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Match Report

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Report courtesy of Ian Pluck

Following a bruising encounter at Marlow last Saturday, Tony Joyce rested a number of players as he rotated his squad for the visit of in-form Daventry Town. The midfield was completely changed, with Ben Baines, Greg Williams and Richard Armstrong returning to the starting line up, joining Jack Wood who started the game in an unfamiliar left sided role. Zack Reynolds replaced Keith Williams at left back, with Dom Petrucci and Jason Blackett starting up front in place of Stacey Field and Paul Edgeworth. It is a measure of the strength of the squad that the bench consisted of top scorer Stacey Field, Liam Smyth, Paul Edgeworth, Lee Grace and Keith Williams.

Daventry have a number of games in hand on the teams at the top of the league, thanks to a number of postponements due to an extended FA Cup run and bad weather. With only 4 defeats so far in the league, this always promised to be a hard match for the Ducks, and so it proved. The visitors passed the ball around well, and at times their running off the ball was joy to watch. It was the visitor’s Luke Keen who had the first opportunity of the match in the 4th minute, seeing his shot from the edge of the box rebound down from the underside of the bar and away to safety. The Ducks were forced to reshuffle the team when Shane Wood was forced off injured after 25 minutes, brother Jack moving back to play alongside Bill Morgan, with Keith Williams coming on at left back and Reynolds moving forward to the left side of midfield. Straight from the restart after the substitution, Dom Petrucci collected a long goal kick from Sillitoe, cut inside his defender but dragged his shot wide from 20 yards. Daventry had a firm grip on the midfield; Ross Oulton sent a long pass forward which Steve Hatch could only divert to livewire striker Keen, whose powerful shot was diverted for a corner by Sillitoe. Four minutes later, a Richard Armstrong pass was misjudged by former Ducks loanee Liam Dolman, but Jason Blackett could only send his shot high and wide of the target. In the last minute before the break, the home defence was stretched again. Husband cut in from the left flank and shot from 20 yards. Sillitoe was again a match for his effort, at the expense of another corner. Tom James delivery was met by Adam Confue on the volley, but was cleared off the line. Just as half time was looming, Daventry finally found the breakthrough. A ball forward to Keen saw him find a yard of space on the edge of the area, this time his shot was well placed to beating the despairing dive of Sillitoe and give his side the lead.

The second half started much in the same vein as the first. A James free kick, awarded after Greg Williams had picked up a yellow card, was played short to full back Ashley Deeney. His cross was headed clear, but only as far as James Husband who had a shot deflected, which Sillitoe did well to push away for a corner. With Daventry on top, 2 minutes later Keen had a chance to extend the lead. Confue laid the ball into his path, but his shot from 15 yards brought a great save from the busy home keeper. Two minutes later, Ashley Robinson found his strike partner Keen breaking down the left. After beating Hatch and cutting inside, he squared the ball back towards Robinson, but Ben Baines tracking back from midfield made a great saving tackle. It took until the 68th minute for the Ducks to put together their best move of the match. Edgeworth, just on as a substitute picked the ball up in his own half. He played a one-two with Blackett, then found fellow sub Stacey Field on the edge of the box. He in turn played Edgeworth in, but his shot from 18 yards was well saved by visiting keeper Morris. From the corner, Wood met the ball on the volley 6 yards out but couldn’t keep the shot down. In truth it was the nearest Aylesbury were to come to scoring all night. Daventry extended their lead in the 80th minute. A free kick was awarded 35 yards out, which was taken while defence was still being organised. Oulton’s cross was headed onto the bar by Keen, but as the ball rebounded to him his goal bound shot seemed to be cleared off the line by Wood but unfortunately the ball appeared to have gone in off the body of Robinson who was following up. Both strikers claimed the goal, but it has officially been awarded to Keen. Two minutes later, good hold up play by Blackett found Steve Hatch breaking forward. Unfortunately his shot from the edge of the penalty area was too high to trouble Morris.

That was the last meaningful action of the game, as the Daventry bench made a couple of late substitutions to slow the game down. In truth, this was a dominant display by the visitors who will surely be in the reckoning for promotion when they have played their games in hand. Certainly Aylesbury will need to up their game when they travel to play the return match next Tuesday. Before that though, on Saturday another home match against Egham Town, when the Ducks will be hoping to get back to winning ways, although the visitors ae themselves on a fine run at the moment, winning their last 7 matches.