Moles strike late to wrap up third and home semi-final

Steve Bateman
Steve Bateman

Daniel Murphy crashed home an 89th minute piledriver as Aylesbury FC wrapped up third position and a home play-off semi-final against Bedworth United with a 1-0 victory over Hanwell Town.

On a nervous afternoon at Haywood Way, the Moles were largely frustrated by Hanwell as they sought a victory that would guarantee a home semi-final, and eventually they found it as Murphy stepped up and unleashed a thunderous strike in the dying minutes.

The result confirms third place for Aylesbury, 13 places higher than last season, and means they will host Bedworth in the play-off semi-final on Tuesday evening.

It was the away side which started the more positively on Saturday and created three useful chances within the opening skirmishes. Firstly Connor Duffy put it in a low shot which James Weatherill gathered at the second attempt and this was followed by a ricocheted shot again by Duffy and finally Ian Bywater hit a header which went the wrong side of the post.

It wasn’t until the 24th minute that FC threatened the Hanwell goal as Bradley Wadkins played in Gareth Price and although his strike was hit with power, it didn’t have the accuracy and was always rising over the bar.

Jamie Rudd was enjoying his first start in the red and black shirt for some time and he had the vision to play in Wadkins on the half hour mark. Brad’s cross was delightfully inviting however no team mate could advantage as the ball was ushered across the goal by away keeper Cameron Inch.

As half-time approached, a corner from the right was met by Connor Baker and his header was deflected over with the resultant corner causing equal drama.

Ben Stevens and Connor Baker once again were in on goal and only a frantic block by Inch prevented a goal. The final action of the half saw Lynton Goss busying himself however his cross was too close to the keeper and FC were unable to benefit further.

The second period was just a couple of minutes old when the dangerous Billy Adcock hit a half chance over the bar and this was followed by a Jeanmal Prosper effort that needed a block in the penalty area.

A speculative shot by Duffy was gathered by Weatherill on 58 minutes but despite these efforts there hadn’t yet been what could be described as a good chance.

This changed with half an hour to play as Healey hit a thumping half volley which Weatherill again beat away for a corner.

Lynton Goss was finding a little space as the half progressed and he put a shot in which just cleared the bar and this was the prelude to FC’s best chance of the game thus far. The ball fell to Adam Logie and his impressive shot whistled past the keeper but also past the post.

Gareth Price’s attempt from just outside the box a few moments later was on target but didn’t have the power to beat the keeper.

FC were creating more chances but there was nothing really exceptional to speak off bar a Bradley Wadkins run and cross which scraped the woodwork.

As news came through of a Bedworth fightback, FC were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box in the very last minute and up stepped Murphy to make the points safe and send the faithful home very happy indeed.