Two first-half goals from Sonny French guided Aylesbury United to their third straight win as they comfortably got the better of rock-bottom Arlesey Town on Saturday.
Arlesey went into the clash on just eight points from 30 games and they would have been in for another heavy defeat had United taken their chances on Saturday, however French’s two goals were enough for the Ducks to record a third successive win for the first time this campaign.
The three points take Aylesbury into a season-high position of 14th in the East Division.
“It has been a good three weeks with the maximum nine points taken,” manager Ben Williams told the club website. “Although against teams that were not exactly testing, we have got the job done and controlled each game, playing some lovely football at times and keeping three clean sheets in the process.
“We know we will have sterner tests from now on with a particularly tough run-in against teams all challenging for the title or play-off places. This is something we as a management team are looking forward to, as it will show us the character of our players and whether we are capable of continuing our footballing philosophy against harder opponents, which we are confident we can!”
After a sluggish start, the visitors stirred into life 19 minutes into Saturday’s game when good work from French saw him drive infield and find Ben Seaton, who tested keeper Dion Gibbs from 20 yards.
The next opportunity fell to the hosts but Taz Andrews’ shot sailed over the crossbar and, a few moments later, the away team hit the front.
Seaton found Harry Jones in space on the right and he played the ball to Aaron Couch who crossed towards the penalty spot where French struck a half volley into the net.
Now in full flow, United began to turn the screw on the hosts and, after French and Seaton missed shooting opportunities, the lead was extended in the 36th minute.
From a throw-in on the left, the ball found its way to French on the edge of the area and again he hit a first-time volley which squirmed under Gibbs and into the far corner.
Given Arlesey have not won a single home game this season, the result was already beyond doubt and now it became a question of how many Aylesbury were able to rack up.
They could have more by half-time but Callum Mapley’s shot ricocheted off the crossbar and Greg Williams fired the rebound over while Jones failed to keep his volley down.
It was more of the same in the second period as United created and missed further chances to increase their advantage with Gibbs denying Jones before Aaron Couch was twice off target and then substitute Matt Peake-Pijnen, on for his debut after signing in the week, steered just wide.
French was close to his hat-trick three times in the latter stages, thwarted by Gibbs initially before firing wide and heading over, as Aylesbury had to makedo with just the two goals but, crucially, all three points with the top half of the table now in sight.