Haywood Way is on the outskirts of Aylesbury, just off the A41 heading out to Bicester. Parking at the ground is quite limited but it is fairly easy to find a spot on the streets nearby. The first thing you see when approaching the ground is the entrance to the club house. However, entrance to the ground is through the large gates to the right of this building which leads to two turnstiles. The entrance fee for this Southern League Central Division fixture against Daventry Town was £8.50 As this was a re-arranged fixture, the programme was printed in readiness for the original game (Jan 3rd) and was handed out as a freebie for this game.
To describe the layout of the ground. There are two main structures, a covered standing area behind one of the goals, emblazoned with Welcome to Aylesbury FC, and a covered seating area along the nearside (clubhouse side) of the pitch. This stand also houses the snack bar, toilets, press and reserved directors areas. The remainder of the pitch is surrounded by the obligatory hard-standing. Dugouts, as is the norm, are on the opposite side to the main stand. The pitch looked a little cut up in places but, considering the weather, was not in terrible condition.
Both of these sides were coming into the game on pretty good runs of form. Aylesbury having won 3 and lost 1 of their last 4 fixtures. Daventry won 2, drawn 1 and lost 1 (a narrow 1-0 defeat to leaders Kettering). So, although a win for the home team would see them leapfrog Kettering to the top of the league, it was not going to be an easy game.
Maybe it was the pressure of attaining their highest ever league placing. Maybe it was the conditions (we had snow, hail and rain during the game). Maybe it was a well organised and combative Daventry team. Whatever, the reason, it became apparent fairly early on that this was not going to be a routine victory for the Moles. The first half was a scrappy affair and, as the Daventry twitter account recorded, physio Kelly Davies was probably busier than either goalkeeper in the first 45 minutes. The major talking point of the half came when home stopper Kyle Anthony pulled back Daventry's James Tricks to prevent him breaking through on goal. The referee didn't see it as a clear goalscoring opportunity, presumably because he was still a fair distance from goal, so only a yellow card was deemed necessary. It did, however, signal the start of plenty of off the ball incidents that went on throughout the rest of the game. These never really turned into anything too serious but there was always a sense that something was bubbling just under the surface between Tricks and most of the Aylesbury backline.
At half-time it was still 0-0, a score-line that accurately represented the first 45 minutes.
The second half saw a more urgent approach from the home side. They pushed forward from the kick-off and began to exert a considerable amount of pressure on the Purple defence. However, after weathering the first 15 minutes after the restart, Daventry started to mount some good counter attacks themselves. It would not have been a complete surprise if one of these attacks had lead to a goal.
Then, ten minutes from time and with the home crowd becoming increasingly twitchy, a half hit clearance fell to veteran Mole Davis Haule who hit a low hard, beautifully controlled, shot into the corner of the Daventry net. There was still time for a Jack Howard shot to pass close enough to the far post of the Aylesbury goal to cause some consternation but, the home side hung on to take their place at the head of the table.
Aylesbury FC - @aylesburyfc
Daventry Town - @daventrytownfc