Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United V Aldershot – FA Trophy 1st Round
Date: Saturday 14th December 2019
Torquay United’s FA Trophy record over the last 5 years:
2014-15: Semi finalists – Wrexham – Lost 1-5 on aggregate
2015-16: Quarter finalists – Bognor Regis (A) – Lost 0-1
2016-17: First round – Braintree Town (A) – Lost 0-2
2017-18: First round – Maidstone United (H) – Lost 0-4
2018-19: First round – Boreham Wood (A) – Lost 1-3 (after extra time)
Last time the two teams met: National League, Torquay United 2 Aldershot Town 0 – 24th August 19
Under the bright lights of the BT Sport cameras, Torquay United made it back-to-back wins for the first time in the 2019-20 season to move up to 7th place with victory over Aldershot Town.
The Gulls made the brighter start as Armani Little and Connor Lemonheigh-Evans both threatened in the opening minutes. The closest that the Shots came to finding an opener came in the 20th minute, when Shamir Mullings connected with an Alefe Santos cross and forced a routine save from Gulls keeper Lucas Covolan.
On 30 minutes, Opi Edwards made a dangerous run down the right flank and went down under a challenge, but regained his footing to pick out Jake Andrews who then shot wide. On the stroke of half-time Jamie Reid gave United the lead as he received the ball from 25-yards out, took a delicious touch and turned before drilling a low drive past Walker to score his fourth of the campaign.
In the 51st minute, the Gulls added their second as a shot from Kalvin Kalala was deflected into the path of Edwards, who calmly slotted home his second goal of the season.
Aldershot came close to reducing their arrears on 53 minutes when Mullings tested Covolan with a shot on the turn, which the Brazilian gathered at the second attempt. On the hour mark, the Gulls were denied a third when Kalala set up Andrews for a close range effort but he was denied by an off-the-line clearance from Shots left-back Lewis Kinsella. It didn’t matter as United saw out the game to make it two wins on the bounce.
Manager: Danny Searle
Danny Searle was appointed as Aldershot Town manager in the summer of 2019 after a short spell in charge of Braintree Town. Whilst in charge of Braintree, Searle, 41, who is a UEFA Pro Licence holder, oversaw an upturn in the Irons form after replacing Maidstone United bound Hakan Hayrettin in January 2019, which saw them beat both Salford City and AFC Fylde and draw with Leyton Orient. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to stop Braintree from making an immediate return to National League South. Searle has also coached at the academies of Chelsea, Charlton Athletic, Southend United and West Ham United.
One to watch: Alfy Whittingham
The son of former Portsmouth, Aston Villa and Sheffield Wednesday striker Guy Whittingham, Alfy Whittingham joined Aldershot in the summer from National League South outfit Hungerford Town and is already making a name for himself. Whittingham junior, 21, is currently playing for the Shots on an expenses only basis and has found the back of the net twice already this season – including the winning goal in Aldershot’s 2-1 victory over Notts County last month.
Classic encounter: League Two, Torquay United 4 Aldershot Town 3 – 2nd October 12
Rene Howe’s late winner completed a remarkable turnaround as the Gulls fought back to claim a memorable win against Aldershot. All this after a Craig Reid hat-trick had put the visitors 3-0 up, after he steered home Alex Rodman’s free-kick, converted a penalty and struck from close range.
The Shots looked to be heading for victory when Reid gave them the lead, before he doubled their advantage by scoring a penalty after Joe Oastler fouled Danny Hylton in the box.
But, after Reid completed his hat-trick, the hosts immediately began their fightback through Billy Bodin’s close-range effort before Ryan Jarvis slid home to make it 3-2. Ashley Yeoman then headed United level when he connected with Lee Mansell’s cross in the 84th minute.
But there was still time for a glorious finale as Rene Howe scored his seventh of this season on 89 minutes to secured the three points for United in incredible fashion.
TUFC Line-up – Poke, Nicholson, Oastler, Saah, Downes, Mansell, Craig, Thompson (Yeoman 81), Bodin, Stevens (Jarvis 67), Howe
Ben Wynter – Robbie Cundy- Kyle Cameron – Joe Lewis
Matt Buse – Lloyd James
Amrit Bansal-McNulty – Ben Whitfield – Jake Andrews
Alex Finney – Myles Anderson – Max Hunt
Robbie Tinkler – Jack Powell – Dean Rance – Alfy Whittingham – Lewis Kinsella
Lewis Walker – Harry Panayiotou
COYY – Steve