The Shots opened the scoring after early pressure, Jim Stevenson’s sweetly hit strike from distance flashing in, and Charlie Walker doubled the advantage moments before the half hour mark.
A goal early in the second half again from Walker looked like it had sealed victory, but Town again refused to be counted out and struck back via Danny Hattersley, who scored his first Shaymen goal since signing permanently earlier this year. David Brooks then cut the deficit to just one with a perfect finish from the edge of the box.
Town came out with two changes from Monday’s first victory, with CJ Hamilton and David Brooks replacing Danny Hattersley and Connor Hughes, the latter pair reverting to the substitute’s bench. Scott McManus returned to the side following injury, though was also amongst the substitute’s with Kevin Roberts keeping his place at left back, with McManus hoping to make his 200th appearance for Town.
Aldershot took the front foot early on and spent time in the Town half, and they forced the first save of the game in spectacular style. Nick Anderton’s curling left footed free-kick was excellently pushed away by Matt Glennon, getting fingertips to keep out the effort five minutes in. The hosts did most of the early running, and Hamza Bencherif had to be on his toes to make a last ditch challenge on Charlie Walker as he bore down on goal.
Hamilton continued his dangerous showing of the last 10 minutes on Monday in this one, and almost centred for Jordan Burrow as Town grew into the tie. A low sighter from Graham Hutchison from 40 or so yards was the first effort on goal for The Shaymen, though it never worried Phil Smith in the Shots goal. Glennon again had to be at his best to deny Anderton, but he was beaten moments later.
Jim Stevenson struck the opener from 25 yards, finding space before lashing a right footed low effort past the despairing dive of Glennon, as Town again had to again fight back from a goal down once again. And one became two on 25 minutes.
Kevin Roberts’ lost possession 30 yards from goal and Charlie Walker side stepped a couple of challenges inside the box before putting a low shot past the reach of Glennon, with Town again conceding a sloppy goal. Kingsley James almost halved the deficit from the kick-off, his superb dipping volley beating Smith but dropping inches wide as Halifax searched for an instant response.
Jordan Burrow went even closer on the half hour mark, rising well to meet Kevin Roberts teasing cross. But the Town top scorer saw his sharp header cannon off the crossbar and behind, Burrow again showing the danger he possesses inside the box.
Despite late first half pressure, Town went in 2-0 down at the break with something of a mountain to climb going into the second 45. Neil Aspin changed things at the break with the introduction of Hattersley and McManus, Town going two up front as they searched for a way back into the game. The pair replaced Graham Hutchison and Tuton, who was injured late in the first half.
But despite the changes, Town conceded the third. A series of errors at the back culminated in a slip by Hamza Bencherif, and Walker scored his second of the afternoon from six yards to effectively seal the game in what looked like an afternoon to forget for Neil Aspin’s squad. In fact he almost completed his hat-trick a minute later, this time taking too long inside Town’s box allowing Roberts to clear as the forward looked set to hit the back of the net.
But Town found a way back into the game in the figure of the towering Hattersley. Without a goal since his permanent signing last January, the substitute turned well inside the box after good interchange between him and Hamilton, and Hattersley struck for the first time in almost a year to give Town hope.
That goal changed the outlook of the game, and Hamilton saw a shot deflected over the top as The Shaymen put together some fluid passing movements. The introduction of Jake Hibbs in place of Danny Racchi saw an extra bite put into the Town midfield, and James Bolton almost cut the deficit to one when he flashed a header wide of goal. Town dominated in spells and the young David Brooks took command in the midfield areas. And the impressive Brooks struck his first goal with seven minutes to play to really change the game.
After Kinglsey James’ went close, Brooks found time on the edge of the box before curling low into Smith’s goal for a frantic final 10 minutes or so. Aldershot did a good job of trying to see out time, mainly through the large figure of Richard Brodie, but Town went forward in numbers when given the opportunity. With five minutes added on at the end, Town camped themselves inside the Shots half in search of that equaliser. But the comeback specialists couldn’t complete the job in this one, with Town going down by three goals to two.
Aldershot Town: Smith, Oliver, Stevenson, C. Walker (Barnes-Homer 80), Alexander, Beckles, Gallagher, Brodie, D. Walker, Anderton, Harris (Lathrope 68)
Substitutes: Saville, Richards, Thomas
Goals: Stevenson (18) Walker (24, 51)
Bookings: Anderton (43)
FC Halifax Town: Glennon, Bolton, James, Hutchison (McManus 46), Bencherif, Burrow, Roberts, Tuton (Hattersley 46), Racchi (Hibbs 60), Brooks, Hamilton
Substitutes: Hughes, Trennery
Goals: Hattersley (60)
Referee: Robert Whitton
Assistants: Neil West, David Spain
Attendance: 1603 (84 Halifax fans)
Official Website Man of the Match: David Brooks