With Riverside sitting top of the Southern Premier League this was always going to be a good game with both teams going well over the last couple of weeks.
Riverside started the strongest and tried to press onto the Shots, but they were being matched everywhere on the pitch. Shepherd and North were making it hard for the Riverside in the midfield area. Riverside tried to launch the ball over the Shots back line, but Grover and Coles snuffed out the threat straight away. The Shots forward line of Hann and Wallman were battling hard to make any chances, but the last defender was always on hand to cover. Riverside caused a few problems and Calder was called into action on the 34th minute, where she made a point-blank save and Grover and Coles cleared the ball of the goal line.
The Shots kept pressing and managed to get the ball wide on a number of occasions. One chance saw Shepherd receive the ball out wide on the left and crossed the ball behind the back four. McDonald broke free from her marker, tried to control the ball, but couldn't get her shot in before the Riverside defender closed her down.
In the second half Riverside pressed again but the danger was always cleared from the defence. Riverside won a number of corners, but Coles was always there to clear the threat.
The game was becoming stretched as each team was looking to finish off the tie. Indeed at the death, Riverside made a final assault on the goal, requiring the quick reactions of Calder, but the shot was only deflected into the path of another Riverside player, for her to slam it into the net. The home side thought they had won it, only for them to see the offside flag raised on the far side.
At 90 minutes, the score was 0-0. The referee decided to play extra time. But the light was fading fast. The pitch was lit up a couple of times by the aircraft taking off from Southampton airport. The extra-time period seem to have come at a bad time for the Shots and never really got going again. Within the first 60 seconds of extra-time, the ball was played over the Shots defence for a Riverside player to race onto it and put the ball past Calder in the goal. 0-1.
The Shots tried to put some more pressure on Riverside by changing their formation, and created a couple of chances but could not make anything count. The Shots defence was caught out on the 93rd minute, when the ball came through the Shots defence and again the Riverside player reacted the better to put it into the net.
In the second half, the game became a lottery with the light fading and along with it, Aldershot's hopes of pulling level. With 8 minutes to go, Riverside finished off the game scoring from outside the box to make it 3-0.
"I thought the players gave a great account of themselves over the 90 minutes and if it had been a league game I would have taken that. We seem to be caught cold in extra time and Riverside punished us for that. We have to meet them three more times in the cup and league. The quality of football played by both sides were at a high standard, I just hope we keep our standards up after the disappointment of going out off the cup. Myself and Jamie will get the team focussed again for next week's match.
I was very disappointed with the Hampshire FA aptitude over kick off times, at the end off the day we should have kicked off earlier as we all have make sure we play in a safe environment, and Sunday's game in extra time wasn't, due to the light.
"Having been narrowly beaten by Riverside in the cup last season and with them currently sitting top of the table we knew before kick off that this would be a close match, and close it was!
It was, as expected a very physical match with the Aldershot players holding their own, with every player battling hard all over the pitch and we made it very difficult for Riverside to create themselves any clear cut chances.
We managed to create a couple of half-chances ourselves, but just couldn't get that final touch and we had to clear the ball off the line at one stage but went into the half-time break full of confidence that we could go on and get a result.
The second half was pretty much a mirror of the first with some strong tackles being made by both teams. The two teams were so evenly matched throughout the game it inevitably went into extra time, although we were rapidly losing light! Riverside scored within a couple of minutes of the restart and our heads just dropped. We changed our formation but still could not find the back of the net. The final result does flatter Riverside as we held our own but just couldn't get that all important first goal."
Calder, Smith (Ireland 87"), Giberson, Coles (Meredith 91"), Grover, McDonald, North ©, Wallman, Hann, C. Shepherd, D. Shepherd (Funnell 45").
UPCOMING FIXTURES (all 2pm kick off)
Reading Ladies, SRPL, Home, 2nd Dec 07
Riverside Strikers, SRL Cup, Home, 13th Dec 07
More information available at www.aldershotladies.co.uk