AYLESBURY United began their pre-season with a 4-1 win over ADL champions Bierton – making amends for their 1-0 defeat 12 months ago.
Manager Tony Joyce described last season’s result as an “embarrassment” but he believes Saturday showed how much his team has progressed in the last year.
He said: “We are in a completely different place to a year ago, we still have five or six players who were here last time and they knew they embarrassed themselves last year, but now we have formed a decent squad and are looking to build on it.
“It is onwards and upwards for us from here, we have brought in Stacey Field and are looking to try out a few more players in our next two pre-season matches.”
Field impressed Joyce on his debut after scoring the second goal and his manager has already labelled him the new Lea Coulter – who is expected to leave the club.
He said: “I watched Stacey a couple of times and was very impressed with him.
“He is a really good centre forward who has a lot of pace, I think he is better than Lea Coulter.”
Jamie O’Grady was the only other absentee from last year’s squad and Joyce believes he will follow Coulter out of the exit door.
It was a decent run-out for the ADL champions, who came back to pre-season training two weeks early to play the game.
Manager Chris Davies said: “It is the biggest game of our pre-season, we started back early just to fit it in as it is such a massive match for us.
“We get to see what level we are at and it is just nice to play a team with such history.
“I am pretty happy with how it turned out, we did well but just got punished for our mistakes.”
The match was decided in the five minutes before half-time, which saw United score three goals.
Mickey O’Farrell scored either side of Fields’ goal to give Aylesbury a 3-0 lead going into half-time.
Bierton pulled one back in the second half but Paul Edgeworth finished the match off with a superb individual effort.
Aylesbury United’s pre-season fixtures continue with another local derby, away to Winslow tomorrow (Thursday).