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Match Report

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A patched-up Aylesbury gained a hard-earned point against in-form Bedford Town following an entertaining goalless draw at The Meadow.

With Ty Deacon the latest on the mounting injury list, Harry Jones played in the makeshift centre forward role he has previously occupied, but there was at least some good news with Ben Seaton able to make a first start of the season, whilst three new signings – Patrick Ziddane Gourgel-Sequeira, Pierce McNamara and Jamie Jellis - took their place on the bench.

Bedford arrived on a four-match winning streak (three in the league) and with a squad of vast experience - featuring three players in their starting lineup with over 600 football league appearances between them.

The first goalmouth action came in the 11th minute when Lee Stobbs’ searching free kick delivery found Mark Riddick towering at the far post, but as his header drifted across the face of goal he was to be flagged offside anyway.

The Eagles soon responded when Robbie Sinclair fed Dan Walker on the right wing who came inside and went for goal but his tame effort was easily fielded by Jack Hopwood.

Some great wing play by Stobbs saw him flash in a low cross that just evaded the arriving Rudd, but as the minutes ticked past the visitors began to take control of proceedings and peppered the Ducks’ goal with efforts – firstly Craig Mackail-Smith lashing over after strike partner Rene Howe headed the ball on.

A low shot from Walker was nicked just wide and from the resulting corner Sinclair found the same man whose shot was always going over.

On 27 minutes the excellent Dave O’Connor made the first of three goal-saving blocks when he threw himself in front of Howe’s effort after Mackail-Smith had received a throw-in and passed inside.

Momentum swung back in Aylesbury’s favour and they went close when a short corner kick routine between Rudd and Stobbs ended with the former curling narrowly over the bar.

An incredible passage of play and a monumental goalmouth scramble saw Bedford’s goal momentarily lead a charmed life, as two shots were blocked in the area before the ball eventually ricocheted off a defender and goalkeeper before striking the inside of the post, flying across the face of goal before behind for a corner.

As Mackail-Smith and Howe then linked up again, O’Connor produced another brilliant intervention just as the number 9 was about to pull the trigger, and as Bedford ramped up the pressure once more Charley Sanders was picked out by Sinclair’s right sided free kick but planted his header over.

Despite the perception that most of the play had gone Bedford’s way, it was Aylesbury who had the clearer chances of the half and no more so than when Jones was set free by a clever ball over the defence by Seaton, but his attempted early shot cleared the crossbar from the one-on-one.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 Bedford

With their three new faces itching to get involved, it wasn’t long before manager Ben Williams shuffled his pack and introduced Patrick Ziddane Gourgel-Sequeira in place of Stobbs after 53 minutes.

He was soon involved in the action when a flighted cross-field ball from Rudd picked him out at the far post but his volley was blocked by goalkeeper Jamie Greygoose.

Prior to that a mazy dribble from Charley Sanders ended with him coming inside and shooting over, whilst a clean volley by Drew Richardson just missed the target after Walker’s cross was half cleared to him.

O’Connor completed his hat-trick of superb blocks when he this time denied Mackail-Smith on 64 minutes, and, just for good measure, his centre-half colleague Jordan Jenkins got in on the act as he flew out of nowhere to deny the same player as he was about to shoot, though that wouldn’t come until the final minute.

With Aylesbury now having made all three changes with McNamara and Jellis both entering the fray, Bedford were well on top as United struggled to find cohesion. The Eagles forced corner after corner but the Ducks defended doggedly – Hopwood twice having to claw the ball away from virtually under his crossbar.

As the match entered its’ final ten minutes, the action swung back once again and a fine piece of football down the left ended with McNamara’s inswinging cross headed just over the bar by Jones.

Jack Wood then blocked from Richardson, before Jenkins’ heroics doing likewise, before the game’s final major talking point.

Another ball over the top suddenly put Harry Jones completely free, and as he advanced on the penalty area without a defender within 10-yards, he seemed to have ‘too much time’ to think and in unselfishly trying to square for McNamara, underplayed the pass allowing the scrambling back defender to intercept and the golden chance was gone.

As it was, a draw was a fair result, though either team could cite spells of dominance and chances in the game in claiming their worthiness of all three points. The Ducks showed moments of potential, and once the new signings integrate further could help to compensate the ongoing loss of so many key names.

Aylesbury next turn their attentions back to the FA Trophy and the Sunday visit of Isthmian League Premier Division side Margate.