Moles suffer blip in promotion quest

Steve Bateman
Steve Bateman

Aylesbury FC succumbed to their first league defeat since mid-November, a run of seven successive games, when they were beaten 1-0 in a tight game away at Royston Town.

A goal in first half injury-time was enough for Royston to take the points as Aylesbury failed to score for the first time since August. Although the Moles remain second in Division One Central, the defeat represents a missed opportunity to close the gap on the leaders Kettering Town, who could only manage a draw with Aylesbury United.

On a boggy pitch, Royston started brightly and almost went ahead inside a minute when Ryan Lockett’s dangerous free-kick had to be cleared by Daniel Murphy.

FC responded well with Brian Haule juggling the ball in the box before blasting a shot on goal and four minutes later, a quality cross from the right found Jeanmal Prosper, whose goal-bound header flicked off a defender’s head and away to safety.

Bradley Wadkins was the next FC player to go for goal, hitting a powerful drive off target as the Moles applied pressure to the home team without creating too much in the way of clear-cut chances.

The game’s decisive moment came right on the stroke of half-time as, after Aston Goss and Wadkins had gone close for Aylesbury, Ryan Ingrey took the ball from Ben Bateman and fired a shot past FC goalkeeper James Jackson and into the net to give Royston a slender half-time lead.

Although the hosts had the advantage of playing down the slope after the restart, it was FC who came close to scoring first with Wadkins hitting a low ball that Ron Yates gathered in the mud before a half-hearted shout for a penalty was waved away by the referee.

At the other end, Ross Collins played in the lively Ingrey whose shot was well held by Jackson and the Aylesbury keeper was called into action again on 69 minutes as he denied Ingrey for a second time.

FC introduced Gareth Price and Terry Dixon as they looked for more firepower and it almost worked when Price’s cross just eluded Aston Goss before Wadkins was denied by keeper Yates.

The visitors’ final chance came in the last minute when Wadkins’ cross was met on the volley by Dixon, but he was unable to convert and FC were forced to settle for a first defeat in eight games.

Aylesbury, who are now five points behind leaders Kettering, travel to Potters Bar Town this weekend.