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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Match report by Luke Buckingham-Brown

Aylesbury’s first trip to Coles Lane in eight years saw the Ducks shock their hosts and bring an end to their eight-game unbeaten run on a freezing cold afternoon in the Midlands.

United made the journey – one of their longest of the season – with a depleted squad missing Ollie Hogg, Sonny French and Horatio Hirst through unavailability or illness. It meant manager Ben Williams was forced to name himself as a substitute, so will take even greater delight from an impressive win against a side on the peripheries of the playoff places.

Aylesbury made an ideal start by scoring with just four minutes on the clock, Callum Mapley getting on the end of Jake Bewley’s corner kick to head home. 1-0 Aylesbury

The lead proved to be shortlived as the Royals hit drew level only five minutes afterwards.

United struggled to clear a throw in and the ball was crossed back in from the left where a rare misjudgement by Jack Wood saw him jump underneath the ball allowing Ryan Nesbitt, lurking behind him, to gleefully nod home. 1-1

After a badly miscued long shot from Nesbitt, Sutton Coldfield should have been ahead in the 13th minute when Ryan Moore ghosted past Bewley to cut the ball back for Mitchell Piggon who ballooned over from close range.

Instead, it was the Ducks who were next to find the net. Harry Jones showed great tenacity to win the ball back having initially lost out in a challenge, before galloping free and driving in a shot that was beaten away by the goalkeeper. The ball was worked back in to Greg Williams whose miss-hit shot was met by the faintest of touches by Mitford to divert it into the bottom corner. 2-1 Aylesbury

Sutton were still strongly pressurising the Ducks with a number of corner kicks, but it was from one of these that United turned to their advantage with a swift counter attacking leading to goal number three just five minutes after the second.

Jones was again the instigator, his charge down the right ending with a cross that Alex Moore headed past his bemused goalkeeper – who had advanced in order to try and claim the cross – and into the net for an own goal. 3-1 Aylesbury

By the end of the half the Royals had forced 7 corners without success, but from the last of those the ball was returned to the box by James Hurst but the good chance was headed over by skipper Jim Mutton.

An even better chance followed three minutes into stoppage time when the ball was cut back for Alex Moore who was unable to make up for his earlier misdemeanour as he placed his shot wide when he really should have scored.

Half-time: Sutton Coldfield 1-1 Aylesbury

A half time change of tactics and personnel saw the hosts make two substitutions at the break, and Aylesbury had to contend with some strong pressure at the start of the second period.

For all of their possession, however, the Royals struggled to break down a resolute Aylesbury defence and aside from a tame shot from Nesbitt early on there had been little cause for concern.

At the other end Max Hercules curled a shot over the bar having cut inside from the left. A corner kick two minutes later nearly caught Sutton out again when Bewley delivered to Greg Williams at the near post whose deft touch nearly found the target.

Just past the hour mark and the home side reduced the deficit with a goal out of nothing, as Nesbitt claimed his second of the afternoon. Picking up the ball he was given too much space to fire in a long, low shot that Archie Davis appeared to have dived to make a full length save, but the ball slipped through his finger tips into the net. 2-3

Aylesbury responded by replacing Aaron Berry with Ben Seaton.

The pattern of the game remained the same with Sutton attacks being repelled time and time again by the Ducks’ defence and it took until the 72nd minute before they had another clear chance – a corner kick delivered deep dropped for Jim Mutton all alone but he pulled his shot wide.

The closing stages saw a frustrated James Hurst lucky to only receive a yellow card for throwing Harry Jones to the ground after the youngster had fouled him, and then, in the eyes of Hurst, obstructed his attempts to retrieve the ball quickly.

Two minutes from the end of normal time Aylesbury had a slice of good fortune when a catastrophic moment in the box saw Davis beaten as Piggon poked the ball past him towards goal, but the post came to United’s rescue as their lead remained intact.

A nervy full four minutes of stoppage time later and Aylesbury were finally able to celebrate an excellent three points. Their dogged performance – particularly superb in defending as a team – earned them the win and kept their good recent run of form going.

The result lifts United to 11th in the table.