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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

Two changes to the starting line-up tonight, with Ollie Stanbridge making his first start since the match against Moneyfields in January in place of Greg Williams, and Harry Jones returning in place of Matt Peake-Pijnen, with both replaced players taking a seat on the bench.

Against a Northwood side without a win in 8 games, the Ducks started brightly. A ball forward by Jeanmal Prosper found Sonny French, who exchanged passes with Ben Seaton before striking a shot just wide of the goal. Shortly afterwards it was Seaton’s turn to chance his arm, finding a yard of space on the left side of the penalty area, but his curled effort was just over the cross bar.

Midway through the half another driving run by Prosper saw him pass to Ollie Hogg just outside the penalty area, but this time the shot was weak and easily fielded by Xavi Comas in the Northwood goal.

After absorbing a great deal of pressure in the early stages, the visitors started to dictate play more themselves, with a good pressing game started to reap dividends as the Ducks players started to hurry their passes, often giving up possession as a result.

In the 24th minute a throw in on the left saw Prosper fail to get any distance on his header, the ball falling to Joe Russell whose snap shot was narrowly wide of the post. Two minutes later and the Ducks were indebted to keeper Jack Hopwood, as Russell tested him for the first time. A good pass from Evans Kouassi found the midfielder on the left side of the penalty area, but his cross shot was well saved by Hopwood.

In the 38th minute with Callum Mapley caught out of position after losing the ball, Sam Oyeniran broke free of the defence and saw his shot saved by a combination of Jack Wood and the goalkeeper.

From the next attack, French saw an opportunity to lob Comas from 40 yards, but the keeper recovered quickly to catch his attempt. As half time approached a long ball forward was miscontrolled by Mapley, falling to Oyeniran, but this time his shot lacked composure and was well wide of the target.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Northwood

The Ducks broke the deadlock in style in the 60th minute. A fine move down the left involving French and Bewley saw the ball crossed to Aaron Berry 15 yards out, whose looping header was expertly placed to beat Comas and open the striker’s account for the Ducks. 1-0 Aylesbury

It was to get even better for the home side 3 minutes later as Seaton did well to find French on the left who hit a good shot which Comas could only parry as far as Berry, who struck the ball firmly under the diving keeper’s attempt to save. 2-0 Aylesbury

After coming on to the pitch moments earlier, substitute Nebay Haile almost reduced the deficit. He won the ball well in a challenge with both Mapley and Wood and broke into the penalty area, but Hopwood was out quickly to block his shot.

Three minutes later and Haile was almost gifted a goal; a long ball forward was miskicked by Hopwood as he raced out of his goal, the ball falling to the striker who could only see his first time shot narrowly miss the target.

The final chance of the game fell to French as the game reached the second minute of added on time. Matt Peake-Pijnen moved the ball to French on the wide left, who cut inside and shot across goal and out for a goal kick.

That was the last action of the match, one which it could be argued that some slack play in the first half could have cost the Ducks dearly. However, two goals in quick succession saw no way back for a Northwood side who lacked confidence and incision in front of goal. A 5th clean sheet in 6 games is a fine indication of how well the side is defending, but that will be severely tested in the next game on Saturday by a Cambridge City side who put 6 past the Ducks when they visited in December.