Round-up - Aylesbury United hold league leaders Bedford Town to a draw
Aylesbury United clipped the wings of another bird of prey when they drew 1-1 with league leaders Bedford Town on Wednesday, after their 2-1 weekend win over Harlow Town.
Two goals in two second-half minutes by Sonny French and Gavin James earned the Ducks a win over the sixth-placed Hawks, who had taken the lead just after the interval.
Taking control in appalling weather conditions, the Ducks were resolute in defence but always a threat on the counter attack and deservedly held out to seal the points.
Wednesday's game against the table-topping Eagles was another chance for the Ducks to build on their seventh-place in the Southern League Division One Central.
Then, on Sunday, United visit FC Romania, currently tenth in the table.
Hosting Eagles, a goal in the first half by Jordan Jenkins, his first of the season, put Ducks ahead after 35 minutes but Rene Howe powered home a header for Bedford from a corner just before the break. A fine performance shows that the Ducks will be challenging for the play offs again this season.
Approaching their unbeaten half century of league games and currently top of the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division, Risborough Rangers take on tenth-placed Oxhey Jets on Saturday at the BEP Stadium.
At the weekend Risborough beat Harefield United 2-0, with Marcus Wyllie netting in the third minute and adding a penalty on the hour. The league’s top scorer brought his tally to 22 goals in 24 starts in all competitions this season.
“It was good to get an early goal, but the only disappointment was our execution in the final third,” said manager Mark Eaton. “We could have been out of sight in the first half.”
Looking ahead to Saturday, Eaton knows it will be a tricky game with Oxhey Jets after their 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture.
“They are a very much improved side, a dangerous outfit, energetic and they’ve got a lot of pace in their forward line,” said the Rangers boss.
“Oxhey Jets are one of the teams who can beat anyone on their day so we have to concentrate on being as professional as we can be and keep grinding out the results.”
And although Risborough are top of the table, Eaton is taking nothing for granted.
“It’s December, not April, we’re not quite half way so there’s a long way to go,” he said.
“We have done brilliantly so far and of course, I would have taken the position we are in at the moment.
“We have a really great squad and great culture in the group that’s been building for the last couple of years and so many characters and players have contributed to the overall success of the team.”
On Rangers beat Pitstone and Ivinghoe 4-3 in the Gladwish Challenge Trophy (2nd round), with a brace apiece for Laurence Clark and Aaron Jewell. Jewell netted Rangers' 88th minute winner following a hat-trick for Pitstone's Albie Hall, who had made it 3-3 just two minutes before.
AYLESBURY VALE DYNAMOS
Their latest success sees Steve Bateman’s side eighth in the Spartan South Midlands Premier Division.
Chris Stapleton and Alfi Touceda were their second-half scorers over 14th-placed MK Irish.
Bateman was forced into making a few changes for the game, bringing back Paolo Bagatti into the heart of the defence and giving a debut to Alex Mitchell who had been playing well for U18s and Development team of late. Luke Nugent and Brian Haule were also in the starting 11.
AVD were bidding to make it six in a row on Tuesday evening when they were visited Leverstock Green in the Gladwish Challenge Trophy and will be back at their fifth-placed hosts again on Saturday in the league. The cup game ended 1-1, but Dynamos exited the competition 5-3 on penalties.
Dynamos’ festive fixture sees them welcome Ardley United on December 28.