Bateman hails free-scoring Moles

Steve Bateman
Steve Bateman

Aylesbury FC manager Steve Bateman was delighted with his team’s thrilling 4-3 victory in an absorbing local derby with rivals Aylesbury United on New Year’s Day.

The Moles led 2-0 at half-time and then 3-1 midway through the second half before United fought back to level at 3-3, but Brian Haule’s 79th minute goal was enough to seal FC’s seventh straight league victory.

With leaders Kettering Town losing on the same day, the result takes second-placed FC to within four points of top spot in Division One Central of the Southern League.

Bateman said afterwards: “It was a full-blooded game today which we led comfortably at one point 3-1 before we were pegged back to 3-3, but we had enough to fight back again and claw ourselves back in front, and then hold on relatively comfortably.

“Arguably we had our first choice centre halves in Ben Stevens and Kyle Anthony out, so we were more vulnerable than normal at the back.

“I’m more pleased with the response because we didn’t fold. We picked ourselves up and we were able to go down the other end and get our noses in front again.

“We will concentrate on the positives and continue to work on the areas that let us down a bit.

“I’m absolutely delighted and as I just said to the players, you can look at the other results now we have done our job and some other teams have done us a favour so we are just four points behind Kettering.”

On Brian Haule, who scored two goals in the game including the winner, Bateman added: “He was absolutely outstanding. We left him on for the whole 90 minutes because he was very effective.

“He deserved both the goals and was a handful all day for Aylesbury United’s defence.”

Bateman also heaped praise on his side’s ability to score goals from all over the pitch after last week’s derby win took them to the top of the league’s goalscoring charts, adding: “The goals are coming all over the pitch for us.

“If you look at the goalscoring charts, we haven’t got anyone in the top two or three but we have a few people with a dozen. It’s important the goals come across the side and we don’t rely on one individual.

“We’ve got something going at the moment and that’s now seven straight wins. It’s a great achievement in any division.”

On the possibility of promotion, Bateman said: “We are well placed for the run-in and we just have to keep continuing what we are doing.

“We started the season aiming to get in and around the play-offs. We have achieved that target so far in the sense that we are in the mix at the moment.

“Only one team goes up automatically so it’s difficult, and at the moment we are concentrating on chasing down Kettering. What I have got is a group of locally based lads who want to play for their club and they are doing Aylesbury FC proud at the moment.”

After Saturday’s game against Daventry was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, the Moles will be looking to extend their winning run to eight when they travel to Royston this weekend.