Date: 10th August 2008 at 2:02pm
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ACCRINGTON Stanley were left helpless as Football League new boys Aldershot Town showed the form that saw them win the Blue Square Premier last season.

A 16-year stint outside of the Football League for Aldershot meant that they came back eager and raring to go in East Lancashire on the opening day of the season as

Scott Donnelly’s outstanding free-kick secured the points before half time.

John Coleman opted to start the game with new boys Chris King and Colin Murdock in the centre of the defence after they signed from Total Network Solutions and Shrewsbury respectively in the summer. Young midfielder Robert Grant was given a starting berth, with John Miles who has impressed through Pre-Season dropping to the bench.

Last season’s top scorer Paul Mullin spearheaded the Stanley attack with Blackburn Rovers loanee Jamie Clarke, with John Mullin missing out on the 16 altogether because of a niggling ankle injury picked up in Pre-Season training.

Stanley started strongly under the dull East Lancashire weather and Grant was soon causing havock down the left hand side of midfield with his mazing runs and pace, and could have had Stanley ahead soon on.

After taking on Aldershot new boy Chris Blackburn, the young whippet whipped a pace packed cross into the Shots’ area, before Anthony Charles managed to clear the danger before Clarke could steal in.

King almost had a debut to remember as his thunder bolt from 25-yards was heading towards goal before Paul Mullin instinctly tried to flick the ball, but deflected the shot over the crossbar for a goalkick, much to the displeasure of King.

Ian Craney had the Reds’ best opportunity to snatch a goal on the half-hour mark when he turned fantastically to beat his man before feeding Mullin who’s effort was straight at Nikki Bull, when the shot seemed the better option for Craney who is still interesting Morecambe.

Ben Harding almost got Aldershot off the mark against the run of play but his header went wide of an untroubled Kenny Arthur’s post, as the league newboys offered little in attack.

Minutes before halftime though and Stanley were left ruinging their missed chances as Aldershot landed a sucker punch to Coleman’s side. Donnelly took his opportunity to land a 25 yards free kick and stepped up to curl the ball into Arthur’s top right corner to hand the Shots a supprise lead.

The visitors found their feet after the interval and took control of the game, which ultimately secured them an opening day three points. Even though Aldershot started to show an attacking threat though, Arthur never looked in doubt, as the Shots failed to test the Scot.

Colin Murdock almost pulled Stanley level from a Peter Cavanagh free kick, but his headeder was high and wide and insured that the scoreline didn’t change.

John Grant hit the post late on as the game fizzled out and left hunreds of travelling Shots to enjoy their first game back in the Football League.