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Match Report

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The much-delayed start to 2014 finally got underway as Aylesbury started the New Year with a satisfactory 0-0 draw against Potters Bar Town.

Given the circumstances though – the Ducks reduced to ten men on the stroke of half time after their red card number six of the season – it was a decent point which both sides worked hard to achieve.

Going into the game United’s squad was boosted by the return of Ben Baines and Jack Sillitoe after injuries, and Jason Blackett after suspension, but Steve Hatch missed out through illness and Richard Armstrong was still banned. Nonetheless, Tony Joyce had the luxury of being able to name a full substitutes bench without his own on the teamsheet.

Aside from the opening ten minutes or so, during which time the visitors were much the better side, the game was a fairly even affair, but the Ducks had to be the more satisfied at the final whistle given the numerical disadvantage.

Josh Hutchinson went close with a long shot after Cole Penny drifted infield and found him, whilst Finbarr Robins got the better of Jack Wood and Lee Grace in the area but scuffed a decent opening wide of the post. Against the run of play Jason Blackett also had a shot which he smashed over when the ball came back to him having levered it down from a free kick.

After George Kamurasi had punched away a dangerous Liam Smyth free kick, his opposite number Alex Tokarczyk made the game’s first meaningful save when he got down well to tip away a long shot from Penny, and his next action was far more routine as he held Hutchinson’s low effort after the resulting corner was half cleared to him.

Aylesbury had a great opportunity to edge in front on 25 minutes from another telling Smyth free kick which picked out the unmarked Jack Wood. The United skipper’s header was going wide but still met by the arriving Greg Williams who smacked the ball against the post from point blank range.

The remainder of the game was limited to long range attempts, with Aylesbury’s Stacey Field trying an audacious 30-yard first time effort just over the goal and motionless goalkeeper.

Chris Morgan broke the trend with a shot from closer in after some neat play by Hutchinson, but normal service was resumed when the latter brought the ball forward before executing a delicate chip just over the bar from 25-yards, whilst a well hit Greg Williams long drive was matched by an equally sound piece of handling by Kamurasi in between.

With seconds remaining before the break, Aylesbury’s task was made harder as Lee Grace, booked just two minutes earlier for a hard tackle, was shown his second yellow card for retaliating to a late challenge by Usama Hamdan, who was also booked.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Potters Bar

With Zack Reynolds dropping back into Grace’s right back slot, the Ducks lined up for the second half still retaining two strikers, not tempted to sit back and hold on for a point, and it was they who went close early on.

Smyth’s free kick found Blackett whose shot was clawed away and behind by Kamurasi. Three minutes later Smyth tried a curling effort which was routinely caught by the keeper.

Potters Bar, whilst seeing plenty of the ball, only had a wayward effort from left back Matt Clifford in the opening minutes of the half, and they were regularly guilty of giving the ball away with Daniel Jones intercepting one stray pass, scooping it on for Field whose low shot across goal was inches away from being turned in by the on running Jones.

At the other end a flowing move saw Robins fire over when he had players better placed in the box, but it was the 65th minute when the Scholars fashioned their best chance. Simms played a one-two to storm into the box and square for Hamdan who, with an open goal, somehow hit the post when it looked easier to score.

Another superb United free kick, Keith Williams the provider this time, then gave Blackett another chance, but as he went for placement the ball was tamely guided to Kamurasi.

The game continued in its end to end vein and a training ground corner kick routine by Potters Bar saw Sean Grace hammer the ball over from the edge of the box. They went closer still when substitute Toby Akin met the ball with a diving header that scraped the outside of the post with Tokarczyk fully extended.

Despite their chances, the on-loan Hemel Hempstead Town, goalkeeper, on his penultimate game for the Ducks, had no serious saves to make and his only notable action of the final ten minutes was to confidently catch an 86th minute corner.

In contrast, Aylesbury ended the match strongly, with Paul Edgeworth’s adding some late guile as he sprayed a typically cultured pass forward to Field who had to hurry his shot and slashed it wide. Then, in the last minute, Edgeworth’s corner was met by Wood but cleared away.

