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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

Following last week’s spirited performance at AFC Dunstable, manager Ben Williams chose to keep faith with the same team and formation for today’s visit of high-flying Bedford Town.

The Ducks started brightly and were gifted a goal in the 5th minute, a miskicked clearance by keeper Ashlee Jones falling to top scorer Tre Mitford, who advanced and slipped the ball underneath the embarrassed keeper. 1-0 Aylesbury

The lead wasn’t to last long though, as a cross from the right by Ben Ford was initially blocked by Chris Crook, but fell back to Ford, who pulled the ball back to the edge of the penalty area into the path of Lucas Kirkpatrick, who buried a right foot shot giving Archie Davis no chance. 1-1

On 18 minutes Mitford had a golden chance to double his tally and retake the lead for the Ducks. A long clearance downfield by Davis was misjudged by Joe Steele, leaving Mitford clear on goal, however as Jones came out of his goal, the striker could only place his shot wide of the left-hand post. The visitors went straight back down field and had a great chance themselves to take the lead. Dan Walker crossed from the right towards Leon Lobjoit at the far post, but Davis was quickly off his line and forced the striker to place his attempt just wide of the post.

With 10 minutes to the half time break, a great ball down the right flank from Brett Longden found Walker, who cut inside onto his left foot and fired towards goal, only to find Jack Wood there to block his effort.

However, just a minute later and the Eagles did take the lead. Harry Jones was caught in possession in his own half and saw the ball moved quickly to Lobjoit on the left wing. His cross was half cleared, but only as far as Kirkpatrick, who scored easily from 10 yards. 2-1 Bedford

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-2 Bedford

Things almost got worse for the Ducks right from the start of the second half. A diagonal ball found Walker on the right, who pulled the ball back to strike partner Paul Benson, but the veteran striker’s shot was weak and straight at Davis.

In truth the first 15 minutes of the half was pretty much one-way traffic, with the visitors finding time on the ball and space to play their passing game. A ball down the left to Lobjoit saw him cross deep to the far post, but Walker could only direct a side footed shot into the side netting when it looked easier to score. Two minutes later and Callum Mapley lost the ball to Lobjoit on the left; his cross found Benson, but this time the striker attempted a cheeky chip over the advancing Davis, but the ball just cleared the crossbar.

However, the Ducks came back into the game around the hour mark; a diagonal cross from Jake Bewley found Aaron Berry, who controlled the ball well, turned and volleyed, but the ball was always on the rise and cleared the cross bar. Soon after a ball into the penalty area found Mitford, who was strong enough to hold off the challenge of Steele and turned and fired powerfully towards the bottom corner, only to see Jones make a fine diving save to his left.

A double change soon afterwards saw Anthony Ball and Max Hercules replace Chris Crook and Harry Jones, with the Ducks reverting to a more familiar back 4. The substitutes were straight into the game, Ball finding Hercules on the right flank, whose cross found Berry 15 yards from goal; unfortunately, his volley flashed across goal and wide of the far post.

The Ducks failure to add to their goal tally was punished in the cruellest of fashions with 15 minutes left to play. A back pass from Ball was cleared by Davis, but rebounded off Lobjoit and looped over him into the empty net. 3-1 Bedford

A series of substitutions from the visitors helped take the momentum out of the game, and it was two of those substitutes who sealed the points for the Eagles. The ball fell to Joe Evans in the centre circle, who looked up and played a defence splitting ball through to a suspiciously offside looking Jemale McKenzie Lowe, who advanced towards Davis and slid the ball past him. 4-1 Bedford

A disappointing end to the game, one which could have been different if the Ducks had been as clinical as the visitors in front of goal.

Next up an important game at relegation threatened Kidlington, who had a convincing win today away at fellow strugglers Dunstable Town to move away from the relegation places.