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Match Report

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Report courtesy of Ian Pluck

On the back of a disappointing result at home to Godalming last week, Aylesbury United travelled to the Armadillo Stadium to take on Arlesey, looking to pick up more points on their travels in their fight to pull away from the bottom of the table. On a very wet and windy day, conditions were far from perfect for playing football, and despite both teams trying hard, it proved difficult to produce much quality. Unavailability and injury again depleted the Ducks squad, with Alvin Rajaram, recovered from his hamstring injury replacing Ricky Brown at right back, Luca Seminerio on the left wing in place of Danny Jones and Lea Coulter playing in place of Stacey Field. The bench was light, with Jones, Paul Lyon and Nathan Tshikuna, back with the club after a spell with Norwich City, being the only options for manager Glyn Creaser to call on.

The Ducks lined up with Lewis Osborne playing furthest forward, with Greg Williams supporting him; Tyrone Taylor and Shaun Owens in the centre of midfield. Playing into a driving wind, the Ducks found themselves under pressure straight from the start. In the second minute a dangerous driven free kick from Luke Abraham on the left was well cleared by Alex Collard for a corner, which was defended successfully. In the 4th minute, Tyrone Taylor had a great chance to open the scoring. Lewis Osborne forced a corner on the right, which was driven in low by Shaun Owens. Osborne collected the ball and turned well to cross to Taylor at the far post, but his header flashed wide of the post with the keeper floundering. In a first half of few chances on goal, it was the home team who were in the ascendancy, with Farrell and Carr seeing plenty of the ball and being afforded too much time and space by the visitors. In the 18th minute, Farrell picked out Lewis Wilson through the centre; fortunately for the Ducks, Jake Bewley was alive to the danger and came across to clear the ball for a corner before the striker could set himself to shoot. Five minutes later, Farrell found Gittens wide on the left. The pacy winger beat Rajaram and the covering Lea Coulter and crossed to Wilson, whose weak effort was easily gathered by Oualah. Shortly afterwards, Collard fouled Tavernier 30 yards out. Abraham decided to shoot on goal, but his attempt comfortably cleared the bar.

Playing with the wind, most of the attacking intent was from the home team; however, time and again their passes were over hit, and of no danger. However, in the 38th minute, Abraham found Farrell in space from a throw in, his astute pass released Wilson breaking into the area. Oualah was quickly off his line to narrow the angle, forcing Wilson to hurry his shot, which was straight at the keeper. Three minutes from halftime the home side had a great opportunity to take the lead. Jack Wood fouled on the edge of the area, the referee deciding it was inside the box and awarded a penalty. Wilson stepped up, but his effort was too close to Oualah, who dived the right way and made a smart save.

Half time: Arlesey 0 Aylesbury United 0

Playing with an increasingly strong wind at their backs in the second half, the Ducks were much more positive. In the 49th minute, Osborne picked the ball up 35 yards out and shot towards goal. His effort was deflected, forcing a save from Thompson in the home goal. The best move of the match so far came in the 53rd minute. Gittens found Tavernier in the inside left channel, who squared the ball to the profligate Wilson, whose shot was straight at Oualah. On the hour, a double substitution saw wide players Seminerio and Coulter replaced by Jones and Tshikuna. Both players got into the game quickly, Jones especially working hard on the left. Despite playing against the wind, the home side were still a potent attacking force. In the 77th minute, substitute Forsythe who had come on 2 minutes earlier for Wilson raced on to a through ball from Farrell. Oualah came racing out of his goal, with the Ducks fans fearful of a repeat of his recent sending off against Rushden. However, this time, the striker rounded him but fortunately saw his shot fly wildly over the bar with the keeper stranded.

A minute later, Taylor collected the ball in midfield and showed good close control to beat 3 members of the opposition. Getting the ball out of his feet, he shot from 25 yards, but his effort was lacking power and straight at Thompson. In the 80th minute, a long free kick from Oualah caused panic in the home defence, with keeper Thompson struggling to clear the ball under pressure. However, the referee called play back for a foul on Collard by Forsythe on the edge of the area. Skipper Wood stepped up to take the free kick, bending the ball round the wall, to be parried by Thompson. The clearance had no distance on it and the ball fell to Osborne who miskicked in front of goal; his attempt was blocked but fell to ones who passed to Wood, his cross towards Collard only resulting in a free kick for a foul on the keeper. In the last 5 minutes, Farrell had 2 great opportunities to win the game for his side. First, in the 85th minute, a good run by Olukanmi saw a cross cleared by Bewley, but only as far as Farrell. His shot from 25 yards was narrowly wide of Oualah’s post, with the keeper struggling to get to the ball. Then just 2 minutes from the end of normal time, after a good run by Farrell, his attempted pass was intercepted by Collard, but found its way back to the home man. This time, he shot from 20 yards and saw his effort rebound to safety off the base of the post with Oualah well beaten. The final effort of the match saw Abraham cross from the left, finding Olukanmi who turned well on the edge of the box and shot. Fortunately for the Ducks it was straight at Oualah, who held it comfortably.

Full time: Arlesey 0 Aylesbury United 0

So a goalless draw, the first for the Ducks since the Easter derby at Aylesbury FC last season. All in all, not a game for the purists, one in which the elements definitely had a big say in the proceedings. While quality may have been lacking at times, effort and determination certainly wasn’t. A point away from home is always welcome, so hopefully with a few of the unavailable players returning next week to strengthen the squad, we can look forward to the visit of Northwood to Thame next weekend.