From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks or so they say as Steve Bateman gets his first point as Aylesbury FC manager with a 0-0 draw against fellow strugglers North Greenford United.
FC fans may have seen the first signs of recovery and whilst the game could have gone either way especially in a tension filled final 15 minutes, a draw was overall a fair result.
The first action was from home striker Myles Stephenson before FC’s Sonny French replied with two efforts, the second of which required the NGU keeper to push the ball away for a corner. Gareth Price then sent in a tricky cross shot that just cleared the bar and again in reply, the home team were unlucky as Wayne Jackson volleyed a cross goalwards which zipped past FC keeper James Weatherill’s post.
As the game settled, Sonny French was finding space and his shot on 19 minutes was just blocked as he pulled the trigger. New signing Bradley Wadkins was also proving to be more than a handful for the home defence and his link up play with Max Farrelly almost resulted in a clear run on goal. There was a hairy moment just after the midway point of the first half. Home defender Daryl Brown sent in a speculative cross which Weatherill spilt at the first attempt before he safely grabbed the ball as it looked to be trickling over the line. NGU’s Anthony O’Connor was the next home player to have a go but his fierce shot lacked accuracy and it flew wide.
FC’s best chance of the game so far was on the half hour mark. Wadkins took the ball past two men and shot low and hard but the keeper was more than equal to it. Right on the stroke of half time, a penalty claim for the home team was waved away by the referee before the whistle sounded for the interval.
The second half was only a minute or two old when Jamie Rudd fed Sonny French whose shot was again blocked. Tom Cutts then had a header which just cleared the home bar before Wadkins hit a shot which was wide of the mark as FC made a bright start to the 2nd period. Wayne Jackson replied for the home team by hitting a fierce shot that Weatherill did well to palm over the bar.
Connor Baker playing at left back was finding space and his passes were creating lots of space for the FC midfield men. This allowed Price, French and then substitute Aston Goss to have half chances to give FC the lead but all were denied by a combination of steadfast defending and lack of composure. On 77 minutes Sonny French was put through clear on goal however in a one on one with the stocky United keeper Lee Pearce, there was only going to be one winner. Aston Goss then played in Bradley Wadkins who neatly chipped Pearce however his shot just cleared the post when a goal seemed a certainty.
The action was now heating up at both ends. A powerful shot by an NGU winger on 81 minutes was tipped over by Weatherill and then Anthony O’Connor was put clean through with just the keeper to beat.
Weatherill was strong but could not claim the ball yet to every FC fan’s relief, O’Connor fired the rebound wide with an open goal gaping. Amazingly FC had arguably their best of the game with the very next attack with Sonny French striking the post with a cool strike on 85 minutes. Later Aston Goss and then Ben Stevens had opportunities to break the deadlock but as the referee blew the final whistle, the Aylesbury FC manager, players and supporters could be quietly pleased with a point.