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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

After a less than inspiring pre-season programme, the Ducks started their League season with a home match against highly fancied Corby Town, who had narrowly missed out on promotion in the play offs last season. The Ducks lined up with no less than 6 players making their debut in the starting XI, with fit again Jack Hopwood starting in goal. Captain Jack Wood started at right back, with Jordan Jenkins and Dave O’Connor lining up at the heart of the defence. The midfield saw Melvy N’somi, Mark Riddick and Lewis Osborne start, with Ken Feyi leading the forward line.

As to be expected, Corby took the initiative from the off, with the first chance being created in the 4th minute. A good cross from the right by Jordan Crawford was half cleared by Greg Williams, but only as far as Joe Burgess, whose shot was well saved by Hopwood with his feet, the ball rebounding to Steve Diggin, whose fierce shot cleared the bar, with the Corby players claiming a corner, although referee Michael Begley disagreed and awarded a goal kick. Five minutes later, a misplaced pass in midfield by Riddick was collected by Jake Duffy and passed to Crawford wide on the right; he cut inside Jake Bewley and laid the ball back to Duffy whose shot from 20 yards was touched over the bar by Hopwood.

The Ducks were soaking up a lot of pressure from the visitors, but were coping well and starting to pass the ball effectively. In the 24th minute a ball down the left from Bewley saw Harry Jones escape his marker and flash a ball low across the 6-yard box, but unfortunately there was no one in green close enough to get a telling touch, instead it was cleared behind for a corner. From the short corner routine the ball was played back to Bewley and his deep cross was met by Wood 18 yards out, but his header was safely held by keeper Dan George.

Two minutes before half time, Gary Mulligan was dispossessed by Feyi and found N’Somi 25 yards out, but his shot lacked accuracy, clearing the cross bar.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Corby

After a fairly even start to the second half, the Ducks made their first change, with Ollie Hogg replacing Lewis Osborne. Into the action straight away, a free kick down the right found its way to Hogg, whose driven cross was met by Jones and defender Charlie Wise at the near post, the ball deflecting out for a corner. Bewley’s delivery saw Greg Williams get across the defenders at the near post but his trademark glancing header drifted just wide of the far post.

A second home substitution in the 64th minute saw Sonny French replace N’Somi. Like Hogg, he was straight into the action, with some trademark driving runs from midfield opening space for his team mates.

With 12 minutes remaining a sweeping move saw Feyi find Jones wide on the right. His cross was met by Hogg but Wise defended well to deflect the ball behind for another corner. After the first was cleared for a second corner, Hogg delivered a peach of a cross into the 6-yard box, where a diving Wood was just unable to make contact with the ball.

That was to be the last meaningful action of the match, a creditable draw the result and a clean sheet; it’s fair to say that this is a match that would probably have been lost last season. Encouraging performances across the pitch, with some resolute defending and good team work, supporting each other. We move on quickly to a match at promoted Wantage Town on Tuesday, who went down 2-1 in their first match today at Welwyn Garden City. Following that is the FA Cup Preliminary Round match at Brimscombe & Thrupp next Saturday.