Hale Leys United are through to the final of the Berks and Bucks Intermediate Cup after a thrilling 3-1 win over local rivals Oakley on Saturday.
It was the shopping centre side’s first game in three weeks and they had to make do without manager Paul Alleyne who was unavailable due to family commitments.
Perhaps more damagingly, though, they were also without key man Daniel Parsons who was forced to cheer his teammates on from the sidelines.
The derby match had extra spice with Aylesbury boys Shane Almond and Keiron Schmidt the star turns in the Oakley team.
Power house Riccardo Whittle scored from Hale Leys’ first corner of the match and it was a lead they held through to half-time.
Oakley pulled level through former Hale Leys man Almond early in the second half, which had started in the same vein as the first.
But that man Whittle was at it again as he smashed home a 25-yard screamer to make it 2-1 to the visitors.
With a place in the final at stake, tensions were high and Hale Leys’ Roni Joe saw red for a foul despite a number of similar challenges going unpunished before.
With 10 men and half an hour to play, Hale Leys shut up shop and repelled Oakley’s potent attacking force time and again.
Then in stoppage time Mark Tattam sealed the deal.
Seeing the Oakley keeper off his line, he smashed a ball just past the halfway line to make it 3-1 bringing Oakley’s hopes of making the final to an end.
Hale Leys will now go on to play AFC Aldermaston in the final, the date of which is yet to be confirmed.
Club spokesman John Watson said: “I am thrilled that the right team won on the day the entire team gave 100% of what was needed.
“They all fully deserve to reach the final, they are a talented side.”