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Match Report

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- Aylesbury still yet to beat North Leigh - P6 W0 D1 L5

- United remain in 5th place despite defeat

- Keaton August scores his first league goal for the Ducks

Match report by Ian Pluck

After an enforced week off due to the postponement of last week’s match, the Ducks headed back over the Oxfordshire border to face North Leigh, a team they have yet to beat in 5 previous encounters.

Manager Ben Williams was able to name Mark Riddick in the starting line-up after missing the last match at Kidlington, but Max Hercules was forced to miss the match through illness. A strong bench included Dave O’Connor, fit again after the injury sustained against Biggleswade a month ago.

On a heavy pitch, the Ducks played up the steep slope on the Eynsham Park pitch, in the first half, looking to improve on their last visit to Oxfordshire 2 weeks ago against Kidlington.

The first chance of the game came in the 10th minute; a deep Jake Bewley corner was collected by Jack Wood and played to Sonny French 25 yards from goal, but his shot was deflected into the arms of Adam North in the home goal.

Five minutes later, a free kick fell to Riddick whose shot was blocked, falling again to French, this time his shot was true but again, straight at North, who again made a comfortable save. Two minutes later Scott Isherwood played the ball long to Lance Williams, who beat Wood in the air, then won the ball as it dropped. He cut inside onto his left foot, but his shot was always rising and didn’t trouble Jack Hopwood.

The Ducks should have taken the lead on 20 minutes; a delightful chipped pass by Anthony Ball found Keaton August, who in turn lifted the ball over the defence for Ken Feyi to run onto. He beat veteran defender Andy Gunn for pace, but his shot when one on one with North was disappointingly weak and straight at the keeper.

Instead of taking the lead, the Ducks were behind within 30 seconds. The home side broke forward from North’s clearance, with the ball finding Aaron Heap. He passed to Henry Landers on the right and was able to cross to Williams on the edge of the 6-yard box, who had a simple tap in to open the scoring, somewhat against the run of play. 1-0 North Leigh

Two minutes later, August picked up the ball on the left side and moved inside onto his right foot, firing a shot from 20 yards which was fumbled by North, but he recovered as Ty Deacon got to the ball to concede a corner. From August’s delivery, there was an almighty scramble for the ball on the goal line, with players from both sides trying to get to the ball which was trapped under bodies on the floor. Referee Dan Todd took the pragmatic way out and awarded an uncontested drop ball to allow North to retain possession of the ball for the home side.

On the half hour, a Sonny French free kick from the left was met by Wood at the far post, but his header was well saved by North, who was having a fine game.

It went from bad to worse two minutes later; a corner from the left delivered under the cross bar by Landers was forced over the line by Aaron Woodley, with Hopwood appearing to be fouled by the striker as the ball dropped. 2-0 North Leigh

With the referee signalling 2 minutes of added time, the Ducks got themselves a lifeline at the end of the half. A pass forward by French found August ahead of Isherwood and the winger slid the ball underneath the advancing North to reduce the arrears. 1-2

Half-time: North Leigh 2-1 Aylesbury

The start of the second half was predominately played in the middle of the park, with neither goal coming under much threat. Just before the hour mark a cross from August was headed down by Deacon 25 yards out, his shot from 25 yards tipped over the bar by North.

With chances hard to come by, Ben Williams chose to change the shape of the team, with Dave O’Connor replacing Harry Jones, reverting to 3 at the back.

In the 65th minute, Heap did well on the right and passed to Lander; he cut inside August, but his shot was over the cross bar.

In truth, the second half never really threw up much in the way of goal mouth action, frequent substitutions breaking up the flow of the game. It took until the dying minutes for the next chance, a free kick from Ollie Hogg was headed down by O’Connor to Deacon, whose shot on the turn was blocked, falling to August whose shot was also blocked and cleared.

The final chance came deep into added on time; a cleverly worked free kick between Hogg and August saw a cross headed out weakly as far as O’Connor, but his headed effort was straight into the arms of North.

The final whistle was sounded soon after, to signal another defeat to what is becoming a bit of a bogey team. The task now is to get back to winning ways, with St Neots the visitors to The Meadow next Saturday.