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Match Report

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Aylesbury skipper Jack Wood came up trumps for his side, popping up with the winning goal in a 1-0 victory against Arlesey Town, whilst his inspirational defensive performance alongside Lea Coulter – also superb – laid the foundations for a well earned clean sheet.

Having fallen to a third straight defeat at Godalming, Ducks boss Glyn Creaser opted for four changes as in came Ricky Brown, Sonny French, Stacey Field and, for his first start, Shannon Jesson.

It was United who had the first shot at goal when a ball into the box was eventually brought down by Bruno Brito but his effort was straight at Nick Thompson.

Arlesey then began to gain the upper hand and only for Wood’s heroic intervention would have opened the scoring. Lewis Wilson played the ball through for the clever run of Tony Williams whose shot beat Zaki Oualah and appeared to be spinning goalwards, only for Wood to slide in and clear the ball against the post.

Aylesbury had responded with a long shot from Brito that was sent skywards, though once again Town came closer when Wilson played the ball in to ex-Duck Christian Tavernia who was allowed to turn under no pressure but placed his shot straight at Oualah.

A minute later and Dylan Gittens played Wilson through inside the box but Oualah stood firm on his near post to make a save with his legs.

Also forcing a number of set pieces, Arlesey were well on top at this stage and Oualah had to make another save to tip over Jevani Brown’s curling free kick on the half hour mark.

A deflected effort from Jesson which looped off a defender and over the bar was the best Aylesbury could offer, although a succession of three corner kicks yielding no reward was something of a disappointment, as the half came to an end with an ambitious Field shot from the right wing which Thompson was able to comfortably gather.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Arlesey

The second period began with a Williams curling effort that caused Oualah no difficulties, but Brito should have done better at the other end some nine minutes later when Greg Williams teed him up but blasted over the bar.

It was a promising move down the left that lead to the chance, and with Aylesbury’s confidence on the up they went close again through Jesson this time, the recent signing latching on to French’s pass before beating the keeper with his weaker right foot but seeing his shot clip the outside of the post.

Three minutes later and United did find the breakthrough. Jake Bewley curled in a free kick from the right flank which was met with a deft flick by Stacey Field, that man Wood stealing in at the back post to guide the ball home. 1-0 Aylesbury

United were nearly undone straight from the kick off as Arlesey caught them napping to run straight through, only for a fabulous saving tackle from Wood to clear the ball at the last.

With half an hour still to play Aylesbury needed to stay resolute at the back, and time and time again Wood or Coulter, well flanked by Brown and Bewley, repelled the visitors’ attacks to keep Town largely restricted to long shots – such as one from Gittens which was well over the bar.

Arlesey forced six corners in the remaining time, the most dangerous of which was stopped on the line with Tony Williams closing in, whilst a telling free kick from Jevani Brown was also superbly defended by his namesake Ricky in front of goal.

A second United goal would have eased the pressure, and when Field set Brito free he was presented another decent opportunity, but could only lash the ball high over the crossbar.

A long ranger from Bewley was comfortable for Thompson, before French became the next man to miss the target when his mazy dribble ended with a lofted shot over the bar.

In the last minute of the game Arlesey looked to have finally made the most of yet another corner kick as Joseph Steele met the delivery with a towering goalbound header, only to see the ball hit his teammate and fly away from goal.

There were further nervy moments to follow as one further tackle from Coulter fell kindly for Tavernia who could only crash a shot over from the edge of the area.

Tavernia curled another effort overt the bar having had the ball laid back to him, before substitute Luke Abraham summed up his side’s afternoon in front of goal when he took Nick Thompson’s goal kick and struck an instant lob high and not very handsome.

An important three points for the Ducks and one which makes the league table much happier looking viewing ahead of two more tough looking fixtures, starting at Aylesbury FC on Tuesday night.