Honeycroft, West Drayton Attendance: 92
Aylesbury were unable to enable to end their season with one final flourish, as the Ducks went down to a 1-0 defeat at Uxbridge. Thankfully, there was nothing riding on the game with United having already secured their Southern League status four days earlier.
Honeycroft has been far from a happy hunting ground for United of late, with this being defeat three of three since the two clubs were reunited in the Southern League in 2013.
Available again Lea Coulter replaced suspended Chris Crook in midfield amongst three changes from Thursday’s defeat against Beaconsfield, with Reece Cameron and Bruno Brito also restored to the starting lineup.
After just three minutes Uxbridge had the first of a number of handball appeals turned down, Wayne Carter’s shot stopped in the area after Anthony O’Connor found him with a through ball.
O’Connor himself then should have opened the scoring when a break down the left ended with a ball into the centre giving him more time than he realised, but his poor connection allowed Zaki Oualah to field easily.
After Jon-Jo Bates wasted another good chance, the Reds finally broke the deadlock after twenty-one minutes. A clever back heel into the path of Matt Woods saw his shot well saved by Oualah, but he was left helpless as O’Connor calmly fired home the rebound. 1-0 Uxbridge
Aylesbury struck back and with their first effort of the half nearly equalised. Brito did well on the left when found by Beech, and his cross was brought down by Reece Cameron before he struck a fierce half-volley that Sam Gray did well to keep out.
Beech then fired well over the bar from range, and although the Ducks forced a number of corners in a slightly improved end to the half, they were unable to take advantage.
Half-time: Uxbridge 1-0 Aylesbury
Just as against Beaconsfield, the second half began with Aylesbury under a barrage of early pressure. Woods turned sharply in the area but placed a shot through a crowd of players and just wide.
Former Uxbridge youth teamer Oualah then made another great save to deny Woods from O’Connor’s pass, with the follow up from Carter hitting Hogg to set off another handball penalty appeal.
Seconds later and a goalmouth scramble saw several Uxbridge shots come to nothing before Dave Thomas eventually smashed the loose ball over the target, Mitchell Wiseman’s game coming to an early end having collided with the post in the melee and being replaced by Dan Bailey.
Aylesbury hit the woodwork when Ricky Brown found Cameron on the right wing, whose cross-cum-shot (probably an attempted cross) hit the top of the bar with Gray flailing.
With their best move of the match the Ducks then drew a good save from Gray, as Ollie Hogg made a bursting run from midfield, played a one-two with Field providing a back heel to send him through only for Gray getting down well to save.
The resulting Aylesbury corner as poor as all those that preceded, allowing Uxbridge to break with purpose and ended with Woods slotting O’Connor’s cut back wide from inside the box.
United’s goal continued to live a charmed life with Carter sending a shot wide across goal and O’Connor also off-target with an effort that hit the side netting, but it was Uxbridge’s leading scorer Carter who produced the most spectacular of misses, after 64 minutes.
The dangerous Abobaker Eisa made a long run down the left before cutting inside and hitting a shot that deflected off a defender to wrongfoot Oualah. Although it appeared goalbound, Carter arrived to somehow turn it over the vacant net from all of three yards.
Ricky Brown was then well stationed to clear off the line after substitute Shannon Jesson’s first involvement had been to inadvertently head backwards into the path of Carter who teed up his strike partner for a shot that Brown kept out.
For all the attempts against them, Aylesbury still had chances to level and on another day might have left with a point for their efforts.
Cameron had time to set himself for a long range shot and sent a low drive fizzing past the target, whilst goalkeeper Gray was a lucky man having opted to leave a Field effort that curled in and hit the inside of his near post as the Ducks hit the woodwork for the second time of the game.
The ball was scrambled behind for a corner kick, which Cameron this time delivered and found Alvin Rajaram whose flying header hit the bar as United were out of luck again.
As the game and the season drew to an end, the chances kept coming as both sides refused to let up.
A long clearance tempted Oualah from his line, only to be beaten by Woods who took the ball over him, but again Brown got back to clear at the death. Woods was given a second chance as he regained possession and crossed for Carter who rose above Jesson but headed over.
There was time for one last Oualah save, full back Ben Peden roaming forwards and as the defence opened up he slipped a pass through for Woods whose effort was beaten away by the Ducks stopper.
At the other end a decent free kick opportunity was fired straight into the wall by Wood, before a last minute corner kick was attacked by Oualah but ultimately struck another Aylesbury man on its way behind.
Again it wasn’t to be the greens’ afternoon, but what was essentially a meaningless end of season affair will have no ramifications. A long, hard season for all concerned, but number one aim of remaining in the Southern League has been achieved.