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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

Fresh from a great victory on Saturday against Harlow Town, Aylesbury United welcomed top of the table Bedford Town to the Meadow for what promised to be a tough encounter. The task was made more difficult by the addition to the unavailable list of new signing David Ozobia, who had impressed on his debut last time out. Into his place came Pierce McNamara, playing alongside Mark Riddick in the centre of midfield. The centre forwards rotated, with Gavin James replaced by Ayodeji Owoeye. The final change to the squad saw the welcome return of Lee Stobbs to the substitutes bench.

The visitors made a fast start, Dan Walker outpacing Harry Jones down the left and crossing to the near post where Jack Wood stretched to divert the ball away for a corner with top scorer Rene Howe waiting to pounce. Three minutes later, the winger on the opposite flank, Connor Tomlinson, cut inside Jake Bewley, but dragged his left foot shot wide of the near post.

Despite their early pressure, it was the Ducks who came closest to opening the scoring in the 8th minute. A throw in on the left was collected by Ayodeji Owoeye, who worked his way infield and passed the ball to Sonny French; he looked up and struck a venomous shot from 25 yards which beat Alex Street all ends up, but rebounded off the crossbar, for the keeper to recover and catch the ball.

Four minutes later a short corner routine between Bewley and French saw Bewley crops to the far post, finding Wood who appeared to be fouled by Howe; despite this, his header across goal was met by Mark Riddick, but he couldn’t direct his header on target.

On 25 minutes a cross from the left found his way to Howe, 15 yards from goal; he fired in a powerful shot which Bewley did well to block, but the deflection forced a fine safe from Archie Davis.

The Ducks took the lead after 35 minutes; a corner from the right was punched down by Street, but only as far as Jordan Jenkins who hit a sweet half volley from 12 yards which hit the underside of the bar on the way onto the net to register his first goal for the club on his 50th appearance. 1-0 Aylesbury

The league leaders hit back in the manner to be expected of a team on a fine run of form. A cross from the left by Walker was met by Lewis Miccio, but his header failed to trouble Davis.

Two minutes before the break the Ducks conceded a needless corner, with Bewley and Davis mistakenly believing the ball to be going out for a goal kick. From Miccio’s delivery Howe met the ball 6 yards out and powered a header into the net. 1-1

The final chance of the half saw Max Hercules make a fine run down the left and cross to Owoeye, but the striker got his attempt all wrong and sliced his shot from 6 yards wide of the target.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-1 Bedford

The second half started with the visitors exerting pressure on the Ducks’ defence. French gave the ball away in midfield, which was collected by Miccio. He drove forward and passed inside to Tomlinson, but the winger saw his shot from the edge of the penalty area comfortably saved. Straight after, Miccio and Tomlinson combined again, before playing the ball in to Will Summerfield; he saw his initial shot really well saved, with the ball rebounding back to him for a second shop, which was straight back at Davis, who caught the ball with ease.

Having made two substitutions midway through the half, Gavin James for Owoeye and the return of Lee Stobbs for Jaedon Phillips, the Ducks were defending well, repelling the attacks from the opposition, and relying mainly on counter attacks to create chances.

With 15 minutes remaining Riddick passed the ball to Stobbs on the right, who crossed to the far post where the less than convincing Street could only palm the ball down to Hercules; he cut inside Drew Richardson but his shot lacked power and was straight at Street. Five minutes later Stobbs picked up the ball on the edge of his own penalty area and embarked on a driving run through the middle of the Eagle’s defence; however, when he reached the edge of the penalty area his shot lacked venom and Street made a comfortable save.

With seven minutes remaining, Jenkins was adjudged to have fouled substitute Craig Mackail-Smith 30 yards out. Hugh Alban-Jones took the free kick and found Howe at the far post, but his header was straight at Davis.

Shortly afterwards Summerfield played the ball into Howe, but once again his finish was disappointing, firing over the bar from 8 yards.

The final action of the game saw a deep free kick played towards the far post, where Wood rose highest and made a fine clearing header under pressure from Howe.

After the whistle was blown, Tomlinson and manager Gary Setchell were both shown a yellow card for complaining about what they perceived to have been a foul before Wood cleared the ball, bringing the total number of cards for the visitors to 5.

All in all, a more than satisfactory performance and a well earned point against the league leaders. Up next is a trip to FC Romania on Sunday afternoon, where manager Ben Williams will be hoping to have a larger squad to select from as the quest for more points to break into the play off places continues.