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Match Report

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A 3-1 win at a freezing cold Oak Tree Road gave Aylesbury a season’s treble of victories over Marlow, and booked the Ducks’ Berks & Bucks Cup final spot.

United had to withstand heavy pressure for much of the game, but produced a clinical display in front of goal as Steve Hatch, Lewis Putman and Bill Morgan all took their chances well when they came.

The Marlow attacking began as early as the first minute, the hosts quickly out of the blocks with the dangerous Devontae Romeo flashing a ball across goal with nobody able to get a touch. The same player then won a corner kick, from which Greg Williams escaped strong handball appeals having blocked a goalbound shot.

Once the subsequent corner had come to nothing, the Blues missed a glorious chance to open the scoring when another telling cross in was deftly flicked on by Lee Barney but Dan Hicks made a mess of his close range shot as the ball got stuck between his legs.

It was a waste that Marlow were soon left rueing, as the Ducks went ahead two minutes later. Putman and strike partner Stacey Field combined at the byeline, Field doing extremely well to retrieve the ball before hanging up a cross which was met by a thumping header from Steve Hatch to find the net. 1-0 Aylesbury

A welcome lead for Aylesbury, but the goal had come very much against the run of play and when Lewis Gabbidon headed over Branker’s superb corner kick Marlow were once again fashioning the bulk of chances.

Top scorer Lee Barney should have done better when James Knight’s lay off gave him a good shooting chance, but his finish was weak and easily claimed by Tahj Bell in Aylesbury’s goal.

Further chances came with Barney turning provider for Branker whose long shot flew wide, before Barney was again unable to add to his 16 goals of the season having charged down Jack Wood’s clearance giving himself a one-on-one with Bell but his effort once more lacked power, and he followed that up seconds later by blazing a shot wide.

Sensing that their hosts were losing their way, Aylesbury ended the half in the ascendancy and only a fine tackle from Nathan Bovell denied Stacey Field, with Jake Bewley shooting wildly wide after the resulting corner was cleared to him.

In stoppage time, United gave themselves some breathing room with another well taken goal. Bewley’s cross-field pass was only headed up in the air by Chris Ovenden, Jesse Waites making himself first to it and heading for goal where it dropped kindly for the arriving Putman to lash home from a tight angle. 2-0 Aylesbury

Marlow had every right to feel aggrieved with the scoreline, but two well taken goals from Aylesbury left the Blues facing an uphill struggle in the second half.

Half-time: Marlow 0-2 Aylesbury

An early goal would be key if there was to be any fightback from the hosts, and it took just 90 seconds for Marlow to find the net. Lewis Gabbidon, recently returned from a spell with Conference North side Oxford City, was given plenty of time on the edge of the area and his shot took a big deflection to wrong foot Bell on its way in. 1-2

That goal lead to the all too familiar sight of regular Marlow attacks, with Branker snatching at a long shot having beaten the offside trap to a through ball, and then Gabbidon heading wide from another brilliant Branker corner.

Still the hosts were unable to make their dominance count, as chance after chance went begging – Branker dinking a pass into the path of Romeo who shot wide and Barney only firing into the side netting when well placed, before manager Mark Bartley opted to introduce a further striker in the shape of Marcus Mealing.

On 57 minutes Gabbidon was teed up by Romeo in the same position to where he earlier scored, but this time there was no deflection and Bell gathered safely, before a rasping effort from Dan Hicks, another player to have recently rejoined Marlow, just cleared the crossbar soon afterwards.

Rather like the first half, the Blues seemed to grow disheartened by their inability to find the net, and Aylesbury started to ask some questions of the home defence, and with their first meaningful attack scored the killer third goal.

Putman found space to fire in a venomous effort which was tipped wide by Nick Bennion, allowing Waites to claim his second assist of the night as his flag kick was glanced into the net by Bill Morgan for his first goal of the campaign. 3-1 Aylesbury

The excellent Bewley very nearly added a fourth straight away when he intercepted the ball before dribbling into the box but blasting a shot just wide, and Hatch also went close with a shot right across the face of goal.

Marlow introduced youngsters Charlie Bull and Phill Bell for the remainder of the game, and their pace gave some renewed threat and had it not been for a superb sliding Jack Wood tackle Bull would have been in on goal.

Mealing fired over from the edge of the box, and Bull saw an effort well held by Bell after the ball popped up nicely for him, but it just wasn’t to be for Marlow and their game ended the way it had started – a handball appeal coming to nothing after the ball bounced up and struck Jack Wood.

In stoppage time Waites nearly added some further gloss to the scoreline when his run and shot came back off the upright, but even without a fourth goal it was a job well done for Aylesbury, who can now look forward to the final against either Maidenhead United or Chesham United.