North Leigh 3 Aylesbury FC 1
Report by Dan Legg
The Moles travelled to North Leigh for the second time this season following a floodlight failure a few weeks earlier at Eynsham Park. The visiting side would have taken great confidence into the game following a hard-fought draw with Welwyn Garden City days earlier.
Paul Bonham made two changes to his side, with Brian Haule returning up front, whilst Jordan Frederick started in central midfield, with Jordan Jenkins and Bruno Brito both unavailable.
The Moles had an opportunity to move seven points clear of the relegation places with victory, and despite playing uphill broke the deadlock within two minutes. Harry Scott kept the ball in play expertly on the right-hand side, before crossing low into the North Leigh to set up Ty Deacon who slotted home low into the bottom left corner after finding space between two defenders.
The Millers seemed to take the early setback in their stride and began to control the game in midfield. Both Henry Landers and Noah Alabi looked threatening for the hosts with the latter setting up the former for the host’s first clear-cut chance to equalise. Landers fired towards goal at close range, but Nick Bennion showed cat-like reactions to preserve the clean sheet before Jordan Frederick ran the ball out of danger.
Just minutes later though, North Leigh were level. Alabi got the wrong side of Dan Carr, who left a leg dangling - despite minimal contact, Alabi went down and the referee pointed to the spot. Landers stepped up and sent Nick Bennion sprawling the wrong way, cooly slotting home high into the right-hand corner of the net.
On the stroke of half time Aylesbury created an opportunity to go back to the changing rooms ahead, Brian Haule intercepted a sloppy pass in midfield, before laying off Carl Tappin who played a deft through ball to Harry Scott on the wing. The youngster bided his time and waited for Tappin who was busting a gut to get into the box, the cross was marginally too deep, and the midfielder could not connect.
Half Time – North Leigh 1 Aylesbury FC 1
The visitors came out strongest in the second period and were almost ahead just two minutes into the half. A searching through ball from the Millers’ back line diverted the FC defence, sending Alabi through one-on-one with Nick Bennion, again the keeper performed heroics to keep out the shot, standing tall and parrying the strongly struck effort away from goal.
The previous save was to be all in vain, as lightning struck twice. Alabi was again fouled by Dan Carr in the penalty area, this time nobody could have any complaints. Again, Landers was given the responsibility, stepped up with a carbon copy of his first spot-kick for his second of the night and ninth of the season.
The Moles were at sixes and sevens at the back following the goal, and the hosts soon increased their lead. North Leigh broke rapidly after a Harry Scott free kick was headed away - Roger James sprinted into the box with Nick Bennion blocked his effort but the ball ballooned up and span into the net with Sam Odusoga unable to make a goal saving clearance on the line.
The Moles looked to get back into the game with some additional fire power off the bench in the form of Ryan Young, who had Aylesbury’s best opportunity of the second half, heading just wide from an inviting Dan Carr cross.
Full Time – North Leigh 3 Aylesbury FC 1
Aylesbury FC MOTM – Carl Tappin