Men’s 1XI v Newbury
By Stephen Best
Men’s 1XI v Newbury
Aylesbury men’s 1XI travelled to top the of the league Newbury, who were sitting pretty at top of the league having smashed MK the previous week.
With our illustrious captain Chris Hunter out of action with a faked injury, and coach Rob refusing to travel 2 hours to watch us attempt hockey - Graham 'kipper' Thwaites was left to fill the void of captain, coach and all round top guy.
Matt Kiely and Jim had their annual call-ups to the furthest away game of the season and didn’t disappoint – both rolling back the years with fine performance (when the wind was behind us and the sun in Newbury’s eyes).
With Aylesbury arriving late once again, Newbury could sense an opportunity to take an early lead and pressed hard from the start. 2 minutes in Newbury found a way through and unleashed a strong strike by the edge of the D that was initially saved by the ever-agile Tom in goal. The ball somehow trickling through to an open goal which kipper cleared bravely.
Aylesbury began to grow in confidence and pushed the opposition back. With the wind and sun behind us Matt launched a flurry of long aerial balls that immediately made Newbury question their high press. On numerous occasions the young bucks leading the attack found themselves one-on-one with Newbury’s defence - working tirelessly to stretch the pitch at every opportunity.
20 minutes in andJorell Pascal scored his second goal for the 1XI. I struggle to remember how it came about or what he did to score, but it must have been memorable for him as he rang his mum at half-time to tell her about it!
Chris Maac finished the first half with an outstanding reverse stick tackle as the leading line attacker and then found the energy to run route one towards goal. With three defenders in front he used his hobbit like physic to his advantage, ducking under the incoming tackles as they came in. After a 50 yard dash he crossed the ball (again on his reverse) across the D at speed for Will Ebsworth to come diving in with a lovely first time strike to claim what seemed like a certain goal. Only for the Newbury’s GK to somehow make a outstretch save to his left.
The second half began and with the wind now in our face Matt Kiely was already looking for his excuse to get himself subbed, however his legs were revitalised and he knew it would be at least another 20 minutes before he could make his getaway.
James Gilbert receiving the ball in the far left corner had no right to turn and drive at goal – but to the amazement of the Newbury defence he did and it showed in their inability to tackle him. As the keeper anticipated a ball to the penalty spot he slightly stepped off his line and Gilbert took advantage with a fine strike at the near post.
At 0-2 Aylesbury decided this was too easy and wanted to give the spectators what they came to see… Newbury goals.
With Newbury pushing and pushing everyone sensed a goal coming. Matt Kiely constantly checking the time with the umpire to make his escape.
Will Ebsworth was clearly tiring, having pulled the strings in midfield up to this point. With his ever-growing muscles taking priority of what little oxygen he had left, his brain’s functionality reduced and having won a 16 yard hit, Will believed we had Newbury on the ropes and a break away was on the cards. With a self-pass he drove out from the edge of our D, only to find to his confusion and dismay none of us were in position to help with the ‘counter-attack’ that was happening within our own 3rd. Never one to give up, he drove at the centre forward, who under his breath whispered “thank you” and took the ball graciously, driving the 2 metres into the D to score.
1:2 – panic stations.
The next 15 minutes was all Newbury. Matt looked at the clock and thought ‘sod this I’m off’.
With 5 minutes left of the clock the experienced kipper analysed Newbury’s final attack of the game and determined that a lofted aerial ball across the D, onto the back post was most expected and hence had his stick at shoulder height waiting to volley away any thrown ball. Unfortunately, Newbury with their aged players stuck to hockey of yester years and drilled in a hard ball along the ground which the centre forward neatly touched onto kipper’s foot.
Newbury scored the resulting penalty. Kipper shortly followed Matt and buggered off.
Game finished 2-2. Aylesbury 1XI and 2XI remain unbeaten for this season.
MOM – Chris Mac a fine example of how to tackle from the front line and seems to be in the form of his life.
DOD – Jorell for ringing his mum at half time, and thinking we’d lost as he couldn’t remember Gilbert’s goal.