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The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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This game had been billed all week as a "six pointer" and "must win" match. You'd think therefore that the Ducks might have come out of the blocks looking slightly like they wanted to win the game. A bit of passion and enthusiasm wouldn't have gone amiss. Instead, it was Heybridge who took the fight to their hosts, and who were soon on top.

After two bookings inside five minutes, it became obvious that Mr Williams was one of the Ryman 'Whistle Happy' breed. Perhaps he was getting a new whistle for Christmas, and wanted to give the old one a good send off!

Heybridge fashioned the first opportunity after 9 minutes, as the lively Akpo Sodje found himself alone, after an aerial ball had caught the Ducks defence sleeping. Sodje brought the ball down well, but his well struck shot was straight at Chris Day.

By now the referee was in full swing, blowing his whistle at every opportunity, and as much as possible. I counted almost a 30 second gap between whistle blows on one occasion!

The Ducks started to play as they can, and create some chances. Joe Baker broke free down the left, but his cross was useful only for the Heybridge defence. Soon after a good move set Campion on his way, but his left-footed cross went flying out of the stadium.

The referee was still at it, merrily blowing his whistle at every given chance. Swifts' Danny Barber was booked for an off the ball incident. Imagine the whistle blower's delight 4 minutes later, when a Heybridge forward wriggled into the box, before being felled by McGrath. He blew, and he blew, and he blew...And then he pointed to the spot :( Cue Paul Abrahams to attempt to break Pete Ash's net with a thunderous penalty. 1-0 Heybridge

Up to this point the Ducks had been a shambles. Passes were going astray, and chances going begging, so it was a delightful surprise when they found themselves level in just over a minute. Kezie Ibe on a trademark run was hauled over. Prime Maskell territory...Memories of the Enfield game come flooding back (If you really can't remember, click here) This time though, Maskell's superb curling shot was saved by the keeper, but spilled into the path of that player-who-hadn't-really-yet-scored-for-Aylesbury, Danny Gordon. A goal! What joy! 1-1

The joy turned to ecstasy just 3 minutes later, as Buckingham Road witnessed one of the greatest goals so far this season. In a flowing move, the Ducks went from one end of the pitch to the other, breaking with pace and precision. A Kezie Ibe run led to the ball being spread to Craig Maskell, who in turn spread it wide to Greg Williams. His early whipped cross was met by the on-rushing Maskell, who was allowed to turn and fire an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. A fantastic goal. 2-1 Aylesbury

Aylesbury were (finally) running the show, and, as is usually the way, everything they did went through Craig Maskell. As the half wore on, he managed to have another two efforts on goal. The first was a weakly hit shot, which the dodgy Heybridge keeper still managed to spill. The second was more convincing, as a clever ball from Baker released Maskell who cut inside, but mis-hit his shot.

Half-time: 2-1 Aylesbury

In the second half you may, like me, have been expecting Heybridge to come out all guns blazing. This just didn't happen though, and it was the Ducks who continued their assualt on the visitor's goal. In fact, right from the first minute it was Aylesbury who attacked. An excellent Campion cross was left as no Aylesbury player was anywhere near getting their head on the ball.

4 minutes later and it was the same story. The excellent Rory Hunter won the ball in midfield, before giving it to Maskell. The great man then delivered an excellent cross, but again there was no attacker in sight.

The Ducks suffered an injury blow after 5 minutes, as Kezie Ibe made way for Chris Bangura.

Ibe's withdrawal seemed to have no impact on the home side though, as Bangura's first contribution was a great run, which turned the Heybridge defence inside out, before crossing the ball. This time Maskell was waiting, but couldn't quite stretch far enough to turn the ball home.

After another Maskell effort, the referee decided he hadn't done anything for a while, and proceeded to pull out a needless yellow card for Adam Campion.

By now, Heybridge had been made to look very poor, and couldn't influence the game in any way or form. Another cross from the Ducks flank was met by Rory Hunter at the near post, but his bundled effort rolled across the goal line, before being cleared.

With the game entering the final 15 minutes, the Ducks looked to tighten up by replacing Campion with Risbridger.

The game suddenly went into overdrive, as Heybridge started to come forward, without looking like threatening the solid Ducks backline. It was end-to-end stuff from here until the final whistle (and yes, it was some whistle!)

Steve McGrath got his marching orders with 10 minutes remaining, for a horribly mis-timed challenge. Had he not already been booked, a straight red may have been many ref's view of the incident. The dismissal did allow for new signing Paul Ellis to make his debut at centre back though.

The game ended with Heybridge pouring more and more forward, but their attacking was unable to make any real impact upon the Ducks. And just for good measure, the referee booked Leon Hunter.

So a valuable 3 points for the Ducks, we are now on a 4 match winning run, and unbeaten in 7! And we've scaled the dizzy heights of 14th in the table...Not bad going for an afternoon.