Ducks back on song as they eye top of the table

Stacey Field
Stacey Field
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After the disappointment of going out of the Challenge Trophy on Wednesday evening Aylesbury United got back to winning ways beating Ampthill 4-1, writes Ian Pluck.

The match started in a lively manner, with the visitors first to attack. A cross into the box saw John Mulholland only able to find Lea Coulter on the right hand side of the box. He took the opportunity to remind the home fans of his skill on the ball as, without hesitation, he hit a first time volley from 25 yards which Jack Sillitoe in goal was relieved to see bounce off the top of the bar and away for a goal kick.

Recovering from this early scare, the Ducks started to get a grip on the game in midfield, and in the 3rd minute, a delightfully lofted ball by Ben Butler saw Stacey Field easily beat the offside trap to lob the visiting keeper from the edge of the box.

This was just the start the home side needed, and they went on to dominate the first half, urged on by the management.

Chances were coming quite regularly as the Ducks passed their way through the midfield. Reynolds went on a typically mazy run down the left flank, finally feeding Austin who got the ball out of his feet, beat 2 men but could only chip the ball wide of the goal.

In the 37th minute, a rare attack from Ampthill saw a fine diagonal ball from Paul Lyon find Coulter in space on the right side of the box. Only a fine defensive block from Reynolds prevented anything worse than a corner being conceded.

As half time approached, the Ducks fans were resigning themselves to ending the half with just the single goal to show for their domination. However, a ball down the left wing by Reynolds found Ben Baines, who moved the ball on to Austin. He beat his marker with ease, finding Reynolds who had continued his run and found himself on the 6 yard line. The finish wasn’t a thing of beauty, as it bobbled off his left foot, wrong-footing the keeper, but all that mattered to the home faithful was that the lead had been doubled

With words of wisdom from their management still ringing in their ears, Ampthill came back strongly. A cross from the left side saw the ball cleared only as faras Michael Lyon, whose volley from 25 yards only just cleared the bar.

The action swung straight to the other end, as yet another attack down the left flank, this time by Baines, as he left his defender in his wake, crossing to the near post, where Field made no mistake, heading home his second of the match, easing the nerves of the Ducks fans.

Field almost scored his 3rd hat-trick of the season 7 minutes later. A corner from the left taken by Ben Hammond was cleared to the striker on the edge of the box. His strong drive from 20 yards must have been seen late by the keeper as it went through a mass of players, but he made a fine save down to his left to divert the ball away for another corner.

Following this, Tony Joyce made his first substitutions of the game, Paul Edgeworth and Joey Acheampong (making his 100th appearance for the Ducks) replaced the impressively industrious Ben Hammond and a limping Field. Just 3 minutes after entering the fray, Acheampong had a gilt edged chance to mark his milestone with a goal.

Two minutes later, in the 83rd minute, Ampthill got a goal to get themselves back in the game. A long ball down the right saw what appeared to be a foul on Mulholland as he fell to the ground just inside the penalty area. As the referee waved play on, Mackenzie took the ball and squared it to substitute Cooksley who beat Sillitoe in the home goal from eight yards out.

The Ducks finished the match as they had started it; in the 92nd minute Edgeworth again showed his vision as he picked out Baines run down the left with a sublime pass. He sprinted away down the flank and very coolly flicked the ball over the onrushing keeper with the outside of his boot. A goal his performance definitely deserved.

The week ahead sees the team travel to both Oxhey Jets, looking for revenge for Wednesday’s defeat in the Challenge Trophy, and top of the table Dunstable Town.