Cherrywood Road, Farnborough Attendance: 340
Aylesbury travelled to Cherrywood Road to face second in the league Farnborough, sitting comfortably safe in the play-off places. Two changes for the Ducks, with Bruno Brito and Ollie Stanbridge returning to the starting XI, in place of last week’s match winner Jordon Frederick and Troy Witter, while Daniel Olusemo made a return to the subs bench.
The high-flying hosts started quickly and scored in the second minute. Skipper Sam Pearce won the ball in midfield and played what looked like a hopeful ball into the left channel, where striker Perry Coles controlled the ball well and turned Ryan Kinnane, before finishing smartly, beating Jack Sillitoe at the near post. 1-0 Farnborough
The visiting fans must have been worrying that a goal so early would lead to others, but the team did well to dig in and impose their own game against their hosts. In the very next attack, a quickly taken throw by Jake Bewley found Lea Coulter, who drove the ball low into the area, where former Ducks keeper Zaki Oualah claimed well before Reece Cameron could get a touch.
Just 5 minutes later, an Olly Stanbridge pass intended for Bewley wide on the left was intercepted, but fell to Bruno Brito, whose snapshot from 18 yards went across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. The Ducks had settled in well after their early setback and were passing the ball around and retaining possession with comparative ease.
Just past the quarter hour, Kinnane won the ball in his own half and picked out Brito with an exquisite crossfield pass. The Portuguese striker found Sonny French surging towards the penalty area, but his shot was too high to trouble Oualah.
In the 24th minute, the home side came close to doubling their lead. A deep cross from the impressive right back John Oyenuga was headed goalwards by top scorer Pat Cox, but his attempt was well parried by Sillitoe, with Kinnane on hand to hook the rebound away for a corner.
As half time approached, Jack Wood advanced from defence and spread the ball wide to Bewley. In turn he found Brito who crossed to Cameron, whose goalbound shot was deflected wide for a corner. The last action of the half was at the home end; a long goal kick from Oualah was flicked on by Cox into the path of strike partner Coles; this time his shot on goal was blocked for a corner by the covering Kinnane.
Half-time: Farnborough 1-0 Aylesbury
With six minutes on the clock in the second half, a weak clearing header from Wood fell to substitute Jack Barton, whose shot from 20 yards flew narrowly over Sillitoe’s bar. Five minutes later, good interplay between Stanbridge and Bewley on the left set Cameron free, however Oyenuga got back well to block his cross and concede a corner. A series of 3 well taken corners followed, each one cleared from inside the 6-yard box by the home defenders.
As the hour mark approached, Brito picked up the ball on the right touchline and cut inside, curling a shot towards the far corner, which Oualah did well to shovel away to safety, with no attacking players quick enough to benefit from the rebound.
On 68 minutes, the Ducks had a great opportunity to equalise. A long goal kick was flicked on by Brito to find French running in behind the sluggish defensive line. He took aim and struck a sweet shot, but Oualah was out quickly to save at point blank range and prevent the goal. In the next attack, Coulter held the ball up well and played in Brito, whose shot from 25 yards was too close to the keeper.
With 15 minutes to play, Coles broke into the penalty area, but skipper Wood was across smartly and blocked his shot with a well-timed tackle. Six minutes were left on the clock when Coles did well on the right touchline, playing the ball into the path of Oyenuga, however the full back’s left footed shot lacked accuracy, sailing high and wide of the goal.
Four minutes later, Oyenuga broke down the right wing and cut in along the byeline, firing a low cross towards the 6 yard box where Kinnane was again on hand to clear for a corner.
As the game entered added on time, Cameron played the ball to substitute Olusemo 40 yards out, but his speculative shot lacked the pace or accuracy to trouble Oualah.
The final action of the game should have resulted in a second goal for the hosts. Veteran striker Jamie Cureton broke forward down the left and squared the ball to fellow substitute Jordan Graham. His shot was blocked, but fell to Pearce 12 yards out, but his weak shot was straight at Sillitoe, who clutched it gratefully.
The final whistle blew soon after, with the Ducks leaving the field downhearted not to have taken something from a game in which they had played a full part, matching their highly-placed opponents with a sound passing and possession game. Next up is the visit of Uxbridge on Wednesday 5th Apr.