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Match Report

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Just the one change to the starting line up today, as Ty Deacon returned up front, replacing David Manu, who has signed dual registration forms with Bishops Stortford, making his debut for them this afternoon. There was a welcome return to the subs bench for Anthony Ball after missing the past 3 games through illness.

As early as the third minute the Ducks were indebted to keeper Jack Hopwood for an outstanding save. A ball forward to Mitch Piggon was laid off to strike partner Khaellem Bailey-Nicholls who was left clear on goal, but the keeper made a great save with an outstretched right leg.

It took until the 25th minute for the Ducks to have their first attempt on goal. Jake Bewley found Ollie Hogg in midfield, who dummied the ball allowing it to reach Sonny French. He in turn found Deacon on the right side of the penalty area, but his shot from 18 yards was well blocked by the covering defender.

The Ducks struggled to make in-roads against dogged and well organised opposition in the first half, with the visitors taking the lead after 27 minutes. A long ball forward saw Bailey-Nicholls beat jack Wood to the ball, controlling it well as it dropped. He took a touch to move the ball out of his feet and fired a shot beyond Hopwood from the edge of the penalty area. 1-0 Bedworth

The remainder of the first half was remarkable only for the efforts that the visitors went to in an attempt to run down the clock, set pieces taking an age to complete and subtle tactics to use up time.

As half time approached, the Ducks had a great opportunity to equalise. Jamie Jellis was fouled on the right touch line by Blaize Punter, with Hogg stepping up to take the free kick. His inswinging ball eluded at least 4 attackers as it flew through the 6 yard box and out for a goal kick.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-1 Bedworth

With manager Ben Williams absent on the day, it fell to assistants Paul Batchelor and Mike Hogg to galvanise the players with their team talk at half time. Whatever was said clearly did the trick, as the second half was a marked improvement, the home side dominating from the start with some fine incisive passing.

It took just 3 minutes for the Ducks to equalise. A throw in by Bewley found Jellis on the left. He weaved infield, beating 3 defenders before sliding the ball into the path of French 25 yards out, who took a touch before firing a powerful shot past the despairing dive of keeper Daniel Crane to level the scores. 1-1

French almost doubled his tally in the 56th minute. A ball forward to Deacon was passed to him, but his shot was saved by the feet of Crane. A minute later and the home faithful thought their side had taken the lead; Jellis found Mark Riddick at the far post, his header across goal being met by Ken Feyi, who buried a header, only to see the assistant’s flag raised for offside.

On the hour mark, a moment of controversy, as Troke went down in the penalty area. Referee Hugh Gilroy blew his whistle, but to the relief of the home fans, awarded a free kick and a yellow card to the attacker for simulation, adjudging that any contact made was instigated by Troke and not the defender.

Buoyed by this, the Ducks took the lead in the 69th minute. Again, it was French to do the damage, with a goal of similar quality to his first. Bewley played the ball in to Feyi, who spotted French in space on the edge of the area. His shot from 20 yards was again too powerful for Crane, finding the back of the net. 2-1 Aylesbury

By now the Ducks were in control of the game, passing the ball quickly and creating more chances against a deflated opposition. Three minutes after the second goal Deacon had a great opportunity to increase the lead; Bewley’s pas found him on the left side of the penalty area, he cut inside and fired towards goal, only to see a deflection divert it wide for a corner.

A free kick two minutes later from Hogg found Wood at the far post; he rose well and headed towards goal, only to see Crane make a fine save to keep the ball out.

In the 83rd minute a fine through ball set Deacon clear on goal. Defender Daniel Preston chasing back chose to “take one for the team”, cynically fouling him as he approached the penalty area, for a clear red card. Feyi stepped up to take the free kick, but saw his effort clear the crossbar.

Despite being down to 10 men, for the last few minutes the visitors threw everything into finding an equaliser, including sending forward keeper Crane for free kicks and corners, searching for a goal. With three minutes on the clock a free kick was headed out as far as Troke 20 yards out; the defence were happy to see his well struck volley directed straight at Hopwood, who made a good save to maintain the lead.

The drama was not over, as the game approached added on time, the ball fell to Punter 8 yards from goal. His first effort was saved at point blank range by Hopwood, the ball rebounding to the defender, who could only put his second effort wide of the post to the relief of the home fans.

Some fine defending at the end ensured that the Ducks secured the win, a well deserved result especially based on a fine second half performance. The victory lifts the team to fourth place in the league, ahead of a trip to Barton Rovers next weekend.