Crucial win gives men new promotion hope

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AYLESBURY Men’s firsts travelled to North London for a vital game against second-placed West Hampstead, knowing nothing less than a win would keep their promotion hopes alive.

The sandy pitch did not help Aylesbury’s game but with plenty of substitutes on a hot day, they began at a high tempo and kept the home side’s keeper busy.

West Hampstead’s forwards were looking dangerous on the break but the Aylesbury defence, led by Matt Kiely, held firm.

With West Hampstead on the attack, Aylesbury took advantage of a quick turnover and a fine run by Alex Furness set up Will Ebsworth who smashed the ball home to put Aylesbury one up.

Aylesbury strived to press home their advantage and Ollie Paterson on the right was causing the West Hampstead defence many problems, but half-time came with Aylesbury holding a slender 1-0 advantage.

The next goal in the second half would be vital and after five minutes, Aylesbury won a short corner which did not work as planned but Will Ebsworth pounced on the loose ball to score from a narrow angle with a remarkable reverse stick shot.

Knowing a draw would ensure their promotion, West Hampstead threw everything into attack and forced a series of short corners but Aylesbury keeper Stephen Best was in outstanding form.

Aylesbury continued to force the game and created a number of chances by breaking quickly, but as the last quarter of the game approached, mistakes started to increase.

One turnover too many by Aylesbury, saw West Hampstead break on the right and score with a shot into the far corner.

The last 10 minutes were nervous for Aylesbury but the final whistle came with a hard earned 2-1 win to maintain their promotion hopes.

Aylesbury still need two wins from their last two games next weekend and hope that West Hampstead do not win their last game, to go up.

Elsewhere, it was a generally a very good weekend for the club.

The Men’s seconds beat a depleted Slough seconds 10-0 with goals from Kit Brunswick (4), Chris McIntyre (3), Mark Bowes, Dan Best and Simon Pridgeon.

The Men’s thirds had an excellent weekend, winning 5-1 against Abingdon2nds on Saturday, with goals from Charlie Fowler (2), Craig Quilter (2) and Steve Tassell.

On Sunday they faced league champions Brunel University, expecting a tough game, but were helped by Brunel only having nine players and after a goalless first half, romped to a 5-1 win with goals from Chris McIntyre (2), Stephen Best (2) and Steve Tassall.

The Men’s fourths were less fortunate going down 7-3 away to Milton Keynes Samurai, with goals from Phill Collins, Martyn Collins and Alex Davis.

Finally, the Men’s Badgers got revenge beating their Milton Keynes counterparts 6-2 with four goals from Jack Sloan, and one each from Lewis Ewers and Gary Abel.