Aylesbury FC’s bid for promotion to the Southern League Premier came to an end on a disappointing and frustrating Tuesday night at Haywood Way as they were beaten 2-1 by Bedworth United.
The Moles had secured home advantage in the play-off semi-final thanks to their third-placed finish in the league, but two quickfire second half goals saw the visitors claim victory and progress into the final, where they will face Barton Rovers next Monday.
In a cagey and scrappy first half, Bedworth made the brighter start with visiting full-backs Jamie Ashmore and Luke Rowe both spurning early chances, while at the other end, Adam Logie almost latched onto Aston Goss’ cross.
Gareth Price looked lively for the hosts and his curling effort forced visiting goalkeeper Denham Hinds into action for the first time before Alex Naughton’s audacious chip was blocked by James Weatherill.
FC ended the first half on top with Price firing over and Danny Murphy striking the woodwork direct from a corner, but neither side were able to fashion a real clear-cut chance and the half ended goalless.
The game then burst into life in the early stages of the second half when Ben Stevens was adjudged to have brought down Ben Steine for a penalty. Weatherill had saved the last four penalties he had faced but Naughton made no mistake and tucked away the spot-kick with ease.
Aylesbury were growing increasingly frustrated with the stop-start nature of the game and their frustrations only grew 10 minutes later when Danny Creaney took advantage of a defensive mix-up and tucked the ball home.
With just over 20 minutes to play, FC were handed a lifeline. Bradley Wadkins was held back as he advanced into the box and a penalty was awarded, with Goss making no mistake.
As FC searched for an equaliser, they might have had a little more luck as Daniel Murphy’s free-kick was safely collected by the keeper on 74 minutes.
The Moles piled forward in the dying minutes but Goss, Murphy and Jamie Rudd were all unable to convert half chances and Bedworth held on to victory.