Aylesbury United signed off their campaign in spectacular fashion at the weekend when they stunned promotion-seeking Hartley Wintney 4-3, much to the delight of manager Ben Williams.
Hartley would have finished third and therefore won promotion with victory but they weren’t the first high-flying team to come unstuck against the resurgent Ducks in 2018 as Williams’ remarkable transformation gathered pace.
Since taking over, he has led the club from second-bottom to 13th in the Southern League East Division, recording 13 wins from 22 games since the turn of the year and finishing the campaign with back-to-back victories after they also beat Hanwell Town last Thursday when Ollie Hogg, Ben Seaton and Jeanmal Prosper all scored in a 3-1 win.
“I’m absolutely delighted with the performance on Saturday,” Williams told Sportsshots.org.uk. “Hartley were going at it full pelt because they needed to win to finish third but we played some superb football.
“Top teams start games well and earlier in the season we might have conceded which would have put us under the cosh in the first-half but we’ve learned to deal with that.
“We’ve got more resolve now and we showed some toughness and then when we settle down, we know we can play and we can create opportunities.
“It was disappointing to concede before half-time but we came out second-half and could have scored three or four more.”
Hartley dominated the opening 20 minutes but they were rocked by Sonny French’s opening goal 10 minutes before the break and though the hosts equalised, Aaron Berry restored United’s lead five minutes into the second period and from there they never looked back.
Even a second equaliser later in the second-half didn’t put them off as two goals in the final 15 minutes, scored by Berry and Seaton, made it a memorable end to the season.
The way Williams has rejuvenated Aylesbury this season has only raised expectations ahead of next term. He added: “It’s down to the players and their mentality. As much we like to play football, the first thing we want from our team is for them to work hard.
“Every single player puts a shift in and tries to win the ball back quickly. When they do that, they have the quality on the ball to cause problems as they showed on Saturday.”