Brian Haule’s two penalties helped Aylesbury FC tighten their grip on a play-off place as they edged past Chalfont St Peter 3-2 after an action-packed encounter on Saturday.
In a game high on drama and entertainment, FC looked in control when leading 2-0 before the visitors came fighting back to level, but Haule’s 72nd spot-kick earned Aylesbury the points and with promotion rivals Kettering, Bedworth and Hanwell all dropping points on the same day, Steve Bateman’s side have taken a giant stride towards securing a play-off place.
The first opportunity was within the first couple of minutes. Haule intelligently played in Ryan O’Toole, who was just beaten to the ball by Chalfont keeper Mikey Pearce. Bradley Wadkins was the next man to try his luck but after a bullying run into the box, his final shot lacked power and he saw his effort sail harmlessly wide.
Brad was involved in the following piece of action, nodding down the ball in the penalty area only to see team-mate Brian Haule, playing his most influential game for a number of weeks, crash the resulting shot against a post.
Not to be outdone, Brian’s brother Davis Haule attempted an impudent lob of the keeper which just cleared the upright.
FC were unlucky to hit the post for the second time on 18 minutes. A cross into the box was headed on by Jeanmal Prosper with the woodwork being grazed. Adam Logie then replaced Connor Baker with Adam slotting in at centre half and Chalfont had their first chance soon afterwards. A deflection saw the ball fall to Aaron Lansiquet and his low shot was saved well by James Weatherill in the FC goal.
FC opened the scoring soon afterwards. A teasing cross into a crowded penalty area was met by O’Toole, who forced the ball over the line much to the delight of his teammates.
The hosts wasted no time in making it 2-0 when Haule’s run into the box was illegally halted and the striker stepped up himself to convert from 12 yards.
The second half had barely begun before Chalfont grabbed a goal back in outstanding fashion through Lansiquot’s well-struck volley.
Aston Goss attempted to restore FC’s two goal cushion but his effort went wide and then Adam Logie’s free-kick hit the woodwork for the third time in the game.
A turn and shot by Jeanmal Prosper might have brought more luck on another day but on 66 minutes Chalfont drew level. An attack on the left by Remmel Clarke saw him produce a lofted shot of such quality that James Weatherill could only watch the ball sail into the net.
FC rallied and responded within six minutes, however, with Wadkins upended by Alan hedley, who received one yellow card for the foul and then another for arguing with the decision, resulting in a red card, before Haule made no mistake from the spot for the second time.
Lansiquot had a golden opportunity to grab another equaliser, however he headed wide after slipping Kyle Anthony and this was to be the last real chance of the game for the away team.
Speculative strikes by Davis Haule and substitute Gareth Price came to nothing before the referee blew time on what had been a captivating afternoon.