Aylesbury United again left empty-handed at the home of a team chasing promotion on Saturday when they were beaten 3-0 by Marlow.
The Ducks drop a couple of places as a result, sliding to 15th in Division One Central ahead of Tuesday’s rearranged League Cup semi-final against St Ives Town.
A poor quality game hindered by a swirling wind and a bobbly, unpredictable pitch saw few goal chances created from open play. The hosts, however, scored three goals from set pieces, taking full advantage of United’s season-long struggles in defending such scenarios.
The opening exchanges were fairly even with Tre Mitford firing over from range, but once Marlow had taken the lead after just six minutes, and extended it to a comfortable two before the break, moods began to deteriorate as quickly as the weather.
The opener came amongst some controversy. Allen Bossman’s corner was half cleared before being hoisted back into the box where an offside-looking Nathan Poulton adjusted superbly to hit an acrobatic shot goalwards. Zaki Oualah matched it with a fine save but was left helpless as Jordan Brown followed up to fire home the rebound, with his defenders statuesque.
The Blues should have doubled their lead when the next meaningful attacking action arrived but Brown skied over, before United had their first threatening moment through Lea Coulter who twisted and turned and shot across goal.
Marlow went close again when Brown’s clever reverse through ball set skipper Chris Ovenden away whose shot was deflected just wide of the scrambling Oualah’s upright.
A second goal scored by the home side ten minutes before the break. Amidst some more highly suspect defending, a free-kick from the left was loaded into the box where Adam Richards was on hand to touch it home.
An unusually subdued Bruno Brito had United’s first effort on target and Coulter followed when shooting straight at Driscoll, but Marlow’s 2-0 half-time lead remained intact and was rarely threatened in the second-half.
Mitford headed wide after a move of quality while Coulter almost capitalised on a defensive mix-up, however it was Marlow who had the final say when Marcus Mealing found the bottom corner.