Aldershot Town v Boreham Wood
Tuesday 13rd December 2022, 7.45pm
EBB Stadium, Vanarama National League
With a frozen pitch preventing the Wood from turning out on the weekend against Southend United, they will be looking to begin a winning run after their win over Oldham Athletic with a visit to Hampshire to take on Aldershot Town.
IN FOCUS: ALDERSHOT TOWN
Aldershot Town have spent the bulk of their history in the non-league, but they did enjoy a stint of five successive seasons in League Two more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, a bottom place finish in 2013 saw them return to the Conference and they have had a tough time of it ever since, being on track for a fifth bottom-half finish in a row. This comes after consecutive seasons of hope for the Shots, who twice reached the play-offs only to be knocked out at the eliminator round in 2016/17 and 2017/18, and should have been relegated after the latter if it weren’t for financial problems at Gateshead. They began to regain some control with successful survival campaigns over the last three seasons, and although they have struggled for consistency this time around, come into Tuesday night’s fixture a little more upbeat after tasing just three defeats from their last ten league outings.
The Shots have overseen wholesale changes throughout not only their squad but in the dugout as well, with Mark Molesley being relieved of his duties after a little over a year at the EBB Stadium. Interim boss Terry Brown took over proceedings for a week before academy manager Ross McNeilly was given the job, and took over a side who have had to adapt to a number of arrivals in the summer. This includes Weymouth trio Josh McQuoid, Ollie Harfield and Tyler Cordner along with the likes of Inih Effiong, Frank Vincent and Joe Partington joining from fellow National League clubs, offering experience alongside Ryan Glover, Luca Ashby-Hammond, Faysal Bettache and Ody Alfa who have joined on loan from AFC Bournemouth, Fulham and QPR respectively. Additionally, former Motherwell striker Justin Amaluzor leads the way in the scoring ranks with six goals alongside Effiong, helping to contribute to the Shots’ recent rise up the league table.
LAST TIME OUT
Gateshead 0-2 Aldershot Town
Saturday 3rd December 2022
Vanarama National League
A long journey up north would prove worthwhile as Aldershot Town came out victorious over Gateshead, with goals from Ryan Glover and Justin Amaluzor securing the win on Tyneside.
A positive start saw the Shots produce the first effort of the game with Tommy Willard going close after six minutes, moments before Adam Campbell threatened for their opponents. The first real guilt-edge chance fell to the visitors as a result of their high press which looked to cause all sorts of problems, and saw a deflected cross fall to Glover who shot narrowly wide. This early intensity may have taken a bit out of the Aldershot players who allowed Gateshead who good chances, with Aaron Martin and Owen Bailey both having efforts go amiss. Willard would go close again to breaking the deadlock moments later, but the tempo fell flat as they went into the interval level.
Unlike the first half, it was Gateshead who came out the blocks quickest in the second with Martin blasting over when well-placed after four minutes, and he would soon pay the price as Aldershot took the lead. With Willard wasting a golden chance moments later, Glover made sure he wouldn’t make the same mistake after latching onto Joe Partington’s penetrative pass, calmly slotting the ball home. The hosts grew into the game once more though with Campbell forcing Luca Ashby-Hammond into a low save, but they would find their grasp on proceedings fall further away after Amaluzor doubled the Shots’ advantage with a fantastic strike which caught James Montgomery off-guard. He could have had a second not long after when Effiong’s ball was brilliantly dummied by Frank Vincent into the path of the former Motherwell man but his effort was tame, but his single goal was enough to secure all three points, with Effiong even having a third chalked off in stoppage time before the referee signalled for full time.
Gateshead (A) W0-2
Southend United (H) W2-0
Wrexham (A) L2-0
Maidenhead United (H) L1-2
Torquay United (A) L6-1
Dorking Wanderers (A) W0-3
Indifferent form has plagued Aldershot Town throughout the campaign, but they have finally begun to grow into it since the arrival of Ross McNeilly and have enjoyed their best run so far this season. A third successive win was secured away at Dorking Wanderers with their joint-highest margin of victory, but this was followed up by three consecutive defeats by Torquay United, Maidenhead United and Wrexham, including a 6-1 battering by the former as the Shots were soon brought back down to Earth. However, they have been able to bounce back with another two victories courtesy of goals from Justin Amaluzor along with Corey Jordan and Ryan Glover, to secure successive 2-0 wins over Southend United and Gateshead and ensure they would lose just three times in ten league games.
