The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report



Aylesbury United, still looking for their first win under Paul Curtis, travelled on their penultimate trip into Essex to face a Grays side unbeaten in the league at the Recreation Ground this season. In fact, Grays have only lost three times at home this term, and one of those was against us in the Trophy back in November.

Once again, there were changes in the United line-up. Enforced changes saw Rory Hunter, Jay Gould and Greg Williams ruled out through injury. There were welcome returns for defenders Daniel Gordon and Matt Hayward, however, and Alvin Bubb and Lewis Pritchard returned from absence to the bench.

There was a further twist to the team though, as Aylesbury made a substitution prior to kick-off, with Alvin Bubb replacing defender Adam Garner. The assumption being that Garner had been injured in the warm-up.

The first half was rather scrappy, with Grays seeing plenty of the ball without creating the chances to justify their posession. Jack Rashid had to be alert early on, rushing out to close down Ran Marwa before he could get a shot on goal.

Alvin Bubb then came close to opening the scoring, with a well crafted right-footed shot, which dipped onto the crossbar, and cruelly rebounded away.

Matt Hayward used his experience to mop up another Grays attack, after Lloyd Opara headed the ball beyond Rashid. Hayward was there to see of the danger though.

Opara missed an excellent chance to give the home side the lead, on 22 minutes, as he headed a decent cross well over the bar.

As both sides struggled in the windy conditions, there was no further incident until half-time approached. Eddie Youds headed a corner on for Danny Hayzelden to head against the bar.

Half-time: Grays 0-0 Aylesbury

The second half began with a bang, as Rashid made a great save to deny Marwa's effort. Matt Hayward was withdrawn early in the second half, and replaced by Dean Powles. The veteran defender was suffering concussion after an earlier collision with Grays keeper Mel Capleton.

The game started to become more open, as both sides pressed forward. For Aylesbury Daniel Mead drilled a low free-kick just wide of the post, after Marwa had fouled Bubb. Ellis Remy got clear down the right-side of Rashid's area, but he fired his effort way over the bar.

Grays were becoming visibly frustrated, and Remy's poor effort was his last action of the match, as he was replaced by hot-shot Freddie Eastwood.

The change couldn't affect what was to happen next though, as Aylesbury took the lead. Slack defending from the home side allowed Jamie Moss to receive the ball on the right-wing, cut back onto his left-foot, and deliver a pin-point cross for the waiting Ryan Wiffin, who's bullet header was only set for goal. 1-0 Aylesbury

Grays were truly rattled, and Alvin Bubb turned his marker and had a shot, which was easily gathered by Capleton.

The home side, bouyed by the arrival of Eastwood, equalised just seven minutes after Wiffin scored. A low cross from Hayzelden was turned in by the waiting Opara to level the scores. 1-1

Aylesbury looked physically and mentally exhausted, and Grays increased the heat on their visitors. Eastwood cut inside and fired a powerful effort, which Rashid had to turn wide. Opara then had a weak effort, which drifted wide of the near post.

Unfortunately, and perhaps inevitibly, the intense Grays pressure eventually told and Aylesbury's young team gave way. Again Eastwood was involved, delivering a near perfect cross for substitute Dean Bradshaw to head goalwards, and over Rashid for the winner. 2-1 Grays

Aylesbury brought on Lewis Pritchard late on, but there wasn't time for him to make an impact, and the Ducks had to settle for a disappointing defeat.