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Match Report

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Match report by Ian Pluck

Off the back of a string of disappointing results, the Ducks travelled to Colney Heath, looking to get back to winning ways. On a blustery afternoon it was the Ducks who dominated play throughout, taking the lead from an Anthony Ball header, but the hosts hit back to score two goals in two minutes half way through the first half, before adding a third in stoppage time at the end of the match to confirm the result.

Playing against the prevailing conditions, uphill and against a strong wind, the Ducks started well, passing the ball on the ground and pulling the home side out of positions, creating chances. In the 3rd minute, a Max Hercules cross from the left fell invitingly for Ball, who ghosted in front of his defender, but his shot from 8 yards was mishit and ended wide of the target.

As a warning of what could be achieved with a strong wind at their backs, Chris Griffin did well to control a bouncing ball 45 yards out and turned and shot towards goal, but saw his effort sail wide of Archie Davis’ goal.

Shortly afterwards, Jake Bewley combined with Hercules setting the winger free inside the penalty area, but his shot drifted wide of the post.

The breakthrough came just before the quarter hour, as a short corner from Hercules to Bewley saw the latter fizz a cross into the 6-yard box, where Ball arrived to power his header home off the crossbar, with the assistant referee confirming that the effort had crossed the goal line. 1-0 Aylesbury

Given the poor recent run, hopes were high that the team might build on the goal and go on to victory, however, it wasn’t to be. In the 26th minute Harry Shepherd collected the ball 45 yards out, looked up and spotted Davis slightly off his line; without hesitation he fired towards goal, the ball soaring over the keeper’s head to register an equaliser. 1-1

It went from bad to worse two minutes later, as Yasin Boodhoo rose highest to head home a corner from 10 yards. 2-1 Colney Heath

Half-time: Colney Heath 2-1 Aylesbury

Into the second half, and with the conditions in their favour, the Ducks pretty much camped in the opposition half, looking for a way back into the game. Hercules was particularly prominent on the left combining well with Bewley and being the main creative outlet. Two minutes after the restart, he got to the bye line and pulled back to Sonny French, but his effort from 15 yards was cleared off the line by Max Jessop with keeper Tiernan Parker well beaten.

Just before the hour, Hercules had a shot well saved at the near post by Parker, from the resulting corner skipper Jack Wood rose highest, but his header flew narrowly wide of the post with no one on hand to tap in.

The hosts, content to soak up the pressure and play on the break had a great opportunity to extend their lead in the 61st minute; a throw in was collected by Matthew Walsh, who laid it into the path of Aaron Hudson, who hit a left foot shot which cannoned off the outside of the near post and out for a goal kick.

Looking for an equaliser, the Ducks switched formation to 3 at the back, piling more pressure on the home defence, with Harry Jones supporting Gavin James as a twin spearhead to the attack.

In the 73rd minute, James got free on the right and spotted Hercules unmarked 15 yards from goal, however his first-time volley was rushed and sailed high over the bar, when in truth he had time to take a touch before shooting. It was perhaps typical of the frantic and nervous attempts that the Ducks were forced into by a combination of the score line and the stout defensive work by the hosts.

Another great opportunity fell the way of substitute Jaedon Phillips, who had only just replaced James. Another Hercules cross was fired across the 6-yard box, but Phillips couldn’t get a good enough contact on his header, seeing his attempt fly wide of the far post.

Despite dominating play for virtually the whole of the second period, the Ducks were hit by a classic sucker punch as the game moved into added on time. A long clearance fell to substitute Ebrima Sawaneh, who wriggled free from the combined efforts of two Ducks defenders and fired past Davis to add a third and give the score line a rather flattering appearance for the home side. 3-1 Colney Heath

Another bad day at the office for all concerned with the Ducks, and with tough games coming up, a lot of soul searching and reflection will be needed as we look to arrest the poor run. It’s not without doubt that this squad are capable of turning it run, and on another day and with some better luck, today would have been the day. Onwards we go, and welcome former landlords Thame United to the Meadow on Wednesday, in what is always a hard-fought contest, followed by the visit of Biggleswade FC the following Saturday.