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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

After the humbling experience of losing at high flying AFC Dunstable last week, manager Ben Williams made just one change to his starting XI for the visit of Marlow, Aaron Berry replacing Aaron Couch up front, with the latter taking his place on the bench.

Despite the cold snap hitting Buckinghamshire, the pitch at Chesham was in remarkably good shape, with just a light covering of snow in places, meaning the game going ahead was never really in doubt.

The Ducks kicked off with a strong icy wind at their backs and were the dominant force in the opening exchanges. In the 8th minute, a fine raking cross field pass from Ollie Hogg found matt Peake-Pijnen wide on the left. He controlled the ball well and fired in a shot from 20 yards which was deflected just wide of the near post by Calam Gallimore. Shortly afterwards a Jake Bewley corner was met by the head of Jack Wood and found its way to Sonny French, whose shot fizzed across goal and out for a goal kick.

The pressure on the Marlow goal continued, a long ball forward saw Ben Seaton chase towards the penalty area, where Simon Grant came out to collect. However, the visiting keeper was adjudged to have handled outside his area as he slid on the surface after claiming the ball. Bewley drove the resulting free kick towards the near post, where Greg Williams met the ball but could only direct his effort wide of the target.

The deadlock was broken in the 20th minute; Jack Hopwood cleared the ball long, where Ben Seaton found himself clear of the defence with just Grant to beat. His lob over the keeper looked destined for the net, but instead rebounded off the cross bar. Seaton followed up and saw his second effort blocked, but Hogg arrived to fire the ball home to give his side the lead. 1-0 Aylesbury

From the restart the visitors had their first opportunity to threaten Hopwood’s goal. A through ball found Junaid Bell who in turn played the ball to Curtis Chapple on the left. However, after cutting inside Jeanmal Prosper’s challenge the winger’s shot was wide of Hopwood’s goal.

After Callum Mapley had brought the ball out of the defence and passed to Seaton, the midfielder sprayed a ball across to Peake-Pijnen on the left. The winger cut inside and fired a shot hard and low but straight at Grant.

Just before the half hour, French had a great opportunity to increase the lead; Grant’s goal kick was held up by the wind and headed back towards goal by Greg Williams, his team mate free on goal. With probably more time than he realised, he chose to shoot early but his effort from 20 yards was weak and straight at Grant who saved comfortably.

Soon after, Chapple had a similar chance to his earlier strike on goal. Bell again found his team mate on the left, but as with his previous effort it was wide of the target. With a minute to go before half time Chapple beat Prosper on the left and crossed to the far post, where Williams guided the ball out for a corner. From the corner Jake Bewley was beaten to the ball by Chris Ovenden, but his shot hit the side netting. To finish the action for the first period, Kelvin Bossman had a good opportunity to level the match, but his shot was straight at Hopwood who made a good save.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 Marlow

With the strong wind now in their favour, Marlow started the second period strongly. A deep cross from Allen Bossman was headed down by Prosper, only as far as Ovenden on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was too high to trouble Hopwood.

A foul by Mapley on Kameron English saw Bossman deliver a free kick to the near post which was cleared for a throw in. When the ball was played in again, a weak header saw the ball drop to the older Bossman brother Kelvin, whose shot was blocked by Hopwood at the expense of a corner. From the corner kick the ball fell to Gallimore 15 yards out, but Hopwood made an excellent save at the base of the post to keep the ball out.

A rare break forward saw the Ducks almost double their lead. A cross from the left was cleared to Hogg just outside the penalty area. His fierce shot bounced of Grant and fell to Aaron Berry following up, but his shot from point blank range rebounded away off the post.

With 20 minutes remaining a ball forward by Jack Kerrigan was misjudged by Prosper, leaving English with a chance to shoot, but his effort was over the cross bar.

On 82 minutes a corner was cleared as far as Hogg, who found Mapley on the left; his cross to the far post was met by Peake-Pijnen, but his header was too high to trouble Grant.

That was to be the last meaningful action of the game, one which the conditions played a large part in the performance of both teams. Playing against a strong wind both teams found it hard to clear their lines at times, inviting pressure. Fortunately for the Ducks, their efforts in the first half, which saw some neat passing football at times was enough to secure the points. Next up is the rearranged home match against Northwood on Wednesday evening.