Aylesbury won their second of four ?make or break' end of season games with a 2-0 win over fellow playoff hopefuls Woodford United.
The visitors, managed by former Ducks' captain Phil Mason, rarely showed the drive and determination the former Aylesbury midfielder regularly used to show in green & white, and surrendered with little more than a whimper. In fact, rookie keeper Jack Sillitoe, drafted in from the Youth Team as replacement for injured Tom Vincent, was never seriously tested.
Patience was the key for Aylesbury, particularly after a forgettable first half. Carl Kavanagh went close as early as the second minute, turning a near post free-kick over the bar.
Woodford had a rare shot at goal after 16 minutes when Neil King, briefly a wearer of green & white back in 2000/01, picked up the loose ball on the edge of the area but dragged a shot well wide.
Two minutes later a deft touch from Pringle released Stevens to burst into the area, but he blazed over when faced with goal.
Then on the half hour mark it was Pringle himself who came closest of anyone to breaking the deadlock when he shot for goal from a corner kick, but Finlay somehow managed to block the effort on his line.
Tom Fountain shot wide for Woodford with a volley on the turn to bring a disappointing first half to a close, leaving the Aylesbury faithful hoping for a little more from their side after the break.
Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Woodford
They weren't to be let down. The Ducks visibly improved in the second period, and although a goal was still some way off chances of great quality and quantity were being created.
Five minutes in and a surging run from Stevens allowed Kevin Mealor the chance to go for goal, but his drive fizzed over the crossbar. A Mead cross was headed towards goal by Pringle minutes later but Finlay managed to reach above his head and just about cling onto the ball under pressure.
Gutzmore had a skimming header go wide from a free kick and Mealor struck a half-volley wide, but just as at Bedworth on Saturday, Aylesbury were rewarded for their patience and a goal arrive twenty minutes from the end.
The Ducks were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area, and Daniel Mead stepped up to curl home a free kick. Not his best effort but Finlay made a mess of it and failed to react, watching in horror as the ball sailed past him. 1-0 Aylesbury
Continuing on the theme of mirroring the Bedworth game, the goal visibly relaxed the home side and after Mealor had a flying effort just wide of the target, the Ducks scored their second from a well worked move.
A cross in from the left was headed goalwards by Pringle, and diverted on by Stevens bringing a smart stop from Finlay. But the Woodford keeper could only parry the ball and Stevens gratefully smashed in the rebound. 2-0 Aylesbury
The second goal spelled game over for the Reds but Aylesbury could have added to their scoreline in the closing stages of the game as they produced some excellent football.
Aylesbury's front two linked up well, Pringle laying the ball off for Gutzmore to strike just wide with a fierce effort. Two minutes later Smyth went on a mazy run but saw his final shot held.
Jon Franklin took the opportunity of using all three of his substitutes ? Danny Jones, Mark Wiltshire and Justin Gordon all entering the fray late on, but it didn't upset the Green's rhythm as they continued to cause Woodford problems.
Although at fault for the opening goal, the score could have been far high had it not been for Finlay in the Woodford goal, and he kept Aylesbury out again five minutes before the end when Mead was played in but saw his low shot well saved. The ball broke to Smyth who followed up with a strong shot, but Finlay made an even better reflex stop with his legs.
Pringle finished off a satisfying night's work by firing wide of the target after more excellent play by Stevens, and it was victory for Aylesbury and a win which moves them above Woodford in the table and with everything to play for ahead of the long trip to Cinderford.