Aylesbury United 3-0 Dunstable Town - Saturday 2nd March, Written by Neil Barker.
A very disappointing afternoon for the Blues against a well organised Aylesbury United team . The Blues ended the game with 9 players after both Saul Williams and Gideon Okito were controversially sent off, Williams for an alleged red card tackle and Okito for his part in the 'afters' that ensued.
It was telling that several Aylesbury United players were perplexed as to why Okito was sent off and offered to 'go into writing ' in support of the full back. The lack of openness and clarity from the officials after the game also added to the sense of injustice.
That said, this was a contest that 'the Ducks' deserved to win . They were quicker to the ball, and led by a classic centre forward performance by Aaron Berry, the vast experience of Greg Williams , Max Hercules' ability to find space , and the calm assurance of skipper Jack Wood, the result never really looked in doubt.
Manager Gareth Jackson had changed things about on the back of the defeat at Thame . An unchanged back 5 of goalkeeper Connor Coulson ( this writers man of the match) , Joe Mead, Daniel Trif, John Sonuga , Gedeon Okito, were supported by the two holding midfielders Jonathan Osae and the returning Alex Taylor. On the offensive it was Marcus Goulborne, Saul Williams, Ebhan Nancarrow- Martin, feeding into Chris Wreh.
Callum Mapley opened the scoring after 13 minutes with a header following a set piece, and this was quickly followed in the 19th minute by a short corner which was played to Sonny French on the edge of the box, who took a touch and fired in at the near post.
The Blues were struggling to get into the game with passes going astray , but this was not helped by a nasty tackle on Ebhan Nancarrow - Martin which the referee deemed required no more than a quick word. It's a tough job and referee's are often unfairly maligned, but the lack of consistency on display today was a frustration to both sides.
The Blues occasionally threatened, but there was a lack of fluidity not normally associated with the team, and the Ducks always looked the most likely to build on their advantage. The shot stopping of Conor Coulson was much in evidence and his was a man of the match performance.
The second half was a lot more even, but on 57 minutes Harry Janes swept the ball in after a cross from the right, and it was game over.
The Blues introduced Charlie Black, James Lauder, and Erin Amu in an attempt to get a foothold in the contest, however by then Aylesbury were managing the game well and no clear cut chances were created.
It was a shame that a game played in a largely good spirit was marred by the late sendings off. A situation , that should have been handled differently. However, this should not mask a deserved victory for the Ducks, and a disappointing performance from the Blues.
C.Coulson. J.Mead. G.Okito. J.Osae. D.Trif. J.Sonuga. A.Taylor. M.Gouldbourne. C.Wreh. S.Williams. E.Nancarrow-Martin.
Subs-D.Pobbe. E.Amu*. J.Lauder*. C.Black*. M.Patru.