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Match Report

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Aylesbury built on their impressive win at St Ives Town with a solid point at home to Barton Rovers, as the sides drew in the league for the second time of the season.

An afternoon when defences – Lea Coulter producing a masterful performance in an unfamiliar central defensive role - were largely on top in a wind-affected encounter saw plenty of action, but neither side could find a breakthrough to prevent the game ending goalless.

The necessity for Coulter’s deployment came as a result of Chris Crook’s unavailability and Alex Collard’s injury, with Ricky Brown and Ollie Hogg restored to the starting lineup. Up front, Tyrone Taylor’s departure to New Bradwell St Peter saw the returning Vinnie Shrieves thrown straight in.

Barton had conceded eight goals in their previous match, but looked well organised throughout and not a side lacking in confidence. It was the visitors who threatened first when Alex O’Brien tried his luck with Zaki Oualah out of position, but his shot nicked off Coulter straight through to the recovering goalkeeper.

A great run by the ever-lively Sonny French brought about Aylesbury’s first shot when his effort was blocked, and it was the same player who latched onto a 13th minute flick from Hogg before cutting inside and firing a rising drive over the bar.

Unlike the dull nature that some 0-0 draws take, the match continued to be full of action and United could have been ahead when Shrieves flicked a long ball on for Hogg whose early shot nearly caught Kyle Forster but needed a little more height to lob the keeper, and was palmed behind for a corner.

As the twenty minute mark approached Oualah was very nearly embarrassed by Ashton Grant, allowing his long shot to squirm through his legs, but fortunately it rolled behind the goal.

Whilst Aylesbury had a couple of sighters through Shrieves and Greg Williams without fully testing Forster, Oualah was called upon to make an excellent save when overlapping debutant full back Will Wright found O’Brien in the box and his strong near post shot was stopped by the leg of the plunging goalkeeper.

The resulting corner saw a header held by Oualah, and, a minute later, Owens found himself dispossessed before the Barton recipient ran forwards and curled just past the target.

United were nearly more profitable at the other end when Bruno Brito got in a cross from the left that French had a header blocked by the defence, the ball rebounding to Hogg who had a shot similarly blocked, before the half came to end with Williams directing Jake Bewley’s free kick straight into Forster’s arms with his head.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Barton

Barton seemed content to leave plenty of players behind the ball as the second half got underway, and it was Aylesbury who had the better chances to break the deadlock.

After just four minutes Shrieves might have done better when a cross from the right looped up off a defender where Shrieves ghosted in behind the defence but was only able to nod wide from inside the six-yard box.

A Brito cross in from the opposite flank then found the late run of Hogg who fired wide, and Aylesbury kept up the pressure with a Bewley free kick being met beyond the far post by Wood but headed wide.

Midway through the second period and the Ducks were to come as close as ever to opening the scoring. Wood did brilliantly to meet a deep ball into the box and turn it back across goal, where Shrieves and Brito appeared to get in each other’s way and as neither made full contact Forster was able to dive on the ball and prevent it crossing the line.

Within the next sixty seconds Barton had finally had their first effort on goal when Ashton Grant lashed over from distance, before United went agonisingly close once more when Brito was afforded space to bring the ball down but see his shot trickled cruelly wide of the far post with Forster beaten.

Next to go close was Jack Wood, who sent a free kick sailing over the bar, before Bewley was teed up for a 40-yard wind assisted effort that was comfortably gathered in by Forster and a shot from French cleared the bar after a corner kick was cleared to him just outside the box.

Aylesbury continued to search for a winner as the game entered the last ten minutes, and a flowing move involving French and Williams ended with substitute Reece Cameron cutting inside but firing wide.

With four minutes remaining it looked like Rovers might grab an unlikely winner after a rush of blood from Aylesbury keeper Oualah. The stopper came charging from his line only to see the ball hang up in the wind, arch away from him and fall at the feet of O’Brien, who sent a shot spinning towards the vacant goal where, to the hosts’ great relief, it dropped just wide of the target.

As time ran out, neither defence were to be, Wood having one further effort charged down before the final whistle sounded.

A solid point for the Ducks with the news that their nearest relegation rivals had either lost or drawn their own encounters, and Aylesbury next face one of those teams in Leighton Town in what could be a defining game in their season.