A depleated squad, a brave effort and a winnable game that was “Gone with the Wind”.
Aylesbury started against Berkhamstead Raiders with only nine fit players and trying to consolidate their hold on fourth place in the league against a team that they had beaten in the earlier fixture. Berkhampstead made the move to swap ends to have a first half advantage with the strong wind blowing across the Fairford Leys pitches, but it was really no advantage in the early part of the game as both sides struggled to keep hold of the ball. Katie O'KEEFFE drew the first save from Berkhampstead Raiders eleven minutes into the game, but it was their solid defence that managed to hold the Ducks at bay. A wind assisted shot from the right hand side of the box into the bottom left of the goal, gave Berkamsptead the lead in the twentieth minute with their first real attack of the game. Lois Glendinning, Sophie HENLEY and Katie O'KEEFFE all had chances to square the game, before Heather SAVAGE unfortunately directed a shot into her own goal to make it 2-0 before half time.
Kiera COSSEY swapped the goal keeping gloves with Iona LAWSON, to allow Iona to come out and bolster the attack for Aylesbury. Lois Glendinning and Abbie Smith were having a great game up front for Aylesbury, with the latter continually hustling the opposition off the ball. VONZEL CERIALES and Sophie Stratford both had good games playing in unfamiliar positions as the Ducks had to cover for the missing three regular starters. Several shots went begging in the second half with Sophie HENLEY hitting the crossbar and then narrowly missing the top corner, but no matter what Aylesbury threw at them Berkhampstead survived and protected the 2-0 scoreline. Deep in the second half, Heather SAVAGE broke from defence and finding herself in an advanced position fired in a brilliant cross, but being typical of the day Aylesbury couldn't get anyone on the end of it to score.
It was a frustrating match and obviously not a result that anyone wanted as it saw Aylesbury slip down to sixth position, but the highlights were a notable and gutsy performance by Abbie Smith who was awarded both the oppositions and the managers Player of the Match.