Fleet Town 2 Aylesbury FC 0
The poor recent form of their hosts was very much a reason for those FC fans travelling to Fleet to be optimistic.
Report by Jools Thomas
Just 90 minutes later however, the Moles were travelling home having suffered a thoroughly deserved defeat. It was not so much the margin of defeat or indeed the lowly status of their Hampshire hosts that was worrying. Instead, it was the manner of the defeat. Fleet were first to everything, won all the 50/50 balls whilst a completely disorganised FC were unable to trouble a defence that had been shipping goals for fun.
Fleet’s Patrik Ruzika guided in an effort as early as the 3rd minute which FC keeper Ash Jenkins gently shepherded out to safety. Shayne Almond responded in a moment of rare quality as he curled a terrific shot from the left, which just whizzed the wrong side of the Fleet post. Almond looked lively in the opening few minutes and soon afterwards, he again found himself in a decent position but he could slice his shot wide when composure was the name of the game.
Michael Barima then flicked his header just wide from a Ben Stevens cross as FC made full use of playing down the pronounced slope of the pitch. Town captain Matt Bunyan had a similar chance at the other end but his header was also wide of the mark. From that FC goal kick, the ball was played into the box and Michael Barima was unlucky not to break the deadlock as his shot was blocked in the 6-yard box.
Ryan Marklew beat Ash Jenkins hands up in the 21st minute and the midfielder must have been surprised to see his effort cannon off the post when a goal seemed a certainty. As the half ended, FC had their best chance of the game. Ty Deacon broke clear of his marker and as the keeper advanced, the striker poked the ball goalwards only to see it trickle past the far post.
Aston Goss had a half chance on 47 minutes in FC’s first and more worryingly only chance of the half. This was followed by a smart Jenkins save from a Marklew stab. The home team then decided to turn the screw on FC. They frequently exploited FC’s high defensive line and with rapid attacks, constantly exposing Ash Jenkins to danger. Town’s Chris Dean tested Jenkins again before Fleet deservedly took the lead. FC had a number of opportunities to clear but failed to do so thereby allowing Ruzicka to fire the ball home from close range through a crowded penalty area.
The one goal lead turned into two on 70 minutes. The high line was again blown wide apart as Luke Haskell raced clear of the FC defence to dink a cheeky ball over Jenkins into an unguarded net. After this lesson, it should have been clear to FC that playing such a suicidal offside trap could see them easily be punished yet on 87 minutes the defence was breached once again and only a combination of Jenkins bravery and a rush of blood to the head from Bradley Wilson prevented an even more emphatic victory.