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Fleet target play-offs

Aldershot 2 Gravesend & Northfleet 2

A LATE penalty robbed Gravesend & Northfleet of an impressive away win at high-flying Aldershot.

But Fleet manager Andy Ford said he was pleased with his team's overall display - and wouldn't rule out a play-off spot for his in-form squad.

Despite lying 17 points off the play-offs. with just nine games left, Ford wants his team to aim high for the remainder of the season.

He said: "It's a measure of how far we've progressed in recent weeks that only getting a draw at a top four club like Aldershot would be seen as a disappointment.

"Aldershot are in the play-off places and there wasn't a great deal of difference between the two sides. It has to be our goal for the rest of the season to go unbeaten and make a run for the play-offs.

"That might not be very realistic but it gives us something to play for and in football you never know. There won't be too many teams that will fancy playing Gravesend in the run-in, that's for sure."

One team that won't have enjoyed the experience of coming up against Andy Ford's men is Aldershot.

With four wins and a draw from their five previous games, Shots were the Conference's form team coming into Saturday's clash at the Recreation Ground.

But although Jon Challinor headed them into a 31st minute lead, Fleet did not lay down and die.

The visitors, who had gone close through new signing Manny Omoyinmi, Justin Skinner and Roy Essandoh, were still trailing by a goal at the break.

Omoyinmi's pace helped change all that, though, and Dean Hooper was sent off for his second yellow card when he pulled pack the fleet-footed striker in the 68th minute.

Having the extra man gave Gravesend the boost they needed and in the 71st minute they were back on level terms when Essandoh found the net with a header.

Then, within a minute, they had gone 2-1 in front - Essandoh using his aerial ability to great affect again to nod a Lee Gledhill cross into the path of Omoyinmi.

The former Gills striker made no mistake and it looked like Fleet would become only the second team to beat Aldershot at home in the league this season.

But there was one last twist in the tale, with Challinor drawing a foul in the box from Skinner with eight minutes to play and winning his team a penalty.

Roscoe D'Sane fired the spot kick past Paul Wilkerson to make it 2-2 and get his side out of jail.

Gravesend: Wilkerson, Gledhill (Abbey, 74 mins (Lee, 84 mins), Moore, Shearer, Skinner, Owen (Sidibe, 66 mins), McKimm, Perkins, Pinnock, Essandoh, Onoyinmi. Subs not used: Duku, Mitten

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