Sutton suffered a first defeat of this pre-season schedule, and conceded goals for the first time, as Aldershot recovered from gifting U’s an early goal to come from behind and win 2-1.
U’s began brightly, kicking towards the impressive stand behind the goal at Cherrywood Road, and took an early lead when the pressure on the ball so evident from last season brought dividend when Alfie Saunders played a blind pass back to goalkeeper Mitch Walker from the right back area but failed to spot Omar Bugiel standing unmarked and with time to turn the ball smartly past Walker.
Donovan Wilson had a half chance eight yards out but the ball wouldn’t sit kindly for him and allowed a defender to block his shot for a corner. Almost immediately the Shots went down the other end for the first time and it needed a great tackle by Coby Rowe to send the ball out for a corner. A lot of play was in the middle areas but it was nearly always the U’s on the front foot and when a quick throw found Wilson by the right-hand corner flag he was able to cut inside and deliver a dangerous cross that was cut out at the near post as Bugiel lurked to pounce.
Wilson again came close in the 28th minute but was thwarted by a solid last-minute block after jinking onto his left foot. Alistair Smith then brought a good low save out of Walker with a 25-yard drive before Bugiel set up Wilson again only for the striker to see his shot slide a couple of inches wide. As the first half started to draw to a close Boldewijn crossed from the right and Korboa volleyed over the bar when well placed.
U’s seemed to switch off a bit after the break, they were still creating chances going forward but Aldershot seems to take more control of the midfield. The equaliser came after 59 minutes when new signing Corie Andrews headed home unmarked from Lewis Kinsella’s left wing cross. David Ajiboye put in a good cross from the right that Walker could only push out as far as Wilson but the striker will be disappointed at not burying his chance and allowing the keeper to turn his effort round the post. A couple of minutes later Ajiboye was really unlucky not to restore the lead with a brilliant 25-yard volley from a ball dropping from on high but Walker made a top save, Bugiel netting the rebound but flagged offside.
U’s made a mass of changes on 73 minutes and that disruption maybe led to a poor challenge by one of the substitutes, a triallist, who conceded a penalty with a rash challenge and it was put away by Alfie Whittingham even though House dived the right way. With eight minutes to go the lively Richie Bennett looped a header just over the bar from a left wing cross and then a clever Ajiboye dummy gave Harry Beautyman time to shoot from the edge of the penalty area but his shot was six inches wide of the post as Shots held out for a victory.
Team: B House, J Barden(sub J Kizzi 60), Triallist A (sub Triallist B H-T), C Rowe(sub Triallist C 73), B Goodliffe(sub L John 73), C Eastmond(sub R Milsom 73), E Boldewijn(sub R Bennett 73), A Smith(sub B Wyatt 73), O Bugiel, D Wilson(sub K Kouassi 71), R Korboa (sub D Ajiboye 60)