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Match Report

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Aylesbury United’s penalty jinx cost them the chance of a draw against town neighbours Aylesbury FC, as Steve Hatch put a second half spot kick wide, just three days after Eoin Casey’s saved penalty against Northwood.

It meant the Ducks were still unable to improve on their dismal derby record, and still seek their first win at their new ‘home’ of The ASM Stadium.

A poor quality, scrappy game hindered in part by the conditions was decided in the 25th minute by Brian Haule, the veteran striker confidently scoring for a fourth time against the Ducks to put his side top of the league.

Following their FA Cup elimination, Ducks boss Tony Joyce opted for two changes with Shane Wood returning at right back and Sonny French given a starting spot in place of Stacey Field and Shaun Owens. FC, meanwhile, also made a number of changes as they were boosted by the return of regular defensive partnership Ben Stevens and Kyle Anthony, but Gareth Price missed out through injury.

After a slow start to the game, things finally came to life in the 16th minute when, from FC’s third corner kick, Jeanmal Prosper should have done better than clearing the bar.

Two minutes later and the Ducks began to get a foothold in the game, with Billy Adcock sending a spinning effort wide of goal as the ball dropped to him. Taylor Collins then found some space down the left for the first time and delivered a searching cross that Shane Wood was inches away from turning home.

United were enjoying a good spell, and only a last ditch block from Prosper prevented Casey’s shot in the box finding the back of the net soon afterwards.

The building optimism was quickly washed away in the rain as the clinical visitors went ahead. Jamie Rudd rode a challenge to reach the byeline, where he cut the ball back for Brian Haule to sweep it into the bottom corner. 1-0 Aylesbury FC

Seven minutes later and the Ducks had the ball in the net themselves, a free kick flicked into the path of the advancing Jack Wood who slotted home only to see the linesman’s flag questionably raised.

There then followed further howls of derision from the home faithful when a lofted cross from Lee Grace appeared to be lost by goalkeeper James Weatherhill under challenge from Collins, the referee predictably awarding a foul against the attacker.

On the stroke of half time the Moles could have doubled their lead when a free kick into the box looped up off Grace where it was headed against the crossbar, leaving United still in the game at the break.

Half-time: Aylesbury United 0-1 Aylesbury FC

The second period ended as the first finished, and Rudd should have done much better when a ball over the defence beat the offside trap and found him in acres of space in the area, but his wayward volley lacked the power to even find touch.

Just three minutes in and Aylesbury looked to have been gifted their way back into the match, when a blatant handball in the box gave the referee an easy decision. With obvious kick-taking candidates lacking, up stepped Steve Hatch, playing his last game before heading off travelling, but he put his kick wide to continue United’s dismal record penalty record over the last two years.

United looked to keep plugging away, and one neat footballing move ended with Casey poking a shot that was easy for Weaterhill to hold, and the number nine was involved again three minutes later when he turned and flashed a long shot wide.

It was FC who continued to show the better quality in the final third, and Jeanmal Prosper strode forward from right back before cutting inside and bending a left footed effort that came back off the upright.

On 69 minutes the Ducks finally tested Weaterhill, as Hatch sprayed a fine pass out wide to Jack Wood who in turn headed the ball across goal for Collins whose stinging effort was beaten away.

United opted to throw on fresh legs in the shape of Joey Acheampong and Shaun Owens, but were clearly lacking inspiration in the final third, finding themselves largely restricted to long shots in the closing stages.

Owens latched onto a loose ball but shot wide from a right wing position, and Adcock followed suit shortly afterwards.

Even the introduction of Stacey Field, held back until the 79th minute, wasn’t enough for any sustained spells of late pressure from the hosts as FC did an excellent job of closing the game out.

Alex Collard got on the end of Shane Wood’s long throw but flicked it just over the bar and Sonny French hit a free kick straight into the wall, but nothing summed up United’s desperation better than the last action of the game.

A Ducks corner saw Alex Tokarczyk advance into the box, but his teammates opted for a short corner with the ball never reaching the penalty area. FC swiftly countered and as O’Toole brought the ball clear a second goal seemed inevitable with the goal vacant, only for the striker to fluff his lines and strike a weak effort that was both too weak and off target.

It was to be the closing act of a fairly unremarkable match, and now gives United a three week break before they next take to the field at The ASM Stadium, by which time the Ducks will be looking for an improvement in their home fortunes.