Haule fires Moles top as United pay the penalty

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Aylesbury FC maintained their stranglehold over town rivals Aylesbury United when they recorded a 1-0 win in the first Moles-Ducks derby to be played in Oxfordshire at Thame’s ASM Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday.

A goal midway through the first half from Brian Haule separated the sides in a match that provided more than its fair share of talking points for a crowd in excess of 350 as FC maintained their unbeaten record against United.

The result also takes Steve Bateman’s side top of the Division One Central table with 13 points from six games.

In an even contest, the hosts should have come away with a share of the spoils, however a missed penalty in the second half from Steve Hatch proved costly.

FC, who came into the match on the back of an FA Cup preliminary round win over Risborough Rangers, had the first chance of note on 16 minutes when defender Jeanmal Prosper headed over the crossbar from a corner.

Two minutes later the Ducks had their first chance with Billy Adcock shooting wide of the post from just outside the box.

The defining moment came on 25 minutes when good build-up from Jamie Rudd and Ryan O’Toole saw the ball squared to Haule inside the box, and the tall forward was able to caress the ball into the bottom left corner of the net to make it 1-0 to FC.

Haule’s goal came slightly against the run of play and United grew into the game and had a goal disallowed on the half-hour mark.

After the Moles lost the ball on the edge of their own box, captain Jack Wood finished past the keeper from inside the area, however the Ducks were denied the equaliser by the linesman’s flag, with the United skipper adjudged offside.

The Moles, looking for a fifth win over United in six meetings, maintained their narrow lead into the interval before being given another big let-off on 50 minutes.

A handball from Prosper saw the referee award the hosts a penalty, however Hatch squandered the opportunity as he skewed wide with FC keeper James Weatherill diving the other way.

Prosper was having an eventful afternoon and on 58 minutes he had a prosperous run towards the edge of the box where, after beating his man, he unleashed a left-footed shot which cannoned off the right hand post and just evaded a following up red and black shirt.

The home side kept knocking on the door for the leveller and on 63 minutes Greg Williams hit a fierce shot that proved too hot to handle for Weatherill, who nevertheless did enough to keep it out.

A fiercely-contested match then became rather punctuated by fouls with a number of yellow cards issued by the referee who was struggling to keep control of proceedings.

FC should have doubled their lead in the final minute of stoppage time, but O’Toole somehow failed to score. A last-ditch United corner saw them throw everybody forward, including the goalkeeper, and with Alex Tokarczyk out of goal, the visitors counter attacked.

The ball was played forward to O’Toole, who ran into the United half and with the goal unguarded, scuffed his shot completely and somehow managed to miss when it seemed easier to score.

It was a terrible miss but one that ultimately didn’t matter as FC held on to claim victory and maintain the Aylesbury bragging rights in an even and eventful contest.

United: Tokarczyk, S Wood, Grace, J Wood (capt), Collard, Hatch, French, Williams (Owens 64), Casey (Acheampong 64), Collins, Adcock

FC: Weatherill, Prosper, Dobson, Tomlin, Anthony, Stevens, Simpson (L Goss 64), D Haule (capt), B Haule (Dixon 75), O’Toole, Rudd

Attendance: 347

Pictures by Mike Snell