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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

After an enforced 2 week break due to no further involvement in this year’s FA Trophy, Aylesbury United welcomed Sutton Coldfield Town to The Meadow, renewing acquaintances after last playing the Royals in the 2009/10 season. Two changes to the starting line up saw the fit again Aaron Berry and Sonny French replace Ben Seaton and Harry Jones, who took their place on the subs bench, with Ollie Jones returning from the injury which has kept him out of the side since pre season, joining them on the bench.

The visitors won the toss and chose to play with the benefit of a strong breeze and a low sun behind them, which caused problems for the home defence throughout the whole of the first half. The Royals took the game to the Ducks and almost opened the scoring in the 4th minute. A long throw by captain Mitchell Clarke was headed on and against the cross bar by Max McNulty, before being cleared behind for a corner.

The half progressed with few goalmouth incidents until 10 minutes before half time, when a deep cross from Lee Smith found Max McNulty on the left side of the penalty area, but he couldn’t direct his header on target, the ball clearing the crossbar. Just three minutes later, McNulty turned provider, playing the ball through a static defence for Jonathan Letford to run onto, but Cameron Yates was quickly off his line and made a good save.

A miskick from Jeanmal Prosper let McNulty in behind him, who squared the ball to Ryan Nesbitt, whose shot was narrowly wide. The final action of the half saw Nesbitt cross from the right towards Alex Moore on the edge of the penalty area, but again, his shot was wide of the target.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Sutton Coldfield

The second half started with Archie Davis replacing Cameron Yates in goal, the Wycombe loanee feeling the effects of a challenge late in the first half which left him suffering with the symptoms of concussion.

After a lacklustre first period, during which they had failed to trouble the visiting keeper, the Ducks came out with more intent in their game. A long ball forward from Davis found French, who played the ball quickly to Berry, who in turn found Benjy Aghadiuno, but the striker’s shot from 15 yards was saved by Lewis Gwilliams.

From their next attack, the Royals took the lead. Good work from Letford saw him pass the ball to Nesbitt, who lashed a fierce shot into the top corner of the net, evading the efforts of Davis to reach the ball. 1-0 Sutton Coldfield

Two minutes later and it could so easily have been 2 -0. Nesbitt did very well to cut inside Callum Mapley and get his shot away, only for skipper Jack Wood to make a customary block to deny him.

Just before the hour mark and the Ducks were back in the game. Great work by Aghadiuno saw him show strength and power to get away from Ben George on the touch line. He made his way to the penalty area and exchanged passes with Berry, before coolly sliding the ball across Gwilliams into the far corner of the net to equalise. 1-1

Delight soon turned to despair though, with Davis and Bewley getting in each other’s way as they both tried to deal with a long ball forward. The ball fell to Letford 12 yards from goal and he gratefully fired home into an unguarded net. 2-1 Sutton Coldfield

The visitors were content to sit deep after taking the lead, offering the Ducks plenty of possession, but for all the domination of the ball, there was little in the way of incisive movement. A freekick was awarded 25 yards from goal in the 72nd minute, which Ollie Hogg stepped up to take, but his effort sailed over the crossbar. Five minutes later, an Aghadiuno cross was headed out as far as substitute Ben Seaton, but his shot from 25 yards again sailed over the cross bar. Just a minute later, a good move saw the ball passed from French to Max Hercules, then to Seaton. It fell to Berry 15 yards from goal, but his shot was straight at Gwilliams, who made a comfortable save.

The final chance to square the game came in the 89th minute, Wood won the ball on the half way line and played it forward to Aghadiuno, but the Barnet loanee’s shot on the turn from 20 yards was again straight at Gwilliams.

The final action of the game, deep into added on time saw Wood make another goal saving tackle, denying substitute Francis Amartey after good work from Letford, when it looked nailed on that the visitors would score a third goal.

Credit should go the visitors, who were good value for the 3 points they take home to the West Midlands with them, but this was another disappointing performance from the Ducks, with the lack of consistency that is blighting the season so far returning. With 3 away matches in the next 10 days, a quick return to form is needed if they are to retain an interest in the 2 remaining cup competitions and pull away from the bottom of the league.