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Match Report

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Aylesbury?s ?relegation? from the Southern League was confirmed with a disheartening 5-1 defeat at Soham Town Rangers.

Since their win at Sutton Coldfield, United have struggled away from Bell Close and, despite having a spell in the ascendancy when they could have taken the lead, in the end it was a disappointingly comfortable result for the home side.

Soham themselves are much improved from the relegation-threatened team they seemed to be in the first half of the season, and manager Ian Benjamin can take great credit for galvanising his troops so much so that they went through nine games of March with just one defeat.

The home side had their first effort inside the opening minute when the dangerous Dubi Ogbonna turned Kevin Ayodele inside out before thundering a shot against the crossbar.

It was an early warning that Aylesbury didn?t heed, and Ogbonna went close again six minutes later when he fizzed a shot past the post having peeled away from his marker.

The obligatory early goal was conceded by the Ducks on seven minutes. United were unable to clear their lines at a corner kick and the ball eventually found its way to Deakan Napier who made no mistake with a powerful finish from close range. 1-0 Soham

Soham kept up the pressure and Ashleigh James did well to head the ball behind under pressure from another teasing Napier right-wing cross.

United?s only response was a 30-yard effort from Ashley Harewood which had the power but not the direction to beat Jamie Chamberlain in goal. Harewood had earlier had a shooting chance in the area without being able to get a shot away.

There was a definite swing in momentum though and the Ducks started to come into the game more at this point, but once again were only looking a genuine threat from set pieces.

Lewis McBride delivered a superb free-kick from the right which evaded Harewood at the near post but Scott Carter nearly put through his own net, instead just turning the ball behind.

From the resulting corner kick McBride?s delivery was met with a towering header from Robert Bartley which brought the scores level. 1-1

As the game settled down, a big turning point came in the 28th minute when McBride did brilliantly to ride three challenges on the halfway line before breaking clean through for goal. Unfortunately the ball bobbled unkindly at the end meaning he skied his finish with only Chamberlain to beat.

Soham took note of the let off and almost immediately reinstated their lead. Ogbonna?s low cross was very nearly turned into his own net by Bartley, but as United once again failed to clear their lines properly a ball back into the box from Simpson was little more than hopeful but deflected off Bartley to wrong foot Sillitoe and trickle into the net. 2-1 Soham

More good work down the right by the hosts ended with Ogbonna hammering a shot over from the edge of the box after Richard Gammon had got to the byline and cut the ball back.

But his side didn?t have to wait long for a third as Aylesbury?s vulnerability from set plays was exposed again. Napier?s delivery was met cleanly by Gammon who easily headed into the net. 3-1 Soham

That was it for the first half, and staring at a two-goal deficit it looked likely that was it for the game as far as Aylesbury were concerned.

Half-time: Soham 3-1 Aylesbury

Kevin Ayodele was forced off injured at half-time and replaced by Jamie O?Grady, but United continued to struggle. McBride saw an early shot charged down early but there were few highlights for the travelling fans to enjoy.

An early goal from Thomas Liberatadore well and truly killed off the game as he met a left sided corner kick with a header which rattled the crossbar, and as the defence stood and watched he fired home the rebound. 4-1 Soham

Tony Joyce spoke before the match of the need for Aylesbury to improve their defending as a team, but clearly that is something that can?t happen overnight and on this evidence the team?s defensive set pieces need plenty of work with three of the five goals coming from corners.

Jon Montgomery had a rare Aylesbury shot at goal with a long-range volley which he caught nicely, but it was straight down the throat of Chamberlain who was having a quiet evening in goal.

Five minutes later and Soham were back on the attack with Callum Reed coming inside of O?Grady before playing a low hard cross which squirmed all the way across goal, and with Ogbonna lurking eventually hit the post before rebounding back to the grateful Sillitoe.

Aylesbury then had their best moment of the second half as Clarke came in from the left. His initial shot was saved on the near post by Chamberlain and as the ball broke for the sliding Harewood he managed to save again.

The game continued to be an open affair, and Napier attacked at will again down the right, beat O?Grady before having a shot turned wide at the near post from which a penalty box melee ensued at the following corner kick.

Soham saved the best for last though by scoring a slick counter-attacking goal in the 80th minute to round off their night. Napier broke down the right before playing in Ogbonna inside who in turn picked out the arriving Simpson who struck a fierce effort into the net which left Sillitoe no chance. 5-1 Soham

The match still had some mileage left in it, and McBride curled a decent effort wide for Aylesbury before Ogbonna saw two shots blocked in quick succession for Soham. Then, right at the death, a crazy bout of penalty area pinball saw three United players take a stab at the ball but somehow the home side kept it out.

In the end it was as comfortable a win for Soham as Aylesbury?s defending had deserved and they must now regroup again going into the final two games of the season.