In the spotlight: Aldershot Town

The 2022/23 National League season will once again see 24 teams once again fight for two promotion spots to the EFL.

We will take an in-depth look at the other 23 clubs in the league. Today, we look at Aldershot Town…

Fact File

Full Name: Aldershot Town Football Club

Year Formed: 1992

Nickname: The Shots

Stadium: The EBB Stadium

Capacity: 7,100

2021/22 Finish: 20th in the National League

The EBB Stadium

Review of the 2021/22 season

Aldershot started the 2021/22 season poorly with five consecutive defeats – including a 2-0 defeat to the Spireites on the opening day. Manager Danny Searle left the club in September 2021 after a poor start to the season. Despite picking up a couple of sporadic wins, the Shots continued to languish in and around the relegation zone; they also exited the FA Cup at the fourth qualifying round after a shock 2-1 loss away at Bowers & Pitsea. New manager Mark Molesley oversaw a turn in fortunes as Town picked up several wins in November and December as well as four points against their bitter rivals, Woking. As the season progressed into February and March, Aldershot moved away from the relegation zone. They ended the season after only losing once in their last five – the only win in that run coming against Notts County.

Manager – Mark Molesley

Mark Molesley spent his playing career in the south of England, both in the EFL and non-league. Upon retiring, he joined Bournemouth as a coach in their youth system. After a spell at Weymouth and four more years with Bournemouth, Molesley re-joined Weymouth as first-team manager. He enjoyed success with the Terras – winning promotion to the National League after defeating Weymouth. A move to Southend United followed, but Molesley only spent eight months at Roots Hall as the Shrimpers moved ever closer to the fifth tier. Following the departure of Danny Searle, the 41-year-old became Aldershot Town manager (a club he had three spells at in his playing career).

Mark Molesley

Star Player – Inih Effiong

The 31-year-old has played for plenty of clubs in non-league throughout his career which includes two spells at Boreham Wood near the start. Following a spell in Scotland with Ross County, Effiong made his way back to the National League with Dover Athletic, spending two years at The Crabble. A move to League Two side Stevenage followed but he struggled to find playing time in the EFL as he had spells on loan at Barnet and Notts County. The forward returned to Woking for a second time in 2021, scoring his first goal of the second spell during a 3-1 win over Chesterfield at The Laithwaite Community Stadium. Effiong enjoyed the 2021/22 season as he bagged 13 National League goals. However, he opted against a new contract and joined fierce rivals Aldershot Town for the 2022/23 campaign.

Inih Effiong

Overall Head-to-head Record

P16   W8   D6   L2

The Spireites have the better of the head-to-head record against Aldershot Town since the latter’s reformation in 1992. Chesterfield are unbeaten against the Shots since coming into the National League – including a win and a draw during the 2021/22 season. Goals from Danny Rowe and Kabongo Tshimanga were enough for an opening day win before Mark Molesley’s stubborn side came away from the Technique Stadium with a point in late January.

Played for both – Manny Oyeleke

Manny Oyeleke has played for both clubs throughout his so far 11-year professional career. He first crossed paths with the Shots in 2013 when he joined the club on loan from Brentford. The midfielder had three separate loan spells at The EBB Stadium whilst with the Bees. Upon leaving Brentford, Oyeleke spent a year with Exeter City before making the decision to join Aldershot on a permanent deal in February 2017. He quickly became a fan favourite and helped the club to two consecutive National League play-off campaigns – playing over 50 times in his fourth spell. The 29-year-old joined Port Vale in the summer of 2018 and spent almost three years at Vale Park before coming to the Technique Stadium. Oyeleke has become a big favourite of the Spireites faithful after racking up just over 40 appearances in just over a year in north Derbyshire.

Manny Oyeleke

*Photos courtesy of Ian Morsman.