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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Aylesbury finally recorded their second away league win of the season with a reasonably safe win at struggling Barton Rovers, thanks to a brace from top scorer Glen Hawkins.

With the sad news that Liam Smyth is likely to miss the rest of the season due to his knee injury, the Ducks squad continues to be down to bare bones. It was depleted further still by the suspension of Ross Taylor, so Peterborough United youngster Darren Gourlay was drafted back into the squad.

Over the course of the season, United will have few first halves as dominant as they were at Sharpenhoe Road. It was therefore a mystery that they went into the half time break goalless after fashioning a number of clear cut chances.

The first of these came after just nine minutes when Mark Boyce delivered a fine first time cross, and with players seemingly queuing up to get on the end of it, Ben Stevens got the final connection but headed well wide.

Three minutes later Chris Marsh chased down a ball on the right flank before teeing up Matt Butler who shot wide from just inside the box.

Butler did rather better with his next effort on the quarter hour mark, firing in a curling effort which had Patching beaten all ends up but came back off the inside of the post, with the arriving Stevens unable to keep his footing and turn home the rebound.

Throughout the half it seemed only a matter of time before the away side would score, but Mealor had a shot blocked and a Gourlay free kick went over the bar as the chances kept evading the back of the net.

Barton's only real chance of the opening period came to Josh Sozzo, their only real attacking threat, the ex-Aylesbury man having a snapshot deflected over the bar.

United were denied by the left upright for a second time when Gourlay stole in on the end of Mealor's left wing cross and he thought he'd scored only to see his header cruelly rebound away.

Marsh had another two efforts on goal a ninety second spell, firstly collecting Mealor's cut back and firing in a curling effort which was nicked wide by a defender. Then, he attempted a volley which flew over the bar after the ball had looped up into his path.

The home side then had a rare shot when debutant Ryan Robb cut infield, but his shot was an act of desperation from some range and was straight down Vincent's throat.

As the half drew to a close, another dangerous ball in from Boyce was lost by the floundering goalkeeper causing a scramble from which Stevens shot over, before a shot from Alex O'Brien for Barton had to be watched carefully by Vincent but never asked serious questions of him.

Half-time: Barton 0-0 Aylesbury

Aylesbury took a while to get into their stride after the break, and whether their hosts had improved or the Ducks' performance levels decreased slightly is debatable, but they weren't as dominant as in the first period.

They did score the all important opener though, the goal coming nine minutes after the restart. Marsh was set away down the left and he passed to Hawkins in the area who did well to create enough space to shoot, squeezing the ball inside the near post and beyond Patching. 1-0 Aylesbury

The goal gave United the confidence they needed and they were soon on the attack again looking for a second to put the game out of the villagers' reach.

Marsh had a goal disallowed for offside a minute later, and Hawkins should have scored another thirty seconds on when Jones' excellent delivery found him in the area but he headed well wide.

As Aylesbury relaxed an element of complacency started to creep into their game and Barton had some spells of possession and posed a brief threat. Vincent wasn't called into serious action though, their best effort created by Sozzo's good work in holding up the ball and playing in O'Brien whose weak shot was easily gathered.

The Ducks were soon back pushing forwards though, Gourlay hooking a volley wide of the target after a long free kick fell his way. Mealor then drew a fine save out of Patching after an intelligent pass had put him clean through, the Barton stopper winning the one-to-one duel.

A second goal finally arrived five minutes from time. Marsh was again the provider, beating two men before driving to the byline and hanging up a perfect cross for Hawkins to head in his second of the game. 2-0 Aylesbury

With three points in the bag United unfortunately lost some of their focus in the final moments, and Barton were able to nip in and grab a consolation when Sozzo produced a clinical finish to keep up his strong scoring record against Aylesbury. 2-1 Aylesbury

It was too little too late as far as the home side were concerned though. The goal was barely greeted by a mumble from the home fans, who were vastly outnumbered by those in green and white, and the final whistle on a very satisfactory afternoon's work for Aylesbury quickly sounded.

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