IN THE DUGOUT: ROSS MCNEILLY
Ross McNeilly is currently enjoying his first managerial job after spells as youth coach at Sunderland and Woking, being appointed as Mark Molesley’s successor in October. The 38-year old joined Aldershot Town in 2017 and spent five years as a youth coach at the EBB Stadium, before taking on an interim role following the dismissal of Molesley with the Shots languishing near the relegation zone, and was tasked with picking up the pieces alongside Terry Brown who took charge of the team for a week, winning both of his games against York City and Yeovil Town before reverting back to his previous role within the club as Head of Football Operations. McNeilly has since contributed to an improved run of form, guiding them to five wins from eight games and was subsequently named their permanent boss until the end of the season last week, with a view to extend.
ONE TO WATCH: TYLER CORDNER
AFC Bournemouth academy product Tyler Cordner has gone from strength to strength since moving to Aldershot Town in the summer, and has played more times than anyone else alongside Ollie Harfield. Born in Southampton, he remained on the South Coast for much of his early career and joined Havant & Waterlooville on loan where he played 34 times during the 2018/19 season, before moving around the country over the next few years. Further loan spells at Ebbsfleet United, Scunthorpe United and Southend United saw the defender rack up a further 52 career appearances before departing Dean Court without playing a senior game, and joined National League side Weymouth following their promotion from the National League South. Although he was unable to prevent them from sliding straight back into the sixth tier despite scoring three times in 41 games, he found himself remaining at the highest level of non-league football after Aldershot announced his arrival on a two-year deal, and the 24-year old is the Shots’ second highest scorer behind Inih Effiong and Justin Amaluzor with five goals from defence. He has missed just four games this season, but has played 90 minutes every time he has appeared.
LAST TIME WE MET
Boreham Wood 1-2 Aldershot Town
Tuesday 16th August 2022
Vanarama National League
An entertaining evening at the LV BET Stadium Meadow Park saw the Wood fall to their first defeat of the season, as George Williams’ late free kick would prove to be a consolation due to earlier strikes from Justin Amulazor and Ryan Glover.
A more attacking setup saw the hosts boss the possession early on with Danny Elliott shooting wide of Luca Ashby-Hammond’s goal after three minutes, with Tyrone Marsh going even closer when Zak Brunt’s free kick caused confusion in the Shots’ defence. However the visitors took the lead against the run of play after 14 minutes when Amaluzor combined with Inih Effiong to break the deadlock via deflection off Will Evans, which wrong-footed Nathan Ashmore. The Wood responded well with Marsh immediately having a shot deflected wide before firing over from the resulting corner, and they nearly did equalise in fortuitous fashion when Ashby-Hammond spilled Dennon Lewis’ cross before recovering. Jack Payne and Érico Sousa both went close as the hosts continued to push for a leveller, but they were unable to make the scoreline even before the referee called an end to the first half.
The Wood again dominated possession during the early stages of the second half and went close after seven minutes when Jamal Fyfield volleyed over the crossbar, although Glover almost made him pay moments later when he fired wide. However, the former AFC Bournemouth man soon doubled their lead again against the run of play, being in the right place to double the Shots’ lead after Josh McQuoid’s rasping shot cannoned of the post. The goal stunned the hosts who took a while to get going again, and the dangerous Glover forced Ashmore into a good save as he looked to take advantage. From then on it was all Boreham Wood though, with Lee Ndlovu causing havoc with two efforts in quick succession before Lewis somehow missed a golden opportunity. Williams was able to pull a goal back right at the death to restore hope for the Wood with a fantastic free kick, but this would prove too little too late for Luke Garrard’s men. They continued to apply pressure and almost drew level, but with chances for Ndlovu and David Stephens going amiss the Shots were able to hold out for the three points.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? INIH EFFIONG
Experienced forward Inih Effiong has been around the block having turned out for 20 different clubs throughout his career, and it is the Wood who started it all off for the now 31-year old. A graduate of the St Albans City academy, Effiong made the short move to Boreham Wood ahead of the 2009/10 season in search of game time, and managed to feature 15 times at the age of 19 making him another success story of the club’s PASE Academy. He would return to Clarence Park in 2010 where he went on to register 14 goals in 41 appearances, but his impressive form caught the eye of former club Wood who announced his return to Meadow Park ahead of the 2011/12 season. He would enjoy a positive pre-season as he looked to made his mark on the team despite still being in the early stages of his career and began the season well, going on to make a further 33 appearances for the club. However, he was unable to adapt and soon fell out of favour, making the switch to Chesham United on loan with the move eventually being made permanent. Effiong would go on to carve a successful career at non-league level though with more than 100 goals to his name in nearly 500 appearances, and he added Aldershot Town to his long list of clubs in the summer where he is currently the club’s joint-top scorer, with six goals so far this season.