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Match Report

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Aylesbury slipped to a home defeat at the hands of Barton Rovers, who scored a late first half goal to take all three points at The ASM Stadium.

Rovers came into the game flying high having put six past Royston Town in midweek, but there wasn’t much to separate them and the Ducks in the end bar for the thoroughly avoidable winner.

United started strongly with the recalled Taylor Collins looking bright in the opening stages, and his ball forward in the fourth minute found Ollie Hogg whose shot was placed well wide.

Barton’s first chance came three minutes later when Elliott Bailey pushed the ball past three Ducks defenders before playing it low towards the near post where the arriving Rod Young fired wide.

Corner kicks were a running theme throughout the game, with both sides forcing plenty. Ellis Hercules met a Hogg delivery with a diving header over the bar, before Jake Bewley tried to curl in a 25-yarder from a half cleared flag kick but missed the target.

For the visitors, Jordan Wynter’s delivery lead to a scramble in the box that Connor Calcutt was close to poking home but saw the ball eventually cleared.

A good move on 20 minutes gave Josh Baines – in his revised role of central striker – a decent opening after Reece Cameron had dinked a fine pass over the defence, but Baines fired straight into the arms of Lewis Todd.

Rovers were quickly down at the other end, with Young finding space inside the box but also shooting straight at the goalkeeper.

It was Young involved again moments later when the former Ware winger was released by a forward pass only to lash the ball high into the side netting.

Following Barton’s loss of Bailey to injury, Charlie Smith was pushed into midfield following a tactical reshuffle, and his drilled low shot from him was beaten away by Oualah having been teed up by Young.

Four minutes later and it was Smith who turned match winner, in a goal that was utterly preventable by Aylesbury. Over committing men forward to a free-kick on the halfway line left them exposed, and Barton countered quickly and effectively, Young’s fierce shot was well saved by Oualah but Smith was on hand to tuck away the rebound. 1-0 Barton

Even with 45 minutes on the clock, there was still further first half action when Ryan Kinnane saw a long shot deflected wide from a half cleared corner kick, before French sent a drive screaming over the bar having picked up a loose ball.

Barton had a chance to double their lead when a through ball found Calcutt but he skewed his shot high and wide in what proved to be his last kick of the game before being withdrawn at the break.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-1 Barton

As the game restarted, the heavens opened as the glorious sunshine of the first half gave way to torrential downpours that made conditions tricky for both sides.

Barton began on the front foot as Young pulled a half volley just wide with Oualah seemingly wrong footed, just before Paul Andrews headed another corner kick over the bar and then Smith placed a low shot into the side netting having twisted and turned his way towards goal.

Manager Glyn Creaser chose to make an early double substitution to try and revive Aylesbury’s flagging performance, Vijon Sentain replacing the ineffective Collins up front and Greg Williams on for Hogg in midfield.

It was still Rovers who looked the most likely scorers though, and a fine free kick delivery from Danny Hutchins picked out his captain Andrews whose header was superbly dived on by Oualah.

As the minutes ticked by, chances were in short supply with corner kicks still the most likely source of a goal for either team. Aylesbury forced three in succession, whilst Rovers forced two, but none were successful.

In the 80th minute one telling corner nearly did bring the equaliser, French’s near post delivery met with a typical flicked header by Williams that beat the keeper only to be cleared off the line by a well stationed defender.

An own goal scare at the other end nearly put the game out of Aylesbury’s reach when a curling cross was met by Hercules, sending the ball towards his own net where Oualah nearly bundled it over the line himself only to recover his bearings at the crucial second.

Skipper Jack Wood carried the fight in the closing stages by nicking the ball back and trying his luck from range with a shot that didn’t work Todd fully.

Despite plenty of Ducks pressure in and around the Barton box, the game ended with only an Ellis Hercules header over the bar for Aylesbury to show for their efforts.

As a result, Aylesbury failed to score for a third game in a row and drop to ninth in the table. The search for a goal goes on, but the Ducks have a break from league action as they take on Maidenhead United and Chatham Town in the Berks & Bucks Cup and FA Trophy respectively.