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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

After the humbling experience of losing at high flying Bromsgrove Sporting last weekend, it was a Sunday afternoon helping of FA Cup action awaiting the Ducks today, against close rivals Marlow. Due to Marlow being moved to the Bostik League, meeting in a cup competition was the only way the clubs could have met this season, and the FA Cup draw certainly delivered! Manager Ben Williams made two changes to last week’s team, with Jack Hopwood returning after injury to replace the suspended Archie Davis, and Kierran Lataille selected for his Ducks debut, presumably to add more bite and presence in midfield; Harry Jones the player to make way.

The Ducks made a good start, playing downhill with a strong wind behind them, a long ball out of defence by Jack Wood was superbly collected by Max Hercules, but as he went clear of the defence, his shot from the edge of the penalty area lacked power and accuracy and went wide of the target.

Home hearts were in mouths in the 12th minute, as a long ball forward saw the dangerous Jordan Brown in behind the defence. Hopwood was quick off his line to attempt to tackle, but was fractionally late, bring Brown down on the edge of the penalty area. Unlike Archie Davis 2 weeks ago, Hopwood escaped with a yellow card, rather than red as there was a covering defender. Kameron English took the resulting free kick, but slammed it into the wall, the rebound coming back to English, this time his delivery was much better, met by Brown whose deft flick just cleared the crossbar.

In the 23rd minute the visitors came close to opening the scoring; a corner by Brown was met powerfully by Jack Kerrigan, whose header was cleared off the line by a combination of Hopwood and Jake Bewley, when it looked for all the world that the ball was over the line.

As half time approached, a ball down the left found Hercules again beat his defender and bear down on the penalty area. As he entered the area, he was pushed over by Curtis Chapple, with the referee deciding that the offence took place inches outside the area rather than award the penalty that many behind the goal were convinced should have been the result. From Ollie Hogg’s delivery to the far post, Jeanmal Prosper directed a powerful downward header which was deflected up onto the cross bar by Chapple and away for a corner.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Marlow

Two minutes into the second half and Marlow almost stunned the home crowd with what would have been a goal of the season contender. A loose header from Greg Williams in the middle of the park fell to English 25 yards out who hit a first time shot which beat Hopwood all ends up and smashed against the face of the crossbar and away to safety.

After this, the game became a bit scrappy and stop start, with the Ducks uncharacteristically picking up 3 yellow cards in as many minutes for late tackles and niggly fouls.

In truth the second half meandered along with little goalmouth action, until the 79th minute when a ball forward to substitute Allen Bossman was well controlled and rolled square to his brother Kelvin. Just as he pulled the trigger to shoot from 15 yards, Callum Mapley made a brave blocking tackle to keep the scoreline goalless. Four minutes later, a foul on Ducks’ sub Ben Seaton saw a free kick awarded 20 yards from goal. Greg Williams stepped up to take the free kick, but his shot was disappointingly high over the crossbar.

With 4 minutes left on the clock and Sonny French had a great chance to open the scoring and steal the tie for the Ducks. A superbly threaded through ball from Seaton saw French one on one with Simon Grant, but his shot was well blocked by the advancing keeper.

With the match deep into injury time the visitors had the last chance of the match and almost stole the game. A long throw from the right by Calam Gallimore was met by the head of Kelvin Bossman, but fortunately for the Ducks, his glancing header went across goal and out of play to signal the end of the Ducks first 0 - 0 draw since the match at Potters Bar in Nov 16.

That drew proceedings to a close, a game which saw some good application from the Ducks players, but perhaps lacked that creative spark at times to open up a solid Marlow defensive line. The clubs now meet again on Tuesday night to settle the tie and determine which team goes forward to the 2nd qualifying round on Sat 22nd Sep.