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Match Report

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Aylesbury stopped the rot of two disappointing displays in defeat with an improved performance and a well deserved goalless draw against Northwood.

The Ducks were keen to put in an improved showing having been humbled at Barton Rovers and Aylesbury FC, whilst the visitors needed a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, and were confident on the back of a 2-1 win over table toppers Rugby Town.

Tony Joyce made two changes to the side, as Bill Morgan and Shane Wood returned to the starting lineup, and opted for an experimental looking formation that saw Steve Hatch play in a more advanced attacking midfielder role, behind lead striker Stacey Field who was flanked by Paul Edgeworth and Joey Acheampong.

Despite the lack of goals, the match was an entertaining, end to end affair, although neither keeper was seriously tested despite the creation of some clear cut openings.

The Ducks had the better of the first half chances, starting in the second minute when Jack Wood flicked on a Keith Williams free kick but Berkley Laurencein in goal easily claimed the ball.

Five minutes later left back Keith Williams fired a first time rising drive over the bar as the ball broke to him, before Hatch should have done better a minute later when Edgeworth helped the ball into his path but he shot straight at the keeper with the whole goal to aim at.

The industrious Liam Smyth struggled to find his passing range at times during the first period, but he set up United’s best chance of the half when his ball released Field who could only scuff a shot straight at Laurencein.

Northwood responded with their first opportunity as Joakim Ehui fed Niko Muir who knocked the ball down to Dave Lawrence but his weak effort lacked the power or direction to beat Jack Sillitoe. The Woods striker was later taken off injured just before the interval and replaced by former Aylesbury FC winger Jerome Federico.

Seven minutes later some alert defending by the excellent Shane Wood saw him get to a low cross just ahead of Lawrence and sweep away, and five minutes later he was at it again, blocking the shot of George Nicholas who had been found by an intelligent through ball.

At the other end Field teed up Greg Williams whose guided shot was again straight at Laurencein, whilst Hatch saw a shot blocked by a defender and a further long range effort from Keith Williams was held by the keeper.

Jack Wood was first to a 38th minute Paul Edgeworth corner but couldn’t get over the ball enough to keep it under the crossbar, before the game swung to the other goal and a free kick was flicked on by Muir who had got there ahead of Morgan but Sillitoe was able to easily claim.

The United keeper was then a relieved man when, having raced from his line to clear poorly, Ehui volleyed well wide of his vacant goal, as was Laurencein in the opposite goal as Keith Williams’ clearance nearly caught him out but dropped onto the roof of the net.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Northwood

With both sides continuing to attack, the second half was just as eventful and a Liam Smyth long shot was flicked straight into the waiting keeper’s arms after just three minutes.

Clear cut chances weren’t in such ready supply after the break, but Northwood wasted a free kick opportunity from the edge of the box which Oliver Sprague took straight into the wall. After one of numerous counter attacks Smyth then poked the ball clear after Muir had beaten Sillitoe from a tight angle, and when it was worked back to Nicholas his lack of composure saw the ball crashed wide.

Northwood were always a threat on the break, and with the addition of the pace of Federico that danger was only heightened. His classy dummy allowed Karl Oliyide to scamper free of the defence but he fired over from his angled shooting position.

Within seconds play was switched and with a well placed pass Field slotted Hatch through but he pulled his shot wide across goal.

The game went further to and fro, Federico intercepting the ball and showing good technique in a volley that flew narrowly over, before Federico and then Acheampong in subsequent counter moves found no joy as the breathless nature of the match continued.

The clearest sighting of goal for Aylesbury fell to Smyth in the 78th minute, Field moving out wide before cutting the ball back for Smyth whose weak effort was never beating Laurencein.

Muir was then a hair’s breadth away from opening the scoring as he took a pass from James Duncan before drilling an effort wide of Sillitoe – and the upright – with the keeper rooted to the spot.

Nicholas’s wayward shooting showed no sign of improvement when Oliyide levered the ball down and he blazed over, before Federico played the same man through in stoppage time but Sillitoe was out quickly to save at his feet.

Prior to that, Edgeworth had gone for goal with a low free kick that beat the wall but not Laurencein, to ensure the game remained goalless and the sides had to be content with a point, a result which would make Aylesbury the happier of the two teams given recent form and league positions.