A well deserved point for the Ducks and a solid start to the year which they will now be looking to build on when travelling to St Ives Town next.

Minute by Minute Updates
  • Full Time FT: Aylesbury 0-0 Potters Bar - Decent point, hard earned in the circumstances
  • 90+2 Aylesbury corner. Wood guides Edgeworth's delivery goalwards but its cleared
  • 89 Edgeworth superb pass to release Field, had to hurry shot and slashes wide
  • 88 Edgeworth on for Keith Williams
  • 86 Potters Bar corner after deflected shot by Hutchinson. Caught by Tokarczyk
  • 83 Magwood on for Robins
  • 80 Reynolds booked
  • 79 Diving header from Akin scrapes the post with Tokarczyk fully extended
  • 76 Acheampong on for Blackett
  • 73 Potters Bar corner. Training ground routine to Grace who hammers just over
  • 71 Akin and Ailey on for Morgan and Hamdan
  • 69 Aylesbury corner. Delivered by Jones. Caught by Kamurasi
  • 67 Keith Williams superb free kick delivery, guided to the keeper rather softly by Blackett
  • 65 Simms plays one-two to storm into the box, lays it square for Hamdan who hits the post when its easier to score
  • 63 Potters Bar corner. Taken short to Penny but his low cross is cleared
  • 61 Baines on for Smyth
  • 60 Potters Bar free kick. Delivered from wide. Headed out
  • 59 Aylesbury free kick. Delivered from wide by Jones. Caught by Kamurasi
  • 57 Robins shoots over the bar after flowing move, had players better placed
  • 56 Jones intercepted a pass. Scooped it on for Field whose low shot was nearly turned in by the on running Jones
  • 53 Clifford with a selfish long ranger which is nowhere near
  • 51 Smyth with a curler held by the keeper
  • 49 Aylesbury corner. Delivered by Smyth. Comes to nothing
  • 48 Smyth free kick from the left. Runs to Blackett whose effort is clawed behind
  • 47 Potters Bar free kick. Delivered by Bowditch. Headed out by Wood
  • 47 Smyth yellow carded for challenge
  • Second half is underway, big half for the Ducks...
  • HT HT - Aylesbury 0-0 Potters Bar - Ducks made a slow start but more even after that, the red card is now the main talking point
  • 45 Grace second yellow for retaliating poor challenge from Hamdan who is also booked
  • 42 Grace booked
  • 41 Hutchinson brought the ball forward, delicate 25-yard chip drops just over
  • 34 Well struck long shot from Greg Williams, held by the keeper
  • 33 Morgan sends a shot wide after neat play from Hutchinson
  • 30 Kamurasi booked for dissent
  • 29 Aylesbury corner. Smyth delivers. Cleared away under pressure
  • 27 Field first time long shot just over the goal and motionless keeper. Audacious
  • 25 Blackett clipped on the left wing. Free kick
  • 25 Aylesbury free kick. Delivered by Smyth. Jack Wood free header heading wide. Williams then smacks it against the post!
  • 24 Potters Bar corner. Delivered by Morgan. Headed clear but eventually worked back to Hutchinson whose low shot easily held
  • 22 Long shot from Penny well tipped wide by Tokarczyk
  • 21 Harrison-Baker hooked volley wide after free kick dropped to him
  • 16 Field wins a corner. Delivered by Smyth. Comes to nothing
  • 15 Aylesbury free kick. Delivered by Jones. Well punched by the keeper under pressure from Morgan
  • 14 Handball wins the Ducks a free kick on the corner of the box...
  • 11 Robins gets the better of Wood and Grace, scuffs low shot wide of the right post
  • 7 Blackett smashes over after his lever down comes back to him after a free kick
  • 4 Penny drifted in field, squared for Hutchinson whose long shot is just wide
  • Pre-Match Team news: Steve Hatch misses out with illness, Jason Blackett back after suspension, Ben Baines and Jack Sillitoe on the bench after injury
  • Pre-Match We're underway as the Ducks kick off...