Bateman taking nothing for granted after derby stalemate

Gareth Price holds off Stacey Field during Monday's derby. Picture by Marc Keinch
Gareth Price holds off Stacey Field during Monday's derby. Picture by Marc Keinch

Moles boss Steve Bateman was pleased to come away from Monday’s local derby against rivals Aylesbury United with a clean sheet and a point but says his side must now make sure they nail down a place in the play-offs.

In a game short on drama and quality, FC’s Ryan O’Toole and Jason Blackett came closest to making the breakthrough but neither side were able to fashion a clear-cut opportunity.

It’s the first time United have taken a point off their rivals with the Moles having won all four of the previous meetings between the two.

Speaking afterwards, Bateman said: “It was a blood and thunder local derby that lacked in the quality that both sides have shown in other games this season.

“There wasn’t a lot of quality on offer, we’re disappointed but I’m happy we got away with a point and a clean sheet.

“We were flat and I can’t really remember us testing their goalkeeper. Our delivery from wide areas was poor and we had a number of corners where the ball in didn’t beat the first man.

“It was very much a case of defences coming out on top. Neither keeper had to make a save of note really. It was very much a war of attrition.

“I’m delighted by the crowd. It was a fantastic occasion and it’s just a shame that both sides cancelled each other out and neither put on the footballing show that we saw in our earlier matches this season.”

The point keeps Bateman’s side second in Division One Central but with play-off rivals Royston, Rugby and Bedworth all winning, the Moles still need two wins from their final three games to make sure of a top five spot.

On Saturday, Aylesbury FC bounced back to winning ways when Ryan O’Toole scored two penalties and missed another in a 3-1 home victory over North Greenford United.

O’Toole scored twice from the spot in an eventful first half that also saw the dismissal of Greenford goalkeeper Amadou Tangara as the Moles took a 2-1 lead into half-time before Adam Logie’s late third wrapped up the points.

This weekend, the Moles travel to Beaconsfield SYCOB.

Bateman added: “We have three games left to nail a place in the play-offs. We’re not taking anything for granted and we have to make sure we ask more questions of Beaconsfield this week.”