The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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Aylesbury were rewarded for their long trip to Lincolnshire with a win, thanks to Daniel Mead's fine free-kick just before half-time.

United, without injured striker Leon Gutzmore, kept faith in Kevin Mealor as partner for Luke Melisi up front, whilst Ben Stevens replaced the unavailable Gareth Linnard in midfield. Nick Leach returned from injury so Nathan Liburd dropped to the bench.

The fierce wind coupled with an uneven and bumpy surface didn't help the match as a spectacle, but it was an entertaining encounter nonetheless (unless you're a Spalding fan, probably).

The Tulips started on top, and Neil Thorpe wriggled his way into the area early on but placed his low shot wide of the far post.

Aylesbury then began to get a foothold in the game and Liam Smyth came mighty close to opening the scoring after just nine minutes when he received the ball from Mealor and crashed a shot off the crossbar.

Four minutes later Enzo Silvestri should have done better having been picked out by Smyth's cross from a half-cleared corner, but he headed straight at keeper Simon Daniel's from 5-yards.

As the visitors began to dominate proceedings, Mealor went close with a curling effort after he was given far too much time and space on the ball.

Silvestri had another great chance, still inside the opening fifteen minutes, after Ben Stevens had powered his way to the byline before cutting the ball back, but his captain slotted wide.

After that burst of domination, the game became more even for a time and certainly wasn't as eventful for the remainder of the half.

As he had been at Bell Close last month, Danny Hargreaves was by some distance Spalding's best player, and he provided the cross which Dan Cotton headed goalwards - only for Daniel Mead to block en route to goal. That was to be Spalding's closest effort of the game.

Just before the half hour point Silvestri spurned another decent chance, this time after Melisi had challenged the keeper - fairly in the referee's eyes - but as the ball fell to the midfielder he shot wide.

Mealor was unlucky not to score soon after when Stevens retrieved the ball in midfield, before the makeshift striker unleashed a fierce effort which Daniels did well to tip over.

Aylesbury finally broke the deadlock two minutes before the break. Daniel Mead produced a top drawer free-kick from the edge of the area, which found the top-left corner and left Daniels nowhere. 1-0 Aylesbury

The Ducks felt they should have been awarded a penalty right on the interval, after Melisi had outpaced his defender he seemed to have been pulled back, but Mr Barnes wasn't interested.

Half-time: Spalding 0-1 Aylesbury

The Greens started well after the break, a number of dangerous crosses being played into the box, but it was the home side who had the first meaningful effort when the ball was slipped into Thorpe, but he shot well over.

Mead went close with another free-kick, but he was thwarted by a newly appointed 'man on the line' who stopped the ball on its way in. The ball fell to the left-back again, but his volley sailed out of the ground.

Despite the encouragement of some vociferous grandstand occupants, Spalding just didn't have it in them to assert any serious pressure on Aylesbury's goal, and Tom Vincent didn't have a save to make.

The home side even tried throwing on an additional striker in Tom Gosling for the best part of half an hour, but they still made little impression on United's rock solid defence, the entire back four superb throughout.

Instead, as is so often the way, it was Aylesbury who looked more of a threat, with the pace of Melisi particularly dangerous on the counter-attack.

One such move saw Smyth play a low ball forward for Melisi to run onto, but as he broke free he could only find the side netting with his left-footed effort.

In the 85th minute Silvestri summed up his afternoon in front of goal, by seeing a penalty kick, awarded after a United player had been crudely hacked down, saved by Daniels.

It mattered little, as Spalding's only remaining threat was a couple of corner kicks - the latter of which even goalkeeper Daniels came up for, but the delivery barely even reached the penalty area.

Spalding's evident frustration lead to some handbags in the closing stages, which Daniels comically charged from his goal to get involved in, four players shown yellow cards for their involvements.

All that remained was for full-time to be shown and much celebration from the travelling players after a well deserved and important three points.