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Match Report

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Aylesbury travelled to Fleet Town looking for an important win to ease their relegation worries, but instead crashed to a deflating defeat at the perennial strugglers to remain embroiled in the battle at the wrong end of the table.

The Ducks were depleted on their first ever visit to the Hampshire club, only able to name two substitutes as Ollie Hogg came in for his first start and Shaun Owens also brought back into the lineup.

Things seemed to be going well when Jack Wood headed United into a 22nd minute lead, but once Fleet deservedly equalised just before the break Aylesbury had little in response as their creative deficiencies came to the fore once again.

Fleet were forced into an early change after Jack White sustained a shoulder injury, but it was the hosts who had the first meaningful chance when a ball into the box gave Rob Carr a clear sight of goal but his weak effort posed no threat.

The dangerous Simba Mlambo then set up Ben White whose low shot flashed wide.

Aylesbury were looking dangerous when they came forwards but were finding clear cut openings hard to come by, Hogg feeding Stacey Field whose curling cross-shot went wide, whilst a swirling follow up cross from Jake Bewley after his own corner had been cleared was turned over by goalkeeper Ryan Pryce.

Two minutes later Wood got ahead of his marker to plant a firm header into the net from Bewley’s inswinging corner to give his side the lead the travelling supporters craved. 1-0 Aylesbury

United could have doubled their lead shortly afterwards when Field had the beating of Josh Harfield but lashed his shot over and instead Fleet were nearly gifted an equaliser when Coulter played a poor pass back which Mlambo latched onto but placed his shot wide.

Mlambo turned provider seconds later when he levered a high ball down to Ben White whose shot was blocked by the excellent Wood, and the same player then did have the ball in the net only to see the ‘equsliser’ ruled out for offside.

The hosts didn’t have to wait long when a strong run down the right by Carr ended with an accurate delivery into the box where Mlambo was waiting to prod the ball home his 13th goal of the season. 1-1

Just before the goal another Aylesbury corner kick had nearly unlocked the defence with Alex Collard helping the ball on to Wood who slid in but couldn’t make good enough contact to direct the ball in. From another set piece Pryce caught the ball but threw it straight out to Hogg whose long cross saw Collard’s header saved, and it ended level at the interval.

Half-time: Fleet 1-1 Aylesbury

Early in the second period and a ball forward gave Ben White a decent chance but his weak shot was easily claimed by Zaki Oualah.

The Ducks had a disallowed goal of their own when Paul Lyon found Field to finish past Pryce from an offside position, and with their best move of the game United threatened again on the hour mark when Field and Hogg combined before the latter found Greg Williams in the box who tried to pass the ball into the net only for Pryce to deny him.

Both sides missed gilt-edged chances within seconds of each other in the 62nd minute as first Chris Hall was played in only for Oualah to save well, the ball being punted straight to the other end where Sean Immanuel got the better of the defence but somehow managed to fire wide with only Pryce to beat.

Disaster struck midway through the second period as the hosts completed the turnaround, scoring with the scrappiest of goals. A cross into the box came back off the crossbar and in the ensuing scramble the linesman flagged to indicate the ball had crossed the line, despite Oualah appearing to claim it, and Fleet were ahead. 2-1 Fleet

It was a terrible moment and one United were never able to recover from. The worrying sight of Collard, who has made himself a key member of the team this season, hitting the deck with an apparent recurrence of his ankle injury was another negative on an afternoon as bitterly disappointing as it was cold.

United did see some of the ball in the latter stages but were unable create a single chance of note, with a Shaun Owens longshot the sum total of their goal attempts in the remaining time.

Instead, a misplaced goalkick from Oualah to substitute Josh Francis nearly gave Town a third, but he put wide having brought the ball forward and there was to be no further scoring.

Despite the result, the Ducks still remain outside the bottom two but with just one win to their name in three months it will only be a matter of time before that situation changes. Only seven days after the optimism a positive point against Uxbridge brought, Aylesbury will need more of the same in the fixtures to come.