Emotional week ends in defeat for Aylesbury United

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Aylesbury United’s poor form continued on Saturday when they were beaten 1-0 by Fleet Town on an emotional afternoon for everyone connected to the club.

Two days before the game, the club announced the sad news that first team coach Gary Hawksworth had passed away from a suspected heart attack, at the age of 52.

In memory of Gary, players of both Aylesbury and Fleet as well as the 146-strong crowd held a rousing minute’s applause prior to kick-off.

The game itself ended in another disappointment for the Ducks as Rob Carr’s 76th minute goal was enough for Fleet to come away with all three points and leave United in deep relegation trouble.

Glyn Creaser’s team selection was once again dictated by player availability, unable to call upon Alex Collard and Sonny French, who were replaced by Chris Crook and debutant forward Christian Lester respectively.

Hopes for a long overdue win were high if the team could replicate their excellent display against Chalfont, and a good start saw Aylesbury hitting the woodwork after just two minutes when Greg Williams latched onto a pass before striking a left-footed half volley that flew off the upright.

A corner kick a minute later had to be tipped over by keeper Ryan Pryce with Shaun Owens’s ball heading straight in, before two subsequent set-pieces came to nothing.

Aylesbury’s early momentum was initially halted by injuries to Alvin Rajaram and Lea Coulter, the former helped from the pitch having been clattered by Toye, and replaced by Luca Seminerio.

Despite that, Aylesbury remained the team who looked most likely to find a first half opener as Reece Cameron and Tyrone Taylor were both denied by Fleet’s Pryce.

Ducks keeper Zaki Oualah also had work to do, keeping out Carr, but despite further chances for the hosts, no breakthrough was to materialise before half-time as Pryce remained in defiant mood to thwart Williams, while Jake Bewley cracked a superb free-kick back off the crossbar.

What had been a promising first half showing from Aylesbury unfortunately wasn’t sustained into the second period as their visitors did perfect job of stifling their hosts and the Ducks were limited to a pair of long shots from Cameron that were held by Pryce.

Another injury, this time to Williams, hampered Aylesbury further and their misery was compounded 15 minutes from time when Fleet struck the sucker punch.

Lester’s eventful debut saw him concede a free-kick for which he was booked, and when the ball swung in, Carr rose highest to direct an excellent header over Oualah.

With that setback Aylesbury were left reeling, and Town could have had another almost immediately as the dangerous Simba Mlambo led a quick counter-attack before squaring the ball for Carr who was only kept at bay by a last ditch challenge from Wood.

And United’s terrible afternoon was completed six minutes from time with the dismissal of debutant Lester.

A referee who had previously seemed keen to keep his cards in his pocket had already produced a soft caution, then found fit to show another for the slightest of fouls, and things turned sour whenLester threw the referee’s card to the floor as he stormed off, and appeared to be shown a straight red instead.

It was a bad end to a wretched week for the club, who host Arlesey Town this weekend.