To Buckingham Road, home to old friends Aylesbury United. Newly promoted, they are now managed by Steve Sedgely, formerley of Hampton and Spurs. Steve Clark and Peter Risley have retired and the new Manager has brought in a complete new side over the summer, including former Saint, right full back, Phil Dicker. A model duck the size of a small car sits on top of their tea-bar and the toy band are well known throughout the Ryman. Nice people.
The Dynamic Duo know not to change a winning team so they brought in Campbell for Moran, who injured his ankle on Saturday. The full line-up: Wilmot; 4 at the back: Gould, Townley, Campbell and Hollenback; 4 in the midfield: Oakes,Challinor, Castle (C), and Barr; and up front: Martin and Crawshaw. On the bench: De Souza, Evans, Naylor, Sippetts and Cook.
At risk of spoiling the report, I'll start by saying that this was an absolute cracker.
Aylesbury have a mix of talented footballers with steel at the back, steel which can become over physical. I was surprised that it was late in the half before the referee first reached for his yellow card for the home No. 4. City are playing fine football and the first half was fairly even although Saints probably edged it on points having created more scoring opportunities. Chances fell to Martin, Crawshaw and Gould and at the other end, Wilmot made a fine fingertip save from a dipping long shot. The home side were restricted in attack, not least as Campbell and Townley, who had his best game yet, struck an immediate understanding. H.T. 0-0.
City were forced to change into an Aylesbury away strip by the referee as he considered that the blue shirts clash with the Officials strip. The "Black and Yellows" turned it on in the second half and played excellent flowing football using the whole width of the pitch. (If this continues, perhaps the Duo will restore The Park to full size). Oakes, Challinor and Barr showed their pedigree and Castle is influential both in attack and defence. It was Castle who broke the deadlock 5 minutes into the second half when he headed (shouldered?) home a Barr corner. 0-1. Within 5 minutes it was 2 when Barr and Hollenbeck combined well on the left before the American hit a fierce low cross for Martin to bundle home. 0-2. De Souza came on for Crawshaw, and Naylor for Barr who took a slight knock.
The Saints were now dominant, playing super football from the midfield. The home defence became increasingly frustrated and the tackles were later and higher. Two more yellows but, surprisingly, no reds. Evans came on for Challinor. With a few minutes to go, Martin broke free on the edge of the box, went to the line and crossed low for De Souza to score from close range. 0-3. F.T.
City played super football tonight right through the side. Worthy winners and, possibly on the brink of great things this season. This is a very good side indeed. There is competition for places which will not have been lost on Smith, Keen and Brown, spectators from the stand, and avaiable for selection within the next week. Aylesbury will do well this season. There are good footballers in their side and they wont come up against many who will play as well as tonight's visitors.
I would guess the crowd to be 550 or so, with 150/180 Travelling City Faithful having made the trip.
Entertainment 10/10. Technical Merit 9/10. Atmosphere 9/10. Referee 4/10.
Match report by Awayday