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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

Looking to get the play off push back on track after 3 games without a win, including 2 successive defeats, Ben Williams brought Dave O’Connor back into the starting line up alongside Jordan Jenkins, skipper Jack Wood moving to right back in place of Harry Jones, who took a seat on the bench. Mark Riddick and Keaton August also dropped to the bench, replaced by Anthony Ball and Ben Seaton in midfield.

Facing a Dunstable team who were on a shocking run of 6 successive defeats, the Ducks would have hoped for a good start, however those hopes were dashed in the first minute, when Jordan Jenkins was penalised for fouling BJ Christie just outside the penalty area. Nathan Frater stepped up and fired a powerful strike through a flimsy wall giving Jack Hopwood no chance of a save. 1-0 AFC Dunstable

Stunned by the start, the Ducks responded well. Just two minutes later, a diagonal ball found Max Hercules on the left wing. He skipped inside Damen Pickering and curled a shot from 25 yards in off the far post. 1-1

It was to get even better on the quarter hour, as Jake Bewley intercepted a pass on the half way line and passed forward to Ollie Hogg, who looked up, advanced towards goal and fired a shot from 25 yards to give the Ducks the lead. 2-1 Aylesbury

Three minutes later, Hogg picked out Hercules again on the left; he skipped inside Finlay Brennan and as he shaped to shoot the defender fouled him. Up stepped Anthony Ball, 25 yards from goal, but unlike his team mates previously, his shot was straight at George Rose between the sticks, who made a comfortable save.

On 20 minutes, a long free kick was collected by Frater, who turned Jenkins and shot from 25 yards, but his effort was deflected for a corner, which was comfortably cleared. From the next attack, a clearance fell to Luke Abraham 25 yards out, but his shot was high and wide of the target.

Just before the half hour mark, a pass from Ball found Juwon Akintunde 30 yards from goal. A fine piece of skill saw him spin away from Ryan Frater and clear on goal, but his effort from 15 yards was well saved with his legs by Rose.

The game was end to end by this stage, with both sides having opportunities to increase their tally; the next chance fell to the visitors, as a Newman Carney free kick was met by Ryan Frater, but his powerful downward header was well saved on the goal line by Hopwood. As the half came to an end, the Ducks had one final chance. Bewley did well to skip past two defenders and pass to Sonny French. He in turn saw Seaton in space square of him, who took a touch and fired a shot goal wards, but just wide of the far post.

Half-time: Aylesbury 2-1 AFC Dunstable

The second half started well for the Ducks, a diagonal pass finding Hercules wide on the left; as a tackle came in from Brennan, the ball fell to Bewley 35 yards out. Whether it was a cross or a shot is up for debate, but his effort saw the ball loop over Rose and fall into the far corner of the net. 3-1 Aylesbury

Akintunde was the next to chance his arm, as a pass from French found the striker 20 yards from goal, but just as he shaped to shoot, the ball bobbled and his effort was skied over the bar.

On the hour mark, Seaton was adjudged to have fouled Nick Elliot 20 yards from goal in a central position. Up stepped Nathan Frater again, but this time the wall stayed firm and blocked his powerful effort.

In the 65th minute, Ball broke down the right and played a dangerous low ball to the near post, where it was cleared for a corner. However, as he delivered the ball, he fell and badly twisted his ankle, resulting in him leaving the pitch and taken to hospital for checks, which thankfully later confirmed that there was no break, but badly sprained ankle ligaments, which will side-line him for a few weeks.

With 20 minutes remaining a deep cross from the right saw Wood clear over the bar from inside the 6-yard box; the resulting corner from Carney saw Abraham meet the ball at the far post, but could only direct his effort wide of goal.

Wood almost added a fourth goal 5 minutes later; a corner from Bewley was met by the skipper, but this time Abraham was in the right place defensively to clear the header off the line.

As the match drew to a close, French picked the ball up in the centre circle, and embarked on a trademark driving run towards the penalty area. He passed to Hercules, who cut inside and saw his effort blocked by Abraham.

Nathan Frater had a great chance to reduce the arrears with two minutes left on the clock; a throw from Abraham was headed clear to the striker 20 yards out, but his first-time volley was comfortably saved by Hopwood.

The last action of the match saw substitute Lewis Osbourne spread the ball wide to Hercules, who played the ball down the touchline to French; although he was in a position to shoot, he chose to cut inside and was tackled, with the ball falling to Osbourne who was up in support, but his effort was blocked and cleared when it looked as if the Ducks were about to add gloss to the score line.

So, another 3 points and with results elsewhere midweek being favourable to the playoff chances, the gap to those chasing is now 5 points, although some of those clubs do have games in hand. As we enter the run in, its all to play for.