Aylesbury FC’s first run-out of 2017/18 ended in defeat but there were plenty of positives for manager Davis Haule as his side pushed a strong MK Dons outfit all the way before going down to a late 2-1 loss at Haywood Way on Saturday.
The Sky Bet League One outfit arrived with a sprinkling of first-teamers for their third pre-season friendly already following previous games against Newport Pagnell and Buckingham Athletic.
But despite the obvious gulf in quality, the Moles held their own on a glorious afternoon at Haywood Way, only beaten by late winner.
Haule included a number of familiar faces in his team, including experienced first-teamers Kieron Schmidt, Johnny Montgomery and Jeanmal Prosper.
Dons opened the scoring as early as the sixth minute when Robbie Muirhead’s shot was parried by FC keeper James Weatherill and dropped into the path of ex-England U17 midfielder Giorgio Rasulo, who slipped the ball into an unguarded net.
Prosper scuffed shot goalwards that the MK defence cleared and a decent right wing cross by Harry Cross was met by Brian Haule, who could only poke the effort wide.
A Prosper header forced the keeper into a spectacular save with the rebound stabbed home, only for the offside flag to cut the celebrations short.
This was not to hinder FC’s progress as a series of corners and free-kicks put pressure on the Dons defence, and eventually they made it count when the returning Charlie Hawtin sent diving header into the net on 40 minutes.
The second-half was more low-key but Keiron Lataille and Connor McGrandles threatened before Dons grabbed the winner with a goal of real quality; young Sam Nombe producing a deft chip over Weatherill and into thenet five minutes from time.
That condemned FC to defeat but they will take lots of heart from their performance against a team from the Football League, and now look forward to this Saturday’s second friendly against Winslow.
As for the season itself, Aylesbury now know their opponents in the preliminary round of the FA Cup, which will be Cirencester Town, after the draw took place last week. The tie is scheduled for Saturday, August 19.