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Match Report



Match report by Ian Pluck

Just the one change for the Ducks from their last match, Matt Peake-Pijnen making his full debut on the left side of midfield in place of Harry Jones; returning to the match day squad after recovering from his foot injury was Aaron Berry, who took a seat on the bench.

On a heavy pitch, saturated by the recent poor weather, both teams competed hard from the start, with most of the early action dominated by the midfields.

In the 7th minute Sonny French set off on a driving run through the middle and fed the ball to Aaron Couch on his right, but the strikers goal bound shot was blocked for a corner. Ten minutes later, a good move from the home side saw Chris Tavernier and Nathan Frater combine well to set top scorer Jermaine Hall in on goal, however the prolific striker was denied by Jack Hopwood, who made a fine save at his near post.

On the half hour mark, a fine passing move involving Ben Seaton and French saw the ball moved to Peak-Pijnen on the left, however the winger’s driven cross was well defended at the far post by Danny Murphy at the expense of a corner.

The home side came close 5 minutes later, when Hall set up Frater on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was narrowly wide of the post with Hopwood beaten.

Five minutes from the break and the Ducks had their best chance of the match so far; a foul by Terry Griffiths taking out both French and Jack Wood resulted in a free kick 35 yards from goal. Ollie Hogg’s pinpoint delivery was met by Jeanmal Prosper 12 yards from goal, but his header was directed straight at Jamie Head in the home goal.

Half-time: Dunstable 0-0 Aylesbury

The second half started with Dunstable bringing on Louis Bircham for Terry Griffiths, and it was the substitute who made an immediate impact, with the half just two minutes old. A misjudged header by Greg Williams in the middle of the field was passed to Bircham, who exploited the space he found and easily beat Hopwood to open the scoring. 1-0 AFC Dunstable

Just four minutes later and Bircham was on hand again to score again. Hogg’s attempted pass to French was intercepted by Tavernier who found Bircham in space on the left of the area, his shot going across Hopwood into the far corner of the net. 2-0 AFC Dunstable

Two minutes later and Bircham almost had his hat trick; a poor header from Mapley fell to him, but this time his goal bound shot was well saved by Hopwood at the near post.

It’s fair to say that the start to the second half was quite unexpected after the lack of real quality in the first period by both teams, but the substitution and introduction of Bircham certainly had the desired effect for the home team.

As the Ducks strived to get back into the game, Williams and Couch combined well on the left to set up Peake-Pijnen, but his shot went wide of the target. The same player came close again 3 minutes later, a good driving run through the middle was halted by Murphy who made a fine blocking tackle just as he got his shot away.

On 73 minutes Dunstable made a second decisive substitution, with BJ Christie replacing Frater. Like his fellow substitute, Christie made an immediate impact. A ball forward found him on the left side, where he evaded a tackle by Prosper and rounded Hopwood as he came out to narrow the angle and slotted home his side’s third goal. 3-0 AFC Dunstable

With 84 minutes on the clock, good work by Seaton on the left was followed by a ball inside to Jake Bewley, who in turn slid a fine ball in to Williams advancing into the penalty area. However, not for the first time, Murphy was on hand to block the shot and ensure his side maintained their clean sheet.

That was to be the last meaningful action of the game, one in which the home side’s substitutions proved to be the difference between the teams. Next up for the Ducks is a home match against Marlow next Saturday.