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Match Report



Match report by Ian Pluck

After showing signs of returning to form in the past few matches there was a feeling the game against lowly Hertford Town was a ‘must win, 6-pointer’. Following the match against St Neots in midweek, Ben Williams chose to rotate the squad, bringing in Dave O’Connor in place of Jordan Jenkins, Ollie Hogg replacing David Ozobia in central midfield, Ezra Anthonio-Forde in place of Tyrone Lewthwaite; one further change saw Harry Jones come in to play at right back, with Anthony Ball switching to left back in place of Jake Bewley.

The Ducks started well, controlling most of the opening exchanges and looking to carry a threat to the opposition. Ball did well on the left to find Sonny French in a central position, but his shot from range was straight at goalkeeper Luke Mewitt. Three minutes later, French turned provider as he flicked a pass on to Anthonio-Forde, who swivelled and shot but saw his effort from 10 yards well saved by Mewitt.

The breakthrough came in the 20th minute, when a ball in to the penalty area wasn’t cleared and French pounced to fire home from the edge of the box. 1-0 Aylesbury

The Ducks continued to dominate possession with Mewitt playing a big role in preventing further goals; first a corner from Jamie Rudd was met by O’Connor, but his header was well saved.

The first attack from the visitors saw a long ball forward flicked on by Alex Cathline into the path of Obinna Ogbonna, but a combination of Jones and O’Connor crowded him out before he could get a shot away with Archie Davis able to clear the danger.

Back down the other end and Mewitt again did well after Rudd and Hogg exchanged passes, the latter saw his shot well saved at the near post.

However, shortly afterwards the young keeper was unable to keep the ball out as a corner delivered by Hogg fell to Rudd in the 6-yard box; his shot was blocked but O’Connor was on hand to volley home from 8 yards. 2-0 Aylesbury

Four minutes later and the Ducks almost had a 3rd; French again dominant passed to Anthonio-Forde, who dummied superbly allowing Ball to run on to the pass, but again, Mewitt was out fast to snuff out the danger.

The final chance of the half came against the run of play, as Bobby Bolden got the better of both Harry Scott and Ball in the right corner of the pitch, winning the ball and advancing into the penalty area; fortunately for the Ducks, his shot lacked composure or accuracy as it flew harmlessly wide of the far post.

Half-time: Aylesbury 2-0 Hertford

The second half saw the visitors make changes to their shape as they tried to find a way back into the game. A speculative long ball from Ben Herd was missed by O’Connor, but the onrushing Cathline couldn’t get a decisive touch, with Davis grateful to see the ball go out for a goal kick.

Shortly afterwards Scott lost possession on the left and saw the ball moved infield to Charlie Payne, but his shot from 25 yards wide of the target.

The Ducks had a golden chance to extend the lead on the hour mark; O’Connor won the ball in middle of the park and passed to French, who in turn spotted the run of Tyrone Lewthwaite who had just replaced Anthonio-Forde. However, perhaps not having quite found his feet since joining the match, the striker’s effort from the edge of the box was high over the crossbar as Mewitt advanced.

The visitors responded well, another good, deep cross from Herd found Ogbonna at the far post, but the winger was unable to get a good connection on the ball as he stretched, seeing his effort clear the crossbar.

In the 67th minute French found Scott wide on the left; he cut inside Herd and shot towards the far post, where again Mewitt pulled off a fine save, pushing the ball away from goal; however, there were no Ducks strikers anywhere near to apply the tap in that would have consolidated the lead.

Five minutes later Cathline nodded a cross down to Ogbonna, but this time, although his shot was on target, it was well saved by Davis at the near post. The next attack saw the ball fall to Payne 15 yards out, but a typical ‘body on the line’ challenge from Mark Riddick saw the ball deflected, with Davis making a good save.

With 10 minutes remaining, a corner from Ben Weyman was cleared to Payne on the edge of the penalty area, but his shot was deflected wide. The final chance, deep into added on time, saw Ogbonna feed the ball to substitute Vladut Sighiartau on the left side of the penalty area, but his shot was wild and flew over the crossbar.

Shortly afterwards, referee Minesh Gupta blew the final whistle to signal the first Ducks victory for more than 4 months, easing a burden from the whole squad. In truth, the first half saw the Ducks create chances at will, with the visitors having their young keeper to thank for keeping the score line down. The second saw more rear-guard action, defending stoutly to repel the attacks of the opposition, achieving the first clean sheet since 1st December, securing a valuable 3 points.

Sights now turn to the next challenges that lie ahead; first a trip to Harlow on Sat 26th March, followed 3 days later by the rearranged match at Welwyn Garden City.