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Match Report

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An 87th minute goal condemned Aylesbury to defeat in their first home match of the new season, as newly promoted AFC Dunstable left Bell Close with all three points.

Dunstable had started life in the Premier Division with a bang and 6-0 thrashing of Hanwell on the Saturday, so this always looked like a tough encounter, but Aylesbury were boosted by the return from holiday of Ben Baines as Enzo Silvestri made way for him.

It was the Ducks who settled quickly, and for the opening third of the game it was Aylesbury who were the better side, though they had little to show for their efforts.

In the 7th minute Micky O’Farrell saw a shot deflected behind for a corner kick, from which Tom Barnett fired well over. O’Farrell was looking sharp in the early stages, and two minutes later he produced a sharp turn and cross where Stacey Field should have done better than heading wide from close range.

It was O’Farrell again in the thick of the action seconds later when he ghosted past his man on the counter attack but saw his low cross-shot gathered in on the near post.

Aylesbury were then presented the perfect opportunity to take the lead when Baines was bundled over in the box trying to get on the end of Field’s delivery for a clear penalty. O’Farrell stepped up, but his spot kick was too close to Nick Gardner and saved, yet a tap on the rebound which dropped straight to him would have sent it into the unguarded net. Unfortunately, the Ducks’ forward struck the ball with all the power he could muster and skied it well over the crossbar.

As United tried to regroup following that miss, Dunstable had their first meaningful shot on goal from Courtney Massey who tried a long range half-volley, but he couldn’t keep it down and the ball sailed out of the stadium.

A couple more half chances came the way of Aylesbury, with O’Farrell striking a decent effort from 25-yards which just fizzed over the target, then Baines turning well but only shooting straight at Gardner.

As the half had gone on, Dunstable had been increasing in confidence and their passing game had become more and more evident as their passes began to find their targets.

Yet the goal which opened the scoring was still something of a bolt from the blue. Craig Butler received the ball 30-yards from goal in acres of space, and as he wasn’t closed down chanced his arm with a long range strike which crept past the despairing dive of Sillitoe and nestled in the bottom corner. 1-0 Dunstable

A minute later and it could easily have been two. Sillitoe lost the flight of a right wing cross but just did enough to keep the ball away from Jon Barnett, who was waiting to head into the empty net.

Dunstable’s lead only lasted six minutes though, as Aylesbury managed to haul themselves level before the break. The ball dropped to Warren Garcia in the box after a throw-in, and he volleyed in superbly off the post. 1-1

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-1 AFC Dunstable

The second half started in end to end fashion and continued as such until the final whistle, providing plenty of entertainment for the neutrals amongst the healthy crowd.

Dunstable had the first effort when BJ Christie struck a powerful left-footed effort but the angle was always against him and it flew behind the goal. At the other end three minutes later Baines also shot wide following a blocked Field shot which came about from Barnett’s free-kick.

Bustling forward Christie was at the heart of most of the visitors’ attacks, and it was he who produced a good turn and shot from a throw-in which wasn’t very far away as it travelled all the way across goal and wide.

A deflected chipped pass over the defence then put Christie in but somehow Sillitoe got fingertips on his shot from 6-yards out, which was enough to take the sting off its pace allowing Mulholland to scrape the ball off the line at the last second.

Daniel Jones, continuing in his makeshift left-back role, then also had a great chance from 6-yards out when, having played a neat one-two with Baines, he received the ball back but could only stab it wide under pressure.

The free flowing second half was only disrupted by a couple of bouts of handbags, following a late and a heavy challenge by Dunstable’s James Potter and Aylesbury’s Tom Barnett respectively, following which four players entered the referee’s notebook.

Mulholland and Baines both had chances for the Ducks, but as the game entered its final third, Aylesbury were looking ever more tired whereas Dunstable continued to grow in stature and exhibited a freshness United just couldn’t match.

Aylesbury introduced Vinny Shrieves and Enzo Silvestri but were unable to turn the tide which suggested only one side were capable of finding a winner.

Potter slammed a shot into the side netting after being set up by some good trickery and a pass from Massey, then, following another sustained spell of pressure which yielded two corners, Massey himself saw a shot from a tight angle deflected behind by Jones.

Christie had another shot on the turn fly wide when a clever free-kick was rolled into him, catching the Ducks cold, and as the 85 minute mark passed it looked like Aylesbury had done enough to secure a draw.

