Aldershot Town manager Tommy Widdrington marked his new contract with one of the best results in the club’s history, as a hat-trick from Jack Barham, a double from Lorent Tolaj, and goals from Cian Harries and Josh Stokes fired the Shots through to the second round of the FA Cup with a 7-4 win against Swindon Town at the County Ground.
Dan Kemp and Charlie Austin each added late doubles for Swindon, but their goals weren’t enough for the Robins to turn the game around.
The Shots took the lead with less than a minute on the clock. Harries sent a ball forward towards the Swindon box, which was headed out by Remeao Hutton only as far as Stokes – who slid it across for Barham to convert.
It was 2-0 after four minutes. Barham dispossessed a Swindon defender and Murphy Mahoney rushed out to meet him – leaving his goal exposed – and from an acute angle Barham curled the ball into the open net.
Less than ten minutes in Aldershot had a third. Tyler Frost played a hopeful ball over the top to Barham, who used his strength to work his way into the box. Barham played it into Tolaj, who found the overlapping Stokes, and Stokes turned the ball home.
Tolaj made it 4-0 just before half-time. Frost dinked a ball in behind for Tolaj, who took the ball down beautifully and hit low and hard into the bottom right of Mahoney’s goal.
Early in the second half Stokes went down in the box to win Aldershot a penalty. Harries stepped up to the plate and sent Mahoney the wrong way to make it 5-0 to Aldershot with less than five minutes on the clock in the second half.
It was soon 6-0. The ball found its way to Tolaj, who on the half-volley sent the ball well past the reach of Mahoney and into the back of the net.
Just before the hour it was 7-0. Barham got on the end of Ryan Glover’s cross at the back post to tap it home and complete his hat-trick.
It wouldn’t be the perfect afternoon for Aldershot as Kemp fired his left-foot finish past Jordi Van Stappershoef in the 75th minute. On 78 minutes Kemp hit his left-foot shot into Van Stappershoef’s bottom right corner to make it 7-2.
Austin scored a late double for Swindon in added time, but for the Robins it was too little too late for them to get anything from the game.
Aldershot’s reward is a home tie against Stockport County in the second round proper of the FA Cup. The game will provisionally take place on Saturday, December 2 (3pm).