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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

For the first match after having his appointment as permanent first team manager confirmed, Ben Williams chose to make just two changes to the starting XI; Sonny French retained his place ahead of Connor Furlong, who he replaced at half time on Tuesday at Marlow, and Jeanmal Prosper returning in midfield in place of Ollie Hogg after missing the last game.

On a pitch that had passed an inspection in the morning, wet in places but firm in others, the Ducks started well, continuing the good form of the previous match against Marlow. An early corner from Jake Bewley was cleared by the visiting defence, and claimed bravely by Steven Mowthorpe when the ball was played back in.

A mistake by Greg Williams presented visiting skipper Steve Hutchings a golden opportunity to open the scoring in the second minute. Williams poor pass across his own area was collected by the unmarked Hutchings, but his shot was weak and straight at Jack Sillitoe.

Horatio Hirst did well on the right side, cutting inside Sam Pearce and found strike partner French in the penalty area, however his shot was narrowly wide of the goal. From the next attack, the Ducks took the lead; Jeanmal Prosper collected the ball on the left and slipped a delightful pass inside full back Curtis Da Costa to French who looked up and curled a shot into the net off the far post. 1-0 Aylesbury

The visitors were convinced they had equalised in the 9th minute. A corner from the right was cleared, but when it was played back in Lewis Fennemore pounced to fire past Sillitoe; however, the goal celebrations were cut short when the referee noticed his assistant’s flag was raised for offside.

In the 20th minute Bewley intercepted a pass and advanced on goal. His shot was blocked by Brett Poate, but fell to French who again saw his shot blocked. From the next attack Fennemore passed to Ryan Pennery breaking on the right. He found himself one on one with Sillitoe, but the keeper stayed big and easily collected the weak attempt to chip the ball over him. In the 23rd minute the ball fell to Jake Raine 25 yards from goal, he fired a powerful shot that Sillitoe did well to beat away from his goal.

The first flashpoint of the game came in the 28th minute, when both French and Da Costa slid into a committed tackle near the away dugout. The Ducks man was late arriving and justifiably shown the yellow card by the referee who quickly defused a situation which could have escalated with players and coaches all incensed at the tackle.

Hutchings then combined with Daniel Wooden on the right, whose cross was met by Joseph Briggs, his shot crashing against the far post and away to safety. The last action of the half saw Williams play a delightful ball down the wing to Hirst, who twisted and turned Pearce before firing in a shot which clipped the defender’s heels and behind for a corner.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 Moneyfields

Two minutes after the restart, Hirst and Harry Jones combined well on the right to rob Sam Pearce of the ball and played it inside to Williams. Presented with a shooting opportunity the veteran midfielder could only put the ball wide of the target.

With 10 minutes of the second period elapsed, the visitors had the ball in the net, only to be denied again buy the assistant’s flag; Hutchings flicked the ball on towards Pennery, but the striker had again strayed offside before he chipped Sillitoe.

In what was a very even match, it was the Ducks to threaten next, Prosper finding Hirst in the right channel, but Pearce got back very well to block his attempt on goal.

Just past the hour mark and the visitors were level. Unlike his two previous attempts, Pennery timed his run to perfection and collected a through ball, rounded Sillitoe and tapped the ball home. 1-1

As the game approached the final 20 minutes a superb pass by Ben Seaton inside the full back saw Jones free and in on goal; however, much to his frustration, his composure let him down and he sliced the ball horribly wide of the target.

If the Ducks fans were disappointed by that miss, the mood would have changed immediately, as Seaton again did well to find Bewley overlapping on the left; his driven low cross was parried by Mowthorpe straight into the path of French, who gleefully slotted home his second goal of the day. 2-1 Aylesbury

The lead was not to last long however; two minutes later a low ball was played in from the right flank, where Pennery was on hand to equal French’s exploits and score his own second goal of the game. 2-2

In games of past, when under pressure it’s fair to say the Ducks may have wilted and conceded again. Not today though, they fought fire with fire and refused to lie down and be intimidated by a very experienced and physical team.

With 8 minutes left on the clock, Ollie Hogg, on as a substitute, passed to Hirst who broke into the penalty area on the right side, but his low shot was well held by Mowthorpe.

The visitors almost took the lead with a minute left; a cross from the left was met by Wooden, who forced a fine save from Sillitoe. The keeper was on top form as he was alert to make a second save from the follow up shot and maintain parity for his team.

With the game deep into added on time, one final chance fell to the visitors. The Ducks conceded a free kick wide on the right, which was taken by Jamie Ford; his delivery found Hutchings, but the skipper could only head straight at Sillitoe, who held on to ensure the game finished level.

A fine performance by the team, showing character and resolve, but not afraid to play the ball when the chance arose. Next up is a trip to Ashford Town (Mx), on Tuesday evening.