Aylesbury FC got the new Southern League season up and running with a creditable 1-1 away draw at Hayes & Yeading United on Saturday.
Hayes are expected to do well this season having been relegated from the Premier Division last term but they started life in the East Division by being held by Davis Haule’s men at their new ground, the SkyEx Community Stadium.
With several new faces among the starting line-up, Aylesbury made the brighter start and shaded the early possession and territory.
Hayes gradually grew into the game and they had the first shot of note when Jordan Jenkins blocked Manny Dukon’s 17th minute effort.
This was a shock to the system for FC, who had been in control of the game, but then it was their turn to threaten when Aston Goss stole the ball deep in midfield, beat several defenders with fast footwork and drilled a lost shot that keeper Jack Smith beat away.
The best chance of the half fell to Ty Deacon who was fed through by Jeanmal Prosper following a poor clearance by Smith, but the keeper atoned for his error when saving Deacon’s low, powerful attempt.
That brought a rather scrappy first-half to a close, but it made way for a more open second and only seven minutes had passed when the deadlock was broken.
FC’s Derek Feyi mistimed his clearance, slicing it to Hayes’ Danny Blanchett who was waiting at the back post where he cushioned a header down to Ismael Ehui and he slotted home from barely a yard out.
That was a harsh blow for FC but their response was almost instant. On 56 minutes, a corner whipped in by Goss was only half-cleared and fell to Jonny Montgomery, who delivered a sublime ball back into the mix where Prosper was on hand to chest down and smash beyond Smith.
Now back on level terms and with their tails up, Aylesbury were in the ascendency and pushed for a quick second but struggled to test Smith.
Kieron Schmidt ballooned a shot over the crossbar and Prosper’s rushed effort curled wide while at the other end James Weatherill remained fairly untroubled although he did have to pick the ball out of his net on two occasions when Hayes had goals disallowed.
There were no major incidents after that and both sides settled for a point apiece.
FC host Cambridge tonight and this weekend they entertain Cirencester Town in the cup.