Bateman thrilled as Moles nail down play-off spot

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Moles boss Steve Bateman stated his relief and delight after Aylesbury FC wrapped up a Division One Central play-off place with a goalless draw against Northwood on Saturday.

Needing just a point to be sure of a top five spot, the Moles dominated both possession and territory against Northwood and created numerous opportunities with both Lynton Goss and Jamie Rudd striking the woodwork, but in the end Aylesbury had to make do with a point.

That was good enough to keep them third and seal their place in the end-of-season play-offs with one game to go.

“We’ve been on the brink for a few weeks and to finally get there is a relief and fantastic. It’s fully deserved,” Bateman said this week.

“The challenge now is to win the final game and hope Royston slip up which would see us finish second and that would be about right on what I’ve seen this season because we’ve certainly been in the top two or three in this division.

“We now have a big two weeks ahead at the end of which there could be even more reason to celebrate. It’s a fantastic achievement for everyone at the club and I’m really pleased.

“I said at the start of the season that play-offs were the target and it was a realistic one with the group of players we had assembled. I don’t think too many people outside of our football club would have picked Aylesbury FC in their top six, nevermind contending all year, but I knew what I had assembled and I’m absolutely delighted.

“Credit to the players, they’ve worked their socks off. We’ve shown that, Kettering aside, we can match and better any of the teams up and around us.

“I’d like to finish it off with a win in front of our home fans on Saturday and then get our heads concentrating on whoever it might be in the play-offs next Tuesday.”

Despite Saturday’s goalless stalemate being FC’s third draw in a row, Bateman is unconcerned by his side’s recent form and feels they are playing well enough heading into the play-offs.

He added: “People will look at the results and say we’ve drawn a few recent games but the important thing for me is that, apart from the Beaconsfield game, we’ve been solid and in control.

“On Saturday at Northwood I thought we played really well and finishing aside, we were in complete control of the game and could have scored five or six.

“Northwood are always a dangerous side and they’re up there in the top 10 but we were better than them. We hit the post twice when it was easier to score, but I’ll take that because we know we played well and put them to the sword at times.

“Hopefully we’ve been holding back some of those finishes for the games to come and now we’ve got there we want to have a real good go at it.”