A fairly unsettled start saw Andy Scott’s side given a tough beginning at the Recreation Ground on Saturday afternoon and the naivety of the sides hastily cobbled together squad finally reared its head and gifted the visitors a goal out of nothing.
Having made a couple of early saves, disaster struck on the 11-minute mark, when the visitors placed an innocent ball in to the six yard box which found its way into the back of the net through nothing more than a lack of communication.
As the ball came in, Glenn Morris and Joe Oastler – the only players anywhere near to the ball, failed to commit and by the time Oastler decided to take matters in to his own hands, he could only watch with everyone else in the stadium as he steered his header passed Morris to gift the vistors – who had for the most part, been the better side, a goal which nobody was expecting.
The blunder was a great test of character for the Aldershot men and two-minutes later they managed to rise to the challenge when Nathan Arnold deserved to put his side two up with a fantastic effort but Morris managed to keep the effort out and make up for the earlier error.
On 26 minutes, Rory McAuley picked up knock which saw him needing to be replaced and on came Liam Hughes .
Cambridge continued to look the more positive side, but to Aldershot’s credit, they managed to find an answer for everything that Cambridge were throwing at them – which was pleasing to see.
In truth, the home side needed to make it to the interval without conceding a second and there was much relief when referee Bromley finally blew his whistle so as the side could get back in to the dressing room in an attempt to re-group.
HALF TIME: Aldershot Town 0 Cambridge United 1
With scores elsewhere in the league putting United top of the “live” table, the second half saw Scott changing Matt Paterson for Luke Wickham and the home side opened the half very lively with Mark Moseley coming close in the opening seconds and this buoyed the East Bank back in to action.
Indecision in the United defence gifted Aldershot a corner soon after and after picking up the resulting in-swinging ball, Wickham’s effort managed to fool a quarter of the stadium who thought the side had levelled, but his effort only managed to find the side netting.
For all their possession, The Shots failed to test Chris Maxwell for the first hour of the game and that run continued when Martin Rowlands failed to provide a decent cross when The Shots were awarded two corners in quick succession but Craig Stanley came close with a shot on 62 minutes, but the ball was aimed straight at Maxwell who saved with ease.
The home side continued to press and Stanley had a half chance in front of the East Bank with 64 minutes on the clock but again, the captain was left frustrated with his effort, but the signs were positive and there was a real sense that they were just about still in the game.
As the game continued the Shots continued with their work rate, but the visitors remained resolute.
Moseley made was for Jordan Roberts with 75 minutes on the clock and a minute later Brett Williams received a booking for what appeared to be a heavy use of his arm on Hughes, as The Shots continued to be frustrated by their opposition.
With six-minutes to go, the frustration had spread all around the stadium when Jake Goodman tugged the shirt of Ryan Donaldson who had burst away from him in to the Shots penalty area and disappointingly, the U’s player fell to the floor with a little too much ease.
Bromley, pointed to the spot and Donaldson stepped up to take, what can only be described as the worst penalty ever taken at the Recreation Ground and the ball when rocketing off towards the trees at the High Street End of the ground – perhaps with a sense of justice.
A minute later, Cameron Brown entered the field of play for Chris Baker and the home side continued to look to salvage something from the match, however the visitors began to hit the deck at every opportunity to kill the play and take the sting out of every Aldershot threat.
With the side continuing to press, the side remained 1-0 down it was evident that the side were going to taste the first defeat of the season but it was a real honest effort and just a fluke own-goal which ultimately sealed their fate on the day.
FULL TIME: Aldershot Town 0 Cambridge United 1
Aldershot Town: Morris, Oastler, Goodman, Webster, Barker (85 min for Brown), Rowlands, Stanley ©, Oyeleke, Molesley (74 mins for Roberts), Williams, Paterson (45 min for Wickham).
Subs: Wickham (45 min), Brown (85 min), Roberts (74 min), Douglas, L Williams.
Cambridge United: Maxwell, Tait, McAuley + (26 min for Hughes), Miller, Taylor, Donaldson, Champion, Berry, Dunk, Arnold and Sam-York.
Subs: Norris, Cunningham, Austin, Hughes (26 min) and Allen.
Referee: Adam Bromley.