The Coasters are looking to put things right when they host Aldershot Town in the National League on Saturday, 9 September. 

Defeat on the road against Dagenham & Redbridge was not what the doctor ordered for Adam Murray’s men, but they are looking to bounce back against the Shots, who we cast an eye on. 

The Lowdown 

The Shots travel to Lancashire, looking to bounce back from last weekend’s highly entertaining 3-4 defeat at home to Chesterfield.

The Coasters will also be looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 3-1 defeat away at Dagenham and Redbridge, where youngster Taelor O’kane notched his first goal for the club.

With the Coasters having not won since Kidderminster at home and Aldershot having not won since the August Bank Holiday weekend, both sides will be looking for a win to kickstart their seasons.

The Manager: Tommy Widdrington

Tommy started as a player at the famous north east grassroots club Wallsend Boys Club, which has produced many talents in the past, such as Micheal Carrick. 

He floated about in non-league for a while before making the switch down South to Southampton in 1990. He made 75 appearances for the premier league side and became a reliable rotation player to keep the Saints in the top flight. 

However, in 1996, he made the move back up North to Grimsby Town for what was a club-record fee of £300,000. Making just shy of 90 appearances for the Mariners, Tommy helped the club get promoted back to the first division. However, injuries forced him out of Grimsby, and he found himself at Port Vale on loan, which eventually turned permanent. 

Widdrington enjoyed three seasons at the Vale, which saw him become club captain – however, he could not bring any success. Tommy then moved to the north east and Hartlepool United, helping the club gain promotion to the second division before being released after two seasons.

A return to Port Vale fell in between spells with Macclesfield Town and Salisbury City, and it was at Salisbury that Tommy was made player/coach in 2005 before going on to be the main man until administration hit the club. 

Widdrington then enjoyed two jobs in quick succession, later becoming Southend United’s assistant in July 2010 before getting the bullet months later. Widdrington then joined Hemel Hempstead Town as the gaffer – however, he left midway through the season to pursue a job at a higher level. 

Not long after, he joined Bristol Rovers as Head of Recruitment and occasionally stepped in as Caretaker Manager. Widdrington stayed at the Rovers until 2021, when new manager Joey Barton said he had no relationship with the scouting team. 

One week later, Tommy joined Kings Lynn Town. He was tasked with the impossible of keeping King’s Lynn in the National League – however, he took it to the penultimate game of the season before they were relegated. 

Back in the National League North, Kings Lynn were vying with the Coasters for the title. However, Widdrington resigned from his role at the club just one month before the season’s end to join the Shots, where in his first few games, he managed to steer the Club away from National League relegation.

Key Players

Josh Stokes – The Shots’ top scorer with four goals already this campaign, and you sense there is a lot more to come from the 19-year-old. 

A summer signing from AFC Sudbury, where he won the fans’ Player of the Year, Stokes can be seen as one of the most exciting young talents at this level and someone who will have a bright future in the game.

Ollie Harfield – The left-back has become a regular performer for the Shots, making 47 appearances in two seasons at the club. 

A man for the set pieces with an impressive delivery into the box has seen a high number of assists for Harfield. Recently signing a contract until 2025, Harfield will be part of the foundations for the new style Shots. 

Lorent Tolaj – Swapping the Alps for Hampshire, Tolaj joined the club after enjoying spells at a multitude of different clubs, such as Brighton, Salford, Dundee and Sion. 

At 21, Tolaj is one for the future, with two goals in his first seven starts suggesting that he is ready for this level already.

Previous Meetings

11th November 2017 – Aldershot Town 2-1 – National League

Goalscorers: Aldershot – Shamir Fenlon & Will Evans

Fylde – Danny Rowe

10th March 2018 – AFC Fylde 7-1 Aldershot Town – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Danny Rowe (x3), Sam Finley (x2), Jack Muldoon & Simon Grand

Aldershot – Josh Mcquoid

15th September 2018 – AFC Fylde 3-0 Aldershot Town – National League

Goalscorers: Fylde – Ryan Croasdale, Serhat Tasdemir & Joe Cardle

30th March 2019 – Aldershot Town 0-0 AFC Fylde – National League 

3rd August 2019 – Aldershot Town 1-2 AFC Fylde – National League

Goalscorers: Aldershot – Connor Shields

Fylde – Neil Byrne & Danny Rowe

Opposition Form

The Shots come into this game on the back of two defeats, conceding seven goals and scoring three. With players being sent off in their previous two games, it has cost them dearly, and they will be looking to keep all men on the field to earn a positive result in Lancashire on Saturday. A win would certainly kickstart the Shots’ season.

Match Preview is written by Benji Jenkinson.