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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

Following their first league defeat of the season at Biggleswade on Tuesday evening, the Ducks made two changes to the starting lie up. Sydney Ibie’s loan period has come to a close, he was replaced by David Manu and Harry Jones dropped to the bench, replaced by Ty Deacon.

The match started (and finished!) in driving rain, with the Ducks having the benefit of the conditions in the first half. It was a cagey start, with much of the play centred on the midfield area for the first 15 minutes as both sides fought for superiority. The first real opportunity fell the way of the home side, when a poor clearance by Andy Gunn was collected by Jamie Jellis, who let fly from 30 yards, but his shot was narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

In the 23rd minute, the visitors forced a corner which was taken by Henry Landers. After the ball was cleared back to him, he cut inside and shot from the edge of the area, but his effort was deflected in flight for another corner. From this set piece, the ball bounced around in the penalty area, forcing Jack Hopwood into two good saves, before the final effort was weak and straight at the keeper.

It was the visitors who took the lead with their next attack; a cross from the right by Jordy Ngathe was half cleared only as far as Harry Grant, who lashed a shot across goal and into the net. 1-0 North Leigh

The very next attack from the Ducks saw a corner from Jake Bewley headed across goal by Jack Wood at the far post, unfortunately not one of the three Ducks players could get a decisive touch on the ball, with a goal kick the result as the ball rolled out of play.

In the 31st minute, Ty Deacon did well to win the ball in a tussle with Aaron Heap and laid the ball into the path of Greg Williams, who saw his shot from 25 yards deflected over the bar for a corner.

The next attack did provide the home faithful with the goal they craved. Wood won the ball and passed forward to Sonny French, whose shot was cleared, but only as far as Dave O’Connor, who looked up and curled a shot into the far corner to equalise. 1-1

It was the least the Ducks deserved, by now they were dominating much of the possession, but as so often this season, were having little to show for their efforts. However, it was the visitors who came close to retaking the lead in the 37th minute. Good play on the left saw Lance Williams lay the ball into the path of skipper Callum McNish, but his goal bound shot was palmed around the post by an alert Hopwood.

The last action of the half saw a good move started by French who sprayed a ball to the left finding Bewley breaking forward. He passed inside to Feyi, who linked up with Jellis, before the ball was passed to Manu, whose shot from 25 yards was narrowly wide of the target.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-1 North Leigh

Into the second half and another good passing move involving Wood, Bewley and Jellis, saw Bewley cross to the near post where Gunn headed the ball out for a corner. From the set piece the ball was cleared to Wood, whose pinpoint cross to the far post was met by Williams, but under pressure from Ngathe, his header fell wide of the goal.

On the hour mark the visitors did retake the lead. A corner from the left by Warren McSkelly was headed back across goal where veteran defender Gunn was unmarked 4 yards out to head home. 2-1 North Leigh

A controversial moment occurred in the 63rd minute, as Bewley stretched to intercept a cross from Landers, diverting the ball back towards Hopwood, who picked the ball up, only to be penalised by the referee for collecting a back pass. From the resulting indirect free kick Grant saw his shot clear the cross bar, much to the relief of the Ducks defence.

With 20 minutes left a triple substitution saw Ollie Hogg (returning from injury), Ben Seaton and Harry Jones replace Williams, Deacon ad Manu. At the same time, North Leigh brought on ex Duck Tyriq Hunte, to replace Williams.

The fresh blood was quickly into the action, adding fresh legs and impetus to the Ducks attempts to get back into the match. With 15 minutes left Bewley and Jellis combined to find Jones on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was weak and wide of the target.

Two minutes later the visitors extended their lead. The ball was given away in midfield, where Landers strode forward and bisected the central defenders to find Hunte, who advanced on goal and finished clinically past Hopwood from just outside the penalty area. 3-1 North Leigh

With 10 minutes remaining, great work by Jellis saw him find Hogg just inside the penalty area, but his shot was cleared off the line by Gunn. As time began to run out, French was unlucky, having two shots in the same attack well saved by Cavanagh.

Another moment of controversy in the 88th minute, as a shot was handled 25 yards from goal. Hogg took the free kick quickly, but saw the ball bounce off a North Leigh defender who had failed to retreat 10 yards. The ball fell to French, who slotted the ball past Cavanagh, only to see the referee disallow the goal and order the free kick to be retaken. From the free kick, Bewley struck his shot well around the wall, but Cavanagh was equal to it, diving full length to palm the ball away for a corner.

A second goal did come the Ducks’ way in the 90th minute; Seaton crossed from the right, which was flicked on towards Jones, who finished well. 2-3

While the goal was welcome, sadly it was too little too late to give the Ducks any chance of drawing level, the visitors closing out the game comfortably to record their 4th successive victory against the Ducks and maintain their unbeaten record against us. They are fast becoming a bogey team!

Looking ahead, next up is the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup 1st round tie against Aylesbury Vale Dynamos, before a first visit to play St Neots Town in the league next Saturday.