Aldershot Senior Cup Second Round
British Army 7
(Matt Glass, Aiden Kirby x4, Luke Noble, Ryan Paddock)
Fleet Spurs 1
Attendance: 43 (approx. headcount)
Aldershot Military Stadium
Tonight was a new ground, and an obscure one at that. Normally I wouldn’t drive an hour in the car to get to an Aldershot Senior Cup tie. However nature of the home side had me rethinking my Tuesday evening.
From basic knowledge I don’t think the British Army play many competitive fixtures, so a home draw against Fleet Spurs was a decent opportunity for me to add their home stadium to my already vast list of football grounds.
Once I had found a parking space, the first thing you see on entry to the Aldershot Military Ground is the running track and the really bright floodlights.
The seated stand is impressive, regardless of the support beams that obscure the view slightly, for what it is, a military sports arena, the seated area is very nice, whether you’re watching the football or athletics, I’m sure a big army crowd could cause quite the atmosphere for the right occasion. The stand was quoted to me as ‘reminiscent of an old school northern football stand with the sloped roof’.
I instantly walked to the back of the stand, but with the running track added, I felt a little too far away from the pitch so I went and sat on the front row, still raised above ground level but as close as I good get without standing.
Apart from the main stand, to watch the game you would have to stand on the running track around the pitch.
There was a bar area serving cold drinks and snacks with a few trophy cabinets showcasing awards for various military sports, with the rugby stadium the neighbouring the football pitch, the club house clearly serves the whole complex.
The British Army progressed to the next round of the Aldershot Senior Cup with a thumping 7-1 victory over Wessex Division One outfit Fleet Spurs.
The Army hit six, first half goals to put the game to bed after 45 minutes before adding another after the break.
Spurs had very little to offer in attack and were gifted a consolation goal just before half time but it was already too late for a comeback.
The hosts had a few wayward shots at goal through Matt Glass and Josh Hughes before Lance corporal Glass opened the scoring on 14 minutes when he slotted under ‘keeper Mark Appleby after latching onto a ball over the top from Mike Williams.
Spurs were struggling to get out of their own half as the Army attacked more and Appleby had to be alert to tip away Corporal Jason Silver’s cross.
Simon Bell’s Army side made it 2-0 on 25 minutes when Aiden Kirby volleyed in from close range as Luke Noble showed great strength to shrug off the full back and supply the assist.
Hughes nearly made it three when he got a faint touch to Silver’s cross as the Spurs defence was non-existent for the majority of the opening 30 minutes.
Aiden Kirby grabbed his first and the home side’s third of the night when he tapped in at the far post from a quality low cross from Silver.
Two minutes later, the Army added a fourth through Noble who scored the pick of the bunch with a lovely curling effort from the edge of the box into the top corner out of Appleby’s reach. Appleby had scuffed his clearance in the build up to the goal and Silver cut inside, feeding the ball to Noble to dispatch the shot.
Spurs had created nothing and the game was put to bed when the fifth goal went in, meaning the Army had netted three in a mad four-minute spell. Glass had done excellently to weave into the box and fire a shot away but Appleby was helpless when his strong hand saved the first shot but Kirby was in the right place to tap in the rebound to complete his hat trick.
Fleet did have there first shot of the game through defender Chris Rose who found himself with space in the box to cut inside and shoot, but Army ‘keeper Luke Cairney was alert to deflect the ball away from goal.
The visitors did manage a goal on 43 minutes when Dan Bone beats the offside trap and has all the time in the world to slot the ball under Cairney for a consolation.
As the half came to a close, there was still time for the Army to grab a sixth Spurs failed to clear from a corner and Kirby netted his fourth of the night from inside the area.
The Army took the interval as a chance to make two changes, giving substitute ‘keeper Karl Dean a run out as well as Graham Williams.
Peter Williams nearly added a seventh early after the restart when he hit a sweet half volley which Appleby had to tip over the bar and from the resulting corner, defender Lance corporal Paddock headed in to make it 7-1, just as Spurs made their only substitute as player-manager Sam Knowles came on for the final 35 minutes.
The game was just a formality for the home side as they secured their place in the next round and some wayward shooting brought a dull end to a high scoring opening hour of play.
2016/17 Games: 51
2016/17 Grounds: 42
Total Grounds Visited: 177