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Match Report

 

Posted Tue 20 Jan 15 at 22:45 PM

REPORT: ALDERSHOT TOWN 0 HARRIERS 1

Jack Byrne’s sumptuous second-half strike handed Harriers their first ever victory over Aldershot Town to move back into the play-off spots.

Byrne’s fifth league goal of the season rounded off a fantastically fought away performance by Harriers to seal a fourth successive victory on the road and send them into fifth place.

Gary Whild made three changes to the side which lost 2-0 at Macclesfield as Danny Wright and Aaron Wildig were handed their Harriers debuts after joining this week, at the expense of Jake Green and Kyle Storer.

There was also a change in between the sticks as Jaz Singh stepped up for his second Harriers debut, the ‘keeper making his first appearance for the club since re-signing last summer after an initial spell back in 2010.

Aldershot gave four home debuts to various new additions but made just one change from their 3-0 defeat to Lincoln City as Jim Stevenson, who joined on loan from Luton Town this week, replaced Sam Hatton in the starting XI.

Byrne sent the 59 travelling Harriers fans wild after giving his side a deserved lead on the 74th minute.

From Aman Verma’s pass, Byrne unleashed a beautifully-hit curling strike from outside the area which found the top corner and left ‘keeper Phil Smith helpless.

Harriers had almost broken the deadlock mere moments earlier after substitute Akwasi Asante had a glorious chance to score his first goal for the club.

Marvin Johnson embarked on a trademark surge down the left flank and spotted Asante at the far post but the ball got stuck under the striker’s feet and he couldn’t quite send it over the line from yards out.

Harriers battled hard at both ends to keep their first clean sheet since the 2-0 victory at Grimsby Town and find the net after drawing blanks in both previous home fixtures.

Wildig and Wright looked impressive on their first Harriers appearances and Wright in particular offered Harriers a menacing presence up front.

He almost bagged a debut goal after only 16 minutes after Johnson had lead a counter-attack and picked out his team-mate with a delightful through ball.

The striker cut inside and attempted to curl a low shot around the scrambling Smith, but his effort rolled inches wide, although he argued his case for a corner-kick.

Verma tried his luck with a header sixty seconds later from another Johnson delivery but could only craft a tricky backwards nod wide from the winger’s pinpoint but rather heavily-hit right-sided cross.

The Shots threatened early on and Singh was called into action after only three minutes, stooping to his near post to keep out an angled Danny East effort, before Joe Oastler rattled the underside of the crossbar with a rising shot from the subsequent corner.

Byrne hacked clear a Ryan Jarvis flick-on from East’s left-sided ball, before later on in the half Jordan Roberts surged into the box but couldn’t make his pulled-back pass count and Matt Saunders fired wide.

Aldershot began the second half with an early opportunity as Singh was caught out far away from his area with the hosts counter-attacking, but Jamie Grimes’ solid tackle disarmed Jarvis and quelled the imminent threat.

Both Grimes and Jordan Tunnicliffe were in fine form at the back while the latter also headed wide from a corner at the other end, before Wildig curled a thumping effort from inside the area off-target as Harriers cranked up the pressure.

Kevin Nicholson’s deadly left-sided delivery narrowly evaded the waiting Wright and Keyon Reffell in the box, before Reffell’s corner was nodded only inches past the wrong side of the post by Verma.

As the hour mark approached, Wright forced Smith into a stunningly strong stop, the striker hitting a furious angled strike from the edge of the area before Reffell raced in for the rebound but placed it wide.

Verma then called Smith into action again eight minutes later with a low strike from distance and captain Glenn Wilson had to act quickly to steer the rebound behind with Wright lurking.

Johnson also saw a couple of sweeping low strikes flash agonisingly wide late on as he looked to add to his 10-goal tally this season.

For Aldershot, East hit the side netting after Singh rose to challenge Roberts’ header a few minutes after the hour mark, before Stevenson failed to guide Josh Scott’s loaded volley goalward.

Six minutes before the end, Singh demonstrated his shot-stopping abilities when he denied Roberts’ tricky effort with a firm dive to his left.

A late equaliser for the hosts would have been more than harsh on Harriers, however, after a professional and accomplished away performance by Whild's men harvested a justified victory.

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