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Match Reports

Aldershot 2-1 Notts

Wootton goal not enough in Hampshire

23 November 2019

Kyle Wootton's seventh goal of the season couldn't prevent us from slipping to a 2-1 defeat on a damp day at Aldershot.

The forward restored parity with an instinctive finish in the first half after Mohamed Bettamer's excellent header had put the hosts ahead.

But Alfy Whittingham put Shots ahead once again before the interval, consigning us to back-to-back defeats despite several near misses after the break.

Neal Ardley gave the starting XI that faced Barrow the opportunity to atone for the 3-0 loss by selecting the same line-up in Hampshire.

That meant Sean Shields had to once again settle for a place on the bench alongside Kristian Dennis, Nathan Tyson, Dion Kelly-Evans and Zoumana Bakayogo.

There wasn't much to choose between the teams in the early exchanges as we had to wait until the 11th minute to produce our first meaningful attempt.

It came via Damien McCrory, who controlled a looped pass from his left-side partner Regan Booty before a flashing a low shot goalwards from a tight angle. An Aldershot defender managed to get in the way of the ball.

The Irish full-back was involved in an attacking sense again shortly afterwards, doing brilliantly to pick out Wes Thomas with a cushioned first-time pass.

As the forward progressed towards goal, Wootton appealed for the ball in space but, with defenders closing in, Thomas opted to shoot. Mitch Walker managed to bundle the ball behind from between the Shots sticks.

Mitch Rose entered the book for a foul on 21 minutes and, six minutes later, the hosts had the lead against the run of play.

It looked like the opportunity had passed after Connor Shields was released into the area by a perfectly-weighted through ball, only for Sam Slocombe to race off his line and stand firm to block his shot.

The ball came back out to Aldershot, however, and Bettamer was the recipient of a perfect outswinging cross which he headed home expertly.

It didn't take long for us to level, though, and it came in the form of an instinctive finish by Wootton.

Michael Doyle had the initial shot from outside the area, fizzing the ball along the slick turf under the damp, gloomy Hampshire skies.

And the Scunthorpe loanee was on hand to divert the ball beyond the helpless Walker before the keeper had time to react.

But a topsy-turvey end to the first half finished with the hosts ahead.

We were the masters of our own downfall this time as Ben Turner received a goal kick from Slocombe before playing a short pass to Doyle, who was facing his own goal deep inside our territory.

Whittingham was straight on to him and capitalised on the skipper's heavy touch to nip around him and finish low past Slocombe.

There were no changes for either side at the break but we nearly altered the scoreline in our favour shortly after the restart when Rose's long throw prompted a scramble in the area.

The skirmish resulted in Wootton having a stab at goal but the ball ran wide of the target and Walker was able to get hold of it.

We then carved our hosts open when Booty released McCrory to the byline with an incisive pass. His low cross was met by Thomas at the near post but the forward could only flick it high and wide with the outside of his boot from a difficult angle.

Aldershot's goal was leading a charmed life as we surged forward once more without success. The latest opportunity came when Turner's defensive header from a goal kick was forceful enough to send Thomas racing into the penalty area from a wide angle.

His shot was pushed away by Walker and Wootton slid in to try and turn the ball home. His effort was actually going wide but a Shots defender inadvertantly kept the ball in, presenting Doyle with the opportunity to bag his first goal for us.

Somehow, though, a combination of Robbie Tinkler and Walker managed to keep the midfielder's effort out at the near post.

Aldershot reminded us of their own threat shortly before the hour as Ethan Chislett fired a shot wide from the edge of the area.

The rain was now pouring as darkness closed in at the EBB Stadium and Turner was next in the book for a robust challenge on Shots man Shields - and Richard Brindley soon followed after fouling Chislett.

The subsequent free-kick nearly resulted in the hosts' third goal as Bettamer got his head on the cross to loop the ball goalwards. With Slocombe stranded, Rawlinson had to slide in to clear the ball off the line.

Ardley opted for a double switch with quarter of an hour to play, with our own Shields joining Dennis in entering the fray.

Boldewijn and Rose made way and Tyson took the place of Thomas shortly afterwards.

It felt like our chance to equalise had been and gone early in the second half, though, with the hosts limiting us to very little attacking threat as time ticked by.

And so it proved as the rest of the match passed without further goalmouth action.

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