Aylesbury United’s pre-season campaign ended with a 3-1 defeat at Calor League South and West Division outfit Stratford Town.
With Lee Grace the latest to join United’s lengthening injury list and Dom Petrucci missing, the Ducks were forced into more changes to the team - and furthermore with Shane Wood omitted just before kick off as a precaution.
United were the better team in the opening stages, and only a fine flying save denied Ben Baines in the third minute, before Zack Reynolds slipped Baines through whose attempted cross-shot was hacked away moments later.
Stratford, who are also newly promoted to the Calor League having won the Midland Alliance Championship last season, began to grow in stature and by the 34th minute it was no surprise when they took the lead. Matt West hit a tremendous effort from 25-yards right into the top corner.
Aylesbury rallied and six minutes later Matt Kimani was bundled over in the box, allowing Daniel Jones, who had earlier seen his free-kick turned wide, to rattle home a confidently struck penalty.
Parity only lasted two minutes when the Ducks conceded a soft goal as star of the show West played a ball forwards for Phil Green to loft over Jack Sillitoe who had hastily scampered from his line.
A third goal just past the hour mark was again soft from Aylesbury’s point of view, as a free-kick flew straight past the wall and into the net.