A bizarre own goal propelled Aldershot towards victory, as Tom Lunn reports.
Aldershot secured an impressive, if slightly fortunate win against Sutton – this season’s unlikely stars of the FA Cup, for whom the hard reality of non-league football was laid bare.
United started the more convincingly with the majority of the attacking play in the first 15 minutes,, pressing on the changed defence of the Shots.
Sutton were nearly awarded for their added pressure early in the half, when Adam Coombes was through on goal, but Jake Cole did well and managed to get a foot to the ball.
That seemed to prompt Aldershot who went straight up the other end to enjoy their first prolonged spell of attacking play. Notably, they looked to worry the U’s defence with continued threatening play in the box.
The formations and set-up of both teams were evident to create an end-to-end game as an attacking minded line up for Aldershot looked to get in behind Sutton’s defence.
With set-pieces galore for United, they continued to be the most dangerous side and after another corner on the right, Coombs found a stray ball less than six yards out.
The volley was well blocked with Cole again needing quick reactions to get his body in the way.
Will Evans was later booked for conceding yet another free-kick, keeping the attacking play in Sutton’s favour. They continued to looked dangerous with Roarie Deacon’s pace and Coombs’ attacking runs in behind the defence.
The pace on the wings from Aldershot though paved the way for Town to counter attack.
Great play going forward saw Idris Kanu latch onto a through ball and go one-on-one.
His shot was saved strongly, and the stray ball created a mix up in Suttons’ defence and eventually found the net.
The bizarre opener had to go down as Will Puddy’s own goal after a clearance struck his body and found the empty net to give Town the lead just before half time.
Aldershot looked the more dangerous in contrast to the first half. Rendell nearly found the target with a header after a short corner was fizzed in from the left, but he couldn’t find the connection and it went out for a throw in.
The U’s main chance in the second came when they managed to bundle through one-on-one again but Keiron Cadogan’s effort went wide with over 20 minutes to go.
Bernard Mensah strongly attacked the box on a couple of occasions, in the 72nd minute he won a free kick just outside the box on the left.
Kundai Benyu’s effort went over the wall but was saved well by Puddy who got hands to it to concede a corner.
With less than 10 minutes to go Sutton tried to find their way in but couldn’t find a clear opportunity.
In the last few minutes, Aldershot looked to see out the lead until the end. Via fantastic play in the build up by Anthony Straker the Shot’s attack were able to line up in the box.
The ball eventually found its way to Bernard Mensah and with plenty of time, he guided it past Puddy, finding the bottom left to secure a very important win for the Shots.
A big win continues the Shots’ push for a play off place, and their promising form remains with just eight games to go.