The visitors had other ideas though and took home all three points with their late goal. Substitute Lee Hayward, quite possibly with his first touch, rode his way to the byeline before squeezing in a shot which squirmed past Sillitoe to the goal-line. Despite Jones’ best efforts – he crashed the ball into his own net in any case – the linesman was already flagging to signal the goal and it was game over for United. 2-1 AFC Dunstable

With only seconds remaining on the clock, Aylesbury were unable to force another chance and left the field dejectedly.

The Ducks will now have to pick themselves up quickly as attention is turned to the FA Cup and the Sunday visit of Bracknell Town. If they have genuine hopes of success this season, they need to produce quality performances for the whole 90 minutes, as opposed to this game where the levels dropped off badly as the match went on.

Minute by Minute Updates


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Spotted in the stands, former Aylesbury midfielder Mark Jones

And we're underway at Bell Close

Aylesbury same as Saturday but Field on the left wing and Baines in up front instead of the benched Silvestri

6. Jon Barnett free-kick from distance easily held by Sillitoe
7. O'Farrell shot deflected behind for a corner after long clearance down field
7. The resulting corner dropped to Tom Barnett 40-yards out but he fired well over
9. Great turn by O'Farrell from King's throw. Field headed his cross wide from close range, should have done better
10. O'Farrell just ghosted past his man on the counter. Low cross/shot gathered in on near post
16. PENALTY for Aylesbury won by Baines. Brilliant play by Field to deliver the ball into the box having been fed by Garcia
MISSED by O'Farrell... well it was saved, then he blasted over the bar from 3-yards with the goal gaping!!
20. Ball played inside to Massey who half-volleyed out of the stadium from long range
24. Good effort from O'Farrell, fizzing 25-yard shot which went just over the bar
30. Smart turn and shot from Baines. Straight at the keeper though
34. GOAL! 1-0 AFC Dunstable. Good long range strike from Butler right into the bottom corner past Sillitoe's dive. Not closed down at all though
35. Cross came in, lost by Sillitoe. Luckily Jon Barnett couldn't get enough on his header to direct it in
39. Field shot blocked after ball dropped to him in the box after Jones' free-kick
40. GOAL! 1-1 - Superb Garcia volley in off the post as the ball dropped to him in the box
42. BJ Christie booked for persistent fouling
43. Counter attack ended with King hitting an ambitious effort from range well over

HT. 1-1. Entertaining game between two good footballing sides

HT Sub for Dunstable: Moses Olaleye on for Capehorn

2. Christie with a powerful left footed effort but always wide and flew behind the goal
5. Baines shot wide following a blocked Field shot. All started by a Tom Barnett free-kick
6. Good turn and shot from Christie at a throw-in, not far away as it went all the way across goal
10. Deflected pass over the defence dropped to Christie. 6-yard shot superb save from Sillitoe to claw the ball away before Mulholland scraped it off the line at the last second
11. Jones shot wide also from 6-yards after linking up excellently with Baines
12. Bit of handbags after poor challenge on Jones by Potter
Both players booked
13. Mullholland blasted over the bar after the keeper completely lost Jones' free-kick as a result
This game is end to end and wide open!
20. Great counter ended eventually with Baines hooking a volley over the bar from a tight angle
20. Substitution for Aylesbury: Shrieves for O'Farrell
23. Free header afforded to Dunstable at a corner, headed straight at Sillitoe
24. Long run from Terry ended with his shot over the bar
25. Handbags again, this time after a 'heavy' challenge from Tom Barnett
Both players booked again
27. Potter slammed a shot into the side netting after being set up by good trickery and a pass by Massey
29. Dunstable sub: Harvey for Jon Barnett
31. The Ducks are looking tired, lots of pressure from the visitors as they force 2 corners
31. Aylesbury sub: Silvestri for Townsend
33. Massey strike deflected behind from tight angle by Jones
37. Long range shot from Field easily fielded by the keeper
38. Dunstable sub: Hayward for Terry
39. Low free kick rolled into Christie. Shot on turn wide
42. GOAL! 2-1 AFC Dunstable. Own goal as Hayward worked his way to the byeline, Jones could only turn his low cross into the net from on the line

FT. Aylesbury 1-2 AFC Dunstable. Probably the right result, Ducks second best for the last twenty minutes or so