After last week’s cup exit to top-of-table Wigginton, it was back to the league this week away at Poppleton.
On another blustery but sunny afternoon, the Aztecs were on top from the start with Ben Richardson and Jack Taylor dominating the midfield. Most of the play seemed to be in the Poppleton half but poor finishing and good defending kept the scores level.
The first clear cut chance fell to Ben on the edge of the Poppleton box but his rasping shot went just wide of the post. Patrick Wilson, playing on the right wing went on a mazy run, skipped past two defenders and was then hacked down just outside the box. Up stepped Jack White to fire in a superb free kick but wide of the post. Johnny Loft then fought hard to win the ball in the right corner and whipped in an inviting cross for Jake Wilson, but his header went just over the crossbar.
Would this be just one of those days? Not if Aaron Fraiser had anything to with it. Within a few minutes he won the ball in the centre of the Poppleton half and only had one thing on his mind – he let out a screamer from 30 yards and the pace beat the keeper to break the deadline and settle nerves.
Poppleton managed to win their first corner just before half time but Nick Price Norman mopped up with ease and set Cameron Coulthard on his way. He passed to Jack, who passed to Jake, but the final shot was easily collected by the keeper.
From the restart there appeared a mix-up between the two Poppleton central defenders and, with pressure from Jake and Johnny, Johnny managed to get his foot onto the ball to poke past an advancing keeper and put daylight between the two teams.
The Aztecs had two further chances to double their lead but the ball would not cross the line – they hit the post and the defender and the keeper both cleared off the line.
After the break, the Aztecs continued to play some good football with great link up play from Ben, Jack, Matty Gardner and Johnny. The lads battled extremely hard and should have had another goal when Aaron collected the ball and played a good pass through to Johnny but his shot whistled past the post.
The Aztecs pushed for another goal with shots from all angles but either the keeper saved or the wind sent the ball over. Halfway through the second half, the referee blew for an innocuous free kick just outside the Aztecs box.
This was stroked up and over the wall and just under the crossbar to bring the scoreline back to 1-2. Poppleton sensed they could get something from the game and pushed and pushed but the defence stood strong.
The Aztecs should have scored another when George Waite split the defence with a great pass for Jack Taylor to run onto, but his shot from inside the box was wide of the post.
The Aztecs deserved to win and grind out a result. Hopefully this will give them belief for the rest of the season. Men of Match: Ben Richardson and Patrick Wilson.