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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

After a blank weekend due to the waterlogged pitch at Chesham last week, manager Ben Williams made 3 changes to the starting line-up. Juwon Akintunde replaced Ken Feyi who has departed for Tamworth, Ollie Hogg made his first start since recovering from injury to replace the unavailable Ty Deacon and Max Hercules returned after missing the game at North Leigh to replace Anthony Ball who dropped to the subs bench.

The game had a controversial start, as a ball over the top saw Akintunde get ahead of home skipper Elliott Parrott, only to be pulled back as he attempted to reach the ball. Referee Tom Bowkett gave the defender the benefit of the doubt by issuing a yellow instead of a red card, adjudging that Akintunde wouldn’t have reached the ball before goalkeeper Dan Crane collected it. From the resulting free kick, 20 yards from goal, Max Hercules put his effort over the bar.

The home side’s first attempt on goal came in the 11th minute; a cross from the right by Lynas King being met by the head of Luke Rowe, but his effort cleared the crossbar. Three minutes later Hercules won the ball and fed it to Akintunde, who passed to Keaton August wide on the right; he hit a powerful shot which Crane saved well.

A corner from the right in the 22nd minute was met by Parrott, forcing Hopwood into a fine save, tipping the ball over the bar. There was a delay in play after this, as Hopwood received treatment for a hand injury. With the Ducks fans looking round anxiously for goalkeeper cover with no Greg Williams on the bench, they were relieved to see the keeper recover and retake his place between the sticks.

After the hold up in play, Reece Blackmore’s corner was again met by Parrott, this time his header fell to Liam Truslove, whose mis-hit shot was deflected past Hopwood to open the scoring for the hosts. 1-0 Bedworth

The home side were dominating play by now, with the Ducks unable to get a grip in midfield, Blackmore very prominent in most of the home side’s attacking play. A foul by Harry Jones on the touchline saw Blackmore deliver a free kick which was met Truslove, but his header was too high to trouble Hopwood. On the half hour, another Blackmore free kick was met by Parrott, this time his goal bound effort was deflected wide by Jake Bewley.

Half-time: Bedworth 1-0 Aylesbury

The second half started with the Ducks much more dominant. Just two minutes in and Sonny French fired a fine effort from 20 yards that was deflected wide of the near post. Five minutes later French played the ball towards Hercules who was taken out by Blaize Punter 25 yards from goal. Hercules took the free kick himself, but fired it straight into the wall.

On 55 minutes the home side almost doubled their lead; a crossfield ball found King, who beat Bewley and fired a shot to the near post which was beaten away by Hopwood. Shortly after, a free kick was awarded on the edge of the Ducks penalty area, which Ollie Hogg took quickly, spotting Akintunde in space on the half way line. He advanced clear of the defence but Parrott got back well to deflect his shot narrowly wide of the near post with Crane wrongfooted.

On the hour mark, Lewis Osbourne was introduced in place of Mark Riddick; the substitute almost made an instant impact, winning the ball on the touchline and firing a 40-yard pass towards Akintunde. The striker took a touch and shot from 20 yards, sadly across the face of goal and out for a goal kick. On 66 minutes, Jones did well on the right and crossed to the centre of the penalty area, where Hercules rose to head the ball, but it was straight at Crane who saved comfortably.

A second controversial moment in the game occurred moments later. Jack Wood was injured in a collision in the centre circle, but played continued with Bedworth switching the ball wide on the left. As the cross came into the penalty area towards a striker, the referee chose to blow to halt play for Wood to get treatment. The referee applied the letter of the law correctly to drop the ball in the penalty area to Hopwood, although many in the home side were not happy at the timing of the stoppage in play.

On 69 minutes, Crane launched a long ball forward which was misjudged by both Jordan Jenkins and Hopwood, allowing Rowe to advance on goal, but the keeper redeemed his mistake by coming out to block the effort on goal.

After a disappointing first half, the Ducks were playing with more energy and creativity in the second period. On 70 minutes Osbourne picked out a pass to Akintunde who outpaced Punter but saw Crane out well to thwart him on the edge of the penalty area.

After going close on a number of occasions, Akintunde opened his account for the Ducks from the next attack; Osbourne was again influential, passing to Jones on the right. The full back did well to beat Rowe and get a cross into the 6-yard box, which the striker met with a powerful header to give Crane no chance. 1-1

The next attack saw Hercules cross from the left to find Anthony Ball, who had just replaced Keaton August, he met the ball 6 yards out, but could only direct his header at Crane.

With 10 minutes left, a ball in to Luke Keen on the edge of the penalty area saw him lay the ball on to Rowe, but his shot from 20 yards was too high to trouble Hopwood. From the next home attack, Blackmore won the ball from Hogg and played it to substitute Mitch Piggon in the left channel. As the striker shaped to shoot, Wood made a trademark block to avert the danger.

With the Ducks searching for a second to extend their recent run of good results on artificial pitches, disaster struck. Jones gave the ball away 25 yards from goal and the ball was collected by Alex Troke who passed to Blyth just outside the penalty area. Jenkins and Bewley both went to ground attempting to block the shot but it went through them and past Hopwood for the Ducks to concede the softest of goals. 2-1 Bedworth

Soon after, French did well to win the ball in his own half, beating two players but then overplayed as he was robbed by Keen. He passed it to Troke, but his shot was wide of the target. The last opportunity fell to the Ducks. As the game entered added on time, a free kick was awarded on the left, which Hogg stepped up to take. It wasn’t to be though, as his delivery was overhit and went out of play for a goal kick.

A disappointing away day on what has become the Duck’s favourite surface of late, resulting in an unusual defeat on the artificial surface. Next up, in what is looking to be a difficult run of matches towards the end of the season, is a home match against local rivals AFC Dunstable on Wednesday evening, with the team looking to get back to winning ways to strengthen their place in the play off positions.