Sat 16th Jul 2022
TAFC First team 2-1 Aylesbury United

After missing the first friendly of the season at Winslow United on Tuesday night I couldnt wait to see the new intake of players even though the weather was more conducive to cricket and sunbathing. It brought back memories of when we played Risboro Rangers away back in January last year. At that time we were struggling and when I saw how young our side was I thought we would be thrashed by a Risboro side that were top of the table and looking favourites for the title.

We lost that game to a late scrappy goal but what I saw that day was a bunch of youngsters who were energetic, committed and above all skilful and as we all know we went on to have a brilliant season which culminated in lifting the Premier Division Cup.

Many of those youngsters have now moved onto teams in higher leagues and good luck to them but we have sensibly used the same template for the upcoming season by given some new young players a taste of senior football. It may have only been a friendly but they faced our close friends and neighbours Aylesbury United who play at the next level above us and have in their ranks some former players including Manager Ben Williams who made over 80 appearances for Athletic.

I have to admit I struggled to recognise many of the players who started the game but it was reassuring to see Captain George Carbery in the team. Carbs was rightly voted Player of the Season and his experience (at the ripe old age of 25 !!) and his leadership will again be crucial this season.

Understandably the Ducks opened strongly but we weathered the first 10 to 15 minutes and then grew into the game. We then started to play with some confidence and gain a foothold in the game which enabled us to create some chances.

We opened the scoring just before half time when our impressive centre forward Guiseppe Delgaudio latched onto a fine through ball that split the visitors defence and then he coolly slotted the ball past the keeper. Score 1-0.

Considering the heat it was unsurprising that both sides made changes in the second half and the Ducks levelled the scores when former Leighton Town player Jake Bewley scored from a free kick. Score 1-1.

But we had the last word when Adiel Mannion smashed home a late winner to make the final score 2-1.

It is of course far too early to make any predictions but what impressed me as an admittedly biased supporter was the fitness and commitment of our players and how quickly Ryan and his coaching team have moulded them into a team.

We had a lot of talented youngsters on display and hopefully they will emulate their predecessors and give our supporters hope and above a lot of enjoyment.

Finally, we would like to wish Ben and his players all the best for the forthcoming season.

Ralph Griffiths

(No photos on file)

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