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Match Report

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Thanks to Ian Pluck for this match report

Following the disappointment of last week’s heavy home defeat, the Ducks travelled to The Eyrie to take on Bedford Town, without the services of Lewis Putman, after his departure from the club this week to join promotion chasing Barton Rovers. Replacing Putman was Jason Blackett, playing before a 3 match ban comes into force following his sending off last week. Also into the team came Joey Acheampong, replacing Paul Edgeworth who took his place on the bench. The Ducks also welcomed Steve Hatch back into the match day squad following a 6 match lay off with injury.

On a cold afternoon, it was the home side that started the stronger, initially testing a noticeably and perhaps understandably nervous Ducks defence. With manager Tony Joyce highlighting before the game how individual errors have cost the team many goals over the past few weeks, the defence were much more resolute in defending their goal, in the face of some sharp attacking play. Behind them, Tahj Bell was looking much more assured than of late, commanding his 6 yard box and instilling confidence in his defence.

As the game settled down, it became predominately a midfield battle, with Williams and Frederick having a good battle for supremacy with Burke and Parker of the home side. The first real talking point of the match came in the 19th minute, as Lea Coulter slid in late to a tackle on Josh McGoldrick, appearing to catch his opponent late. However, the referee chose to issue what was presumably a stern lecture and a “final warning” to Coulter.

The Ducks were forced into an early substitution, as Coulter limped off in the 30th minute, replaced on the left side of midfield by Paul Edgeworth.

Four minutes later the Ducks took the lead, with a rare piece of quality in the match. Jordan Frederick picked up the ball in midfield and drove forwards. He spotted Blackett in space on the edge of the area and played a precise pass inside the defence for the centre forward to run on to and finish past Gary Malone in the home goal. 1-0 Aylesbury

The half finished with an unsavoury incident, as Dan Burke clattered into Greg Williams on half way, after the ball had gone. Fortunately the Ducks veteran midfielder was able to continue after treatment, with Burke receiving a yellow card for his troubles.

Half-time: Bedford 0-1 Aylesbury

The second half started much as the first period had, with Bedford on the offensive. In the 50th minute, the ball bounced kindly for Will Summerfield on the edge of the penalty area, but his volley from 20 yards flew wide of Bell’s right hand post.

There was a worrying few moments for the Ducks 5 minutes later, as skipper Jack Wood took a heavy fall after a challenge. Despite Wood looking to have a serious injury, the ref allowed play to carry on, much to the disgust of the Ducks players and management. Fortunately, after some prolonged treatment, the seemingly indestructible Wood was able to resume, albeit looking a bit shaken.

It was Wood who came to his side’s rescue in the 67th minute; great work down the left by Jon Bukasa saw him beat Acheampong and get in a dangerous cross, which the skipper managed to dive and head over his own bar for a corner.

Five minutes later, a long clearance by Bell found Blackett racing through on goal, however his shot was a little hurried and sailed wide of the right post.

Steve Hatch made his much awaited return from injury in the 78th minute, replacing Acheampong on the right side of midfield. It was he who had the last real chance of the match, as Shaun Owens (on the pitch in place of Greg Willimas) won the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and found Frederick in the middle of the park. He made ground and passed the ball onto Hatch wide on the right. He beat his defender and cut inside, but unfortunately his shot lacked the pace to really trouble Malone.

The Ducks saw the game out very effectively after this last chance, leaving the pitch happy with their efforts. After so many games recently where individual mistakes have cost not just goals but points, the team should be proud of their efforts. Concentration levels were high, good decisions were made and a thoroughly deserved 3 points was the end result, moving the team up to 11th in the league table. With games against the league’s bottom 2 teams on the horizon, hopefully they can build on this and continue the upward momentum.