Christie that was pushed away by Nikki Bull in the Shots goal. The ball fell for Gareth Sheldon who passed it un-selfishly to the better placed Heslop but, with an empty goal at his mercy, he blasted it over the bar from just six yards out.
The Harriers went on to dominate the game with Christie continually in the thick of things but for some reason the ball failed to run for us or was it that we had again drifted into the hoofball of previous weeks.
Aldershot had their chances to re-gain equality but most of their shots were coming from long range and never really troubled the Harriers custodian, John Danby.
HT: 0 - 0
Aldershot made a change to their line up at the re-start with Ryan Scott replacing Ahmed Deen and their game improved accordingly without actually creating any scoring chances.
Simon Heslop had a long range effort and beat the Shots keeper but the ball landed on top of the net. Nick Crittenden also had a good opportunity to score for his side but he blasted well over.
Against the run of play Aldershot scored and, again, the fault must lie with our defence. With the home side staging a rare attack our defenders went on extended leave and left Gary Holloway all alone in the area. Andre Boucaud played the ball through to him and, taking it in his stride, sent in stinging shot on goal where Danby could only parry it onto the head of Tim Sills who, in turn, headed it onto Omari Colemans head.
The Lincoln City loanee made no mistake in sending the ball into the net even though Wayne Hatswell was guarding the line.
To their credit the Harriers heads didn't drop but the effort to get anything from the game wasn't really there and they gave the impression that they felt that they had done enough. Stuart Watkiss made some changes to counteract that by sending on Atieno on for Simon Russell and later Lee Thompson for Evans and Laurie Wilson for the tiring O'Connor.
Christie then had a great chance to score but his powerful shot, following a breakaway from the Shots defenders, was pushed onto the post by the keeper.
On seventy five minutes Christie was brought down on the edge of the Aldershot box in a pincer movement from two Shots defenders. With Christie clear on goal and a scoring possibility denied the referee had no choice than to show the red to Darren Barnard even though it could easily have been issued to the other player too.
The Harriers were now one man to the good and any normal fan would expect them to take the game to Aldershot but the home side had a quick change round, bought some subs on and then pulled all eleven men back into defence. Gareth Sheldon had the best chance of the remainder of the game but his shot went way over the bar when he should really have done better with the chance.
With time running out both sides could have scored in the dying seconds. First Sills hit the bar from twenty five yards out and then Atieno had a header that went just wide as the whistle blew for full time.
So we still cannot beat teams at the bottom of the League and thankfully for us we won't be playing Burton or Scarborough just yet. Tuesday will give us a rest from the cut and thrust of Conference football because we'll be entertaining one of the Football Leagues big boys in the LDV Trophy, our old friend Darlington.
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