Nick Brown took his side to Hale Recreation Ground for this league clash as we were set for our first trip of the new season.
The visitors had the slight downhill advantage in the first half, playing from left to right and its safe to say that the pitch was quite firm, where the ball had a nasty bounce. However, the home side started the brighter of the two sides when a push was spotted just outside of the box by referee Hayler and the subsequent free kick was bending and struck the post.
Some good build-up play from the visitors followed, as Wilson presented the ball into space for Cain Fitzsimons to dart onto through the middle left sector, whose shot was acrobatically palmed behind for a corner. The resulting corner caused no particular threat to Hale as the goalkeeper commanded his area well and collected ahead of Mr Fitzsimons.
There was a feast of action on show in the opening ten minutes, as Hale had another effort on target but Gittoes had to scramble across to desperately tip it over his own crossbar, after McVicker had tracked back well and his well-timed slide was a clean swipe of the ball and safety first, cleared it for a throw-in. Just before, Hale’s number 14 was gifted a shot from just inside the area but standing in between him and getting his name on the scoresheet was Gittoes, who comfortably collected.
By this stage, the hosts were frustrated as two consecutive attacks granded to a halt due to the offside flag but in this time, had two half-decent chances. The first being a player worming his way from a couple of Traco defenders and found the feet of 14, but his half shot was easily scooped up by Gittoes and the latter being a shot which sailed harmlessly wide of the target.
On 25 minutes, according to the ‘boss man’ Nick Brown, Jon Butt “saw his name in Morgan’s headlines” as he skied his spectacular effort.
An inswinging corner was bounced down and left the post rattling. It was soon 1-0 to Hale… 17 shrugged off the incoming pressure of right back McVicker, squared it to 7, who swept it home past an on-rushing Gittoes. The first change for Traco Athletic came in the 30th minute, when Jake Stephens replaced the departing Fitzsimons.
The last ten quite “dragged” until Traco found the equaliser with a “well timed” (cue appeals for offside from the opposition) ball to Wilson by seemingly Chuter (subject to official confirmation, of course). Wilson dashed onto the through ball and fired it into the bottom left hand corner out of the reach of the Hale goalkeeper.
Next, Gittoes’ services were again called into action after having to retreat out of play while in control of the ball to see it the safe side of his right hand post.
2-0 Hale; 9 was fed clean through and had a dip with his effort sailing past the outstretched arm of Gittoes. Mr Fitzsimons was keen to take on the cameraman duties so this allowed me to focus solely on the social media front, while Danny Bushell was hibernating into the top of his thin training jacket due it being a little chilly out.
Macauley Pond made way for “TJ” (that’s Tom Joy) with just under 25 minutes to play. Another sub followed as Jon Butt’s replacement was Danny Bushell.
Gittoes had to retreat it to helplessly flick it behind for a corner, while Cain Fitzsimons was running some form of a kid’s club.
It finished 2-1 as Hale held onto their one goal cushion.
TAFC: Gittoes; McVicker, Jelly ©, Kitch, Hull; Butt, Burley, Pond, Chuter; Fitzsimons, Wilson
Subs: Bushell, Joy, Stephens Subs Not Used: McNeillis, Palmer
Referee: Howard Hayler
Hale Rovers overtake Spartans and have a game in hand – of whom also play at the Aldershot Traco Club – so now lead the pack in the Aldershot & District League Division One. Meanwhile, Brown’s side remain 3rd in the league standings and remain on the same number of points as Spartans and Mytchett Athletic.