The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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Aylesbury earned their fourth point of the week with a 2-2 draw at Atherstone Town, and concluded a seven-day period which had seen them add a third of their tally for the whole season which now stands at 12.

It was a hard fought encounter from start to finish and United had to dig deep at times to secure the result against an Adders? side who had been showing improved form of late under new manager Dale Belford.

United have finally found a settled team, and for the third successive fixture named the same starting eleven (albeit with shirt number changes) and the familiarity is certainly paying dividends throughout the team.

Atherstone started the strongest and should have twice been ahead in the opening minutes after first Tom Weale fired well over having had time to set himself in the box after Toms? clearance dropped to him.

Then, a couple of minutes later, Ashleigh James got in an excellent block in the box to deny Grant Roscorla?s effort.

Aylesbury began to creep into proceedings as the minutes ticked on, and with their first meaningful attack opened the scoring. Nash?s free-kick delivery into the box was headed on by Taylor and met with a fabulous acrobatic volley by Robert Bartley which gave Woakes no chance. 1-0 Aylesbury

The Adders came close to responding when midfielder Luke Keen flicked a header across goal from a dangerous inswinging corner kick, with deliveries into the Aylesbury area regularly causing a problem as the gusting wind got hold of the ball.

Midway through the half United were forced into a change with Mark Toms forced out of the game with an apparent muscle strain. His replacement was Kevin Ayodele who slotted into the left-wing position as Aylesbury shuffled their pack, Rickelle Christian dropping into defence and Paul Nash pressed into action as an emergency centre-back.

The changes didn?t seem to affect Aylesbury?s stride as they were still buoyed by the opening goal, and very nearly had a second on 26 minutes. Taylor did well to win the ball and his driven cross-shot was turned goalwards by Pringle from 5-yards out but he saw his effort blocked by a defender.

As the half wore on, the home side began to grow in stature once more and Sillitoe did well to keep out another wind-assisted free-kick.

Two minutes later and Atherstone had found an equaliser when Keen?s shot from distance was parried by Sillitoe only as far as Stuart Hendrie who managed to guide home the rebound past Nash and the stranded keeper. 1-1

The turnaround was completed after just five further minutes, with Hendrie again the man on target. A free-kick was flicked on by Simeon Smith and Hendrie tucked the ball into the net from close in. 2-1 Atherstone

Aylesbury refused to lie down though and forced the issue heading into first half stoppage time. Pringle?s goal bound header was cleared behind for a corner after Woakes lost the ball, and from the resulting set piece McBride found the big striker lurking on the edge of the box and his first time hit snuck through the crowded area and past the unsighted keeper into the net. 2-2

Half-time: Atherstone 2-2 Aylesbury

Quite where four goals had come from was the main talking point at half time after an opening period which had lacked quality as both sides struggled to create chances.

The second half was even worse though as the game quickly degenerated into a scrappy contest.

Aylesbury started well though and could have re-established the lead early on when Pringle harried the last defender into losing the ball, and seeing Woakes off his line went for a chip but didn?t get enough purchase on it and the keeper was able to save.

Chances were few and far between but it was the home side who had the better of them as Keen swivelled on the ball but fired his shot well wide on the hour mark.

United seemed to be losing the midfield battles they had been winning before the interval and despite working hard the Adders were definitely in the ascendency.

The best move of the game came from the home side as Roscorla played a slick one-two to get himself into a shooting position, but didn?t have a finish to match as the ball went sailing over the bar.

Smith then tried an ambitious effort, taking the ball out of the sky with a first time volley but he could only find orbit.

Todd Perry then followed suit, lashing an effort over the bar as a free-kick was headed on to him, but his blushes were saved as he was adjudged to have been offside anyway by the linesman.

Atherstone continued for the remainder of the match on top, but the best they had to show for their efforts was a free-kick from the edge of the box which Hendrie bent over the bar.

The Ducks continued to defend doggedly, as they had done throughout the game, and on the whole deserved the point which arrived after a lengthy period of stoppage time for another fully committed display.