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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

The Ducks travelled to Creasey Park, able to add Dave O’Connor and Mark Riddick to the starting line-up, in place of Anthony Ball and Sydney Ibie, who took their place on the subs bench.

At a ground that hasn’t been a happy hunting ground of late, and against a team sitting 3rd in the table at the start of play, this was always going to be a difficult fixture. However, with their outstanding defensive record this season there was every reason to be confident, even against a team which had scored 29 goals in 9 league games so far.

It was the home team that took the initiative early, but they were unable to carve out any clear-cut scoring opportunities. The most notable incidents in the opening stages were two robust challenges, the first in the 6th minute by Jack Wood on Kyal McNulty in the penalty area, the second in the 30th minute on Ollie Hogg near the half way line. Referee Martyn Gospel adjudged both tackles to be fair, although the latter was the cause of Hogg having to be substituted by Sydney Ibie just before half time.

The goal mouth action was scarce in the first half hour, with defences on top and much of the play in midfield. In the 24th minute, David Manu won the ball in midfield, advanced towards the penalty area before laying it off to Hogg, whose shot from 30 yards sailed over the bar.

The nearest attempt on goal came in the 36th minute, Dave O’Connor picking the ball up 45 yards from goal, and seeing Dan Green off his line tried his luck, however the keeper back-pedalled well to prevent the ball crossing the line. Just a minute later and Manu went on a mazy run, pushing the ball past two defenders in the penalty area, but went down too easily, with the referee deciding that there was no foul.

With the Ducks enjoying a good spell of pressure, Ty Deacon did well to collect the ball on the right and feed it towards Sonny French in the penalty area, but his shot was well saved by Green. The best opportunity for the home side came from a set piece; Martell Powell’s delivery from a corner was met by Grant Fryer, but his header was narrowly wide of the near post.

Half-time: Dunstable 0-0 Aylesbury

The second half started well for the Ducks, a good run by Manu down the left was well defended at the near post by Fryer, conceding a corner. From Jake Bewley’s delivery the ball was miskicked by Wood, with Dunstable scrambling the ball clear.

Two minutes later and there was a great opportunity for the hosts to take the lead. A ball forward to the prolific BJ Christie saw Jack Hopwood come flying out of his goal to block, but the striker shot beyond him, only to see Jack Wood back to rescue his keeper and block the goal bound shot. From the resulting corner Ryan Frater headed wide of the target.

A great move by the Ducks in the 55th minute saw Ty Deacon collect the ball from a throw in, pass it across field to French, who in turn moved it on to Ibie, but there wasn’t a green shirt in position in the 6-yard box to convert his dangerous low cross. Two minutes later and Ibie had a glorious chance to open the scoring. Deacon played a ball over the top which saw Ibie one on one with Green, but hearing a call from French in the penalty area he chose to square the ball instead of shooting, again the defence snuffing out the attack.

Just past the hour mark, a ball was played in to Christie in the penalty area, who, with his back to goal, laid the ball back to Ashton Grant 25 yards out, but his shot was saved by Hopwood at the expense of a corner. Next, substitute Joshua Crawley ran across the penalty area before passing to McNulty whose powerful shot was parried by Hopwood to Grant, whose follow up shot went over the bar.

The final action of the match saw a ball forward to Nick Elliott who went around the advancing Hopwood, but saw his shot cleared off the line by Bewley to preserve another clean sheet.

All in all, another satisfying afternoon for the Ducks, setting the team up nicely for the trip to Haywards Heath in the next round of the FA Trophy next Saturday.