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The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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An improved Aylesbury performance saw them earn a hard-fought point against AFC Dunstable at The Meadow.

After the tribulations of two away defeats manager Glyn Creaser made two changes to his starting eleven with Sonny French and Tyriq Hunte replaced by Ollie Stanbridge and Harry Jones.

Dunstable – who would have gone second in the league with a win – started strongly and in the third minute a throw in saw the ball crossed in quickly and flicked wide, before BJ Christie fired high and wide soon afterwards after Louis Bircham headed on for Jermaine Hall to cross.

The Ducks exhibited a steely resolve throughout that had been missing in Saturday’s loss at Northwood, and strong defensive blocks denied shots from Terry Griffiths and Hall in quick succession at a corner kick.

They then fashioned a half chance of their own when Jake Bewley fed home debutant Aaron Couch who cut in from the left flank but dragged his effort well wide of the target.

Bewley himself went closer still just prior to the half hour mark when a passage of passing ended with Ollie Hogg laying the ball into the left back’s path who unleashed a first time drive that just cleared the crossbar.

Having been the match winner last time out at The Meadow, Hogg turned provider this time when the Ducks got their noses in front three minutes later. He whipped in a corner from the left flank that saw skipper Jack Wood ghost in ahead of his marker to power a header past Jamie Head. 1-0 Aylesbury

Now with a lead to protect, United continued to work hard to keep their visitors at bay with shots from Christie and Murphy both charged down. Jake Bewley was harshly penalised for a point-blank handball in the latter from which Bircham drove a ferocious free kick just past Jack Sillitoe’s post as the half came to an end.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 AFC Dunstable

The restart saw Dunstable come at Aylesbury strongly, and whilst they weren’t exactly entrenched in United’s territory – they did force a number of set pieces from which Newman Carney’s deliveries were always a threat.

13 minutes into the second half the visitors found an equaliser, courtesy of what was Aylesbury’s only black mark on a fine evening’s defensive work. As the defence panicked, several chances to clear weren’t taken, allowing Bircham to pick up the ball and go on a jinking run taking him past the last man before calmly slotting past Sillitoe. 1-1

Two minutes later and a great chance for Dunstable to take the lead went begging. League leading goalscorer Jermaine Hall had been kept relatively quiet, but came inches away from getting his name on the scoresheet when he placed a lofted effort over Sillitoe only to see the ball come back off the bar.

Almost immediately and Aylesbury had an even better opportunity when a ball played in to Harry Jones saw his scuffed shot turn into a near-perfect pass for the arriving Greg Williams, who couldn’t adjust his feet quickly enough to divert the ball into the net and instead spooned it over.

Bewley tried his luck for an unlikely goal when he made inroads from the left wing, cutting inside and going for goal with his weaker right foot but failing to hit the target from an acute angle.

Jamie Jellis and Sonny French both entered the fray for the final 15 minutes, and a typically enterprising run from young Jellis saw him go tumbling in the box after a slick one-two, with no interest from the referee.

At the death, both goalkeepers had to be at their best to preserve a point for their teams.

Ryan Frater aimed a high pass to the far side of the penalty area, where it was levered down for substitute Adiel Mannion in the six-yard box, but Sillitoe had read the danger and was off his line in a flash to make a superb smothering save.

At the other end, a moment of madness from Frater saw him take out Hogg on the edge of the box, who had gotten goal-side of the giant Dunstable defender, before flooring him again with his outstretched arm in the aftermath. The man in black, not for the first time of the night, showed leniency in cautioning Frater, when both offences might have warranted at least a yellow card.

Once the dust had settled, Bewley stepped up and curled a peach of a free kick towards the top corner, only for Head to better Sillitoe’s stop minutes earlier with a stunning save to tip the ball onto the crossbar.

It meant no winner and a point that will satisfy the Ducks more than their Bedfordshire opponents as they look to draw a line under their recent poor form. With no game in the next ten days, Creaser has plenty of time to prepare his side for the visit of Uxbridge.