What a difference a week makes as FC turn the corner

Ben Stevens
Ben Stevens

Aylesbury FC come away with all three points from Northwood and another clean sheet in 1-0 win.

FC can be very satisfied with this win at Northwood as a goal just after the half hour mark from Ben Stevens secured all three points while just as importantly a clean sheet was kept at the other end, writes Jools Thomas.

Although neither team could claim it was a festival of attractive football, FC will feel they did just enough to deserve all the points.

Starting the game on the front foot was vital for FC and just two minutes in, Gareth Price broke on the left and crossed for Ollie Hogg who scooped the ball over whilst under pressure. In reply Northwood’s Reece Grant put in a fiendish cross but not one of his team mates was there to meet it. A few minutes later and Sonny Bailey-Aird fed Grant but his shot cleared the crossbar. Gareth Price was finding decent positions all afternoon and on 11 minutes he broke free of the Northwood defence but his shot lacked real power and Sean Thomas, the home keeper, easily gathered. Another left wing incursion from Price found Jack Thomson whose quick thinking near post run saw him flick the ball over the keeper but unfortunately also over the bar.

Jack Thomson turned provider on 22 minutes and his cross found Sonny French but Sonny’s shot didn’t possess the muscle to trouble the home keeper. Five minutes later a glancing header from Gareth Price just cleared the post as FC mounted sustained pressure on the home goal. A Lee Grant free kick just cleared the bar before FC grabbed the decisive goal. A teasing left wing run and cross by Price found Sonny French. Sonny executed a goal-bound overhead kick and as the ball was drifting into the net past a bemused keeper and static defence, Ben Stevens rushed in to smack the ball to make sure the ball truly crossed the line.

Just before half-time, Woods had their best chance of the game. Jonjo Bates found himself in a race for the ball with Rhys Marshall. Rhys beat the keeper to the ball but could only clear the ball to Oliver Sprague. The Northwood man struck the ball goalwards but Lamar Simpson was on hand to block the effort and clear to safety.

The second half started little more slowly than the first and therefore FC’s first chance was not until the 52nd minute when Lee Grant headed over whilst under pressure. Lee was involved in the next action but this time in the FC box. Confusion occurred between the ex-Northwood man and keeper Marshall over a back pass and this almost allowed Reece Grant to pounce. Jerome Federico was also playing against his old team but it was not until the second half he was able to make an impression with a stinging shot which just cleared the ball and then a tempting right wing cross that teammates unluckily failed to anticipate.

Substitute Brian Haule almost grabbed a second on 77 minutes when his cross shot was deflected and a goal was only prevented by a rapid reaction save at the near post from the keeper. As the game drew to a conclusion, Northwood resorted to pumping high balls into the FC penalty area. Whilst some caused concern, including a cross which resulted in Rhys Marshall taking out two Northwood attackers plus one of his own defenders, most were dealt with comparatively easily as Kwasi Frempong expertly marshalled the FC defence against this aerial threat. The final whistle sounded after what seemed an age of injury time and from there on in FC were able to enjoy the taste of this hard earned victory.

FC travel to Marlow on Tuesday night in the league cup.