The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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What was largely an excellent January for Aylesbury United ended with disappointment as the Ducks’ four-game unbeaten run was curtailed by Uxbridge.

Despite a promising early start, United were never able to find the passing rhythm that had become a key element of taking 13 points from the previous 18 available and home goalkeeper Paul McCarthy was able to enjoy a very quiet 200th game for the Reds.

That was no doubt in part due to the absence of the unavailable Sonny French; his replacement young MK Dons loanee Connor Furlong an enthusiastic presence throughout but Aylesbury badly missed French’s attacking guise and experience.

Furlong was playing his last game before returning to the League One side, replacing French in the only team change from the midweek win at Ashford Town (Mx).

The Ducks could have gone ahead as early as the fourth minute when Jake Bewley’s left sided free kick picked out Horatio Hirst who could only power a header over the bar from close range.

The same man then went close again eight minutes afterwards, making the most of Cory Watson’s indecision before galloping inside and firing in a clever reverse shot that had McCarthy beaten but also rolled agonisingly past the upright.

In between, Luke Maguire’s shot from the edge of the box deflected just wide after a low cross was scrambled clear to him, and from the resulting corner kick Watson’s header was well defended.

What proved to be the decider arrived in the 26th minute, and was an absolute gift for the home side. Hicham Abdellah’s cross was decent, but looked to have been dealt with until Jeanmal Prosper inexplicably let the ball bounce down off his chest, as if expecting Jack Sillitoe to claim it, allowing the vastly experienced Kevin Warner to nip in and stab home from all of 3-yards. 1-0 Uxbridge

The Reds were worthy of their lead – Aylesbury increasingly relying on unproductive hopeful long balls as the game wore on - and looked to take a stranglehold on proceedings with a second goal.

Cole Brown twice sent shots well over the bar from outside the area, before Peden and Abdellah combined down the right before squeezing in a low cross that Dylan Kearney turned wide of the near post.

Brown’s poor afternoon in front of goal continued as he somehow missed the target with a close range header from another Abdellah cross, seemingly surprised that the cross evaded Sillitoe, and Kearney’s finishing also missed the mark when a through ball put him free only to slash his shot badly wide.

The Ducks finally called McCarthy into action late in the half when a surging run from Prosper ended with him playing in Bewley whose driven effort had to be turned away by the home keeper.

Half-time: Uxbridge 1-0 Aylesbury

Aylesbury tried to start the second half with more purpose, and a ball out to Harry Jones gave the youngster opportunity to cut inside and place a shot just over the bar.

United’s afternoon was then to take another turn for the worse, as goalkeeper Jack Sillitoe suffered a freak injury to his foot with no opponent nearby, and went down in clear discomfort. Having hobbled from the pitch he was replaced between the sticks by ever-ready midfielder-cum-goalkeeping-deputy Greg Williams who once again went on to distinguish himself in goal. Gavin Hinds-Cadette came on as substitute.

The game continued with the Ducks huffing and puffing their way through but rarely looking like scoring. Nor were set piece opportunities made the most of, with one free kick taken by Callum Mapley but going tamely through to McCarthy.

With the home management urging their side to test Williams in goal, Cole Brown let fly having tricked his way inside, but not for the first time his shooting was wayward and the ball drifted harmlessly high and wide.

The hosts did finally hit the target on 70 minutes through Abdellah’s long shot but Williams made a stunning flying save to tip the ball over.

Aylesbury another player to injury late on when Jake Bewley became the second player to limp out of the game, replaced by TJ Bartley, and with Aaron Couch already on the pitch United had made all three of their substitutions.

Their play had become increasingly ragged, perhaps as a result of the personnel reshuffle and partly out of frustration at the way things had gone, and on another day Uxbridge might have increased their scoring.

Brown missed the target yet again, this time a misplaced header from close range after Williams had hesitated at a cross from the right.

The stand-in keeper bettered his earlier save with another superb reflex stop to deny Kearney this time after he’d latched on to Maguire’s flick on, and he was kept busy until the end – holding on to a low shot from Abdellah and then producing an unorthodox save with his legs to deny Kearney who had wriggled away from Jack Wood.

In the end the Ducks were indebted to their veteran for making sure a poor afternoon didn’t turn into anything worse.

With a full week to recover before their next fixture, manager Ben Williams will have time to get his players together for training and ensure this game is forgotten about quickly ready for hosting Kempston Rovers back at The Meadow.