Ducks up to third after French rescues a point at Northwood

Sonny French. Picture: Mike Snell

Sonny French. Picture: Mike Snell

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Aylesbury United were unable to maintain their 100 per cent away record on Saturday but they did secure another useful point thanks to Sonny French’s second-half strike, enough to lift them third in Division One Central.

Although Ducks goalkeeper Zaki Oualah made a string of fine saves, the match was not a completely one-sided affair, with Northwood simply more decisive in the final third.

There were two changes to the United side that had come back to beat Bedford a week earlier, with Vijon Sentain drafted in for his first start, and Greg Williams replacing Jordon Frederick in midfield.

Both goalkeepers were called into action inside the first four minutes as Julian Smith was denied by Oualah before home keeper Montel Joseph thwarted Sentain after a neat one-two with French, while Ryan Kinnane headed the resulting corner over.

Joseph was the busier of the two keepers in the opening quarter as he also saved from Reece Cameron, who then sent a first-time lob over, and Greg Williams was the next to try his luck when hooking a volley too close to Joseph.

Prior to that, Northwood’s most meaningful attack was instigated by the dangerous Louis Bircham who played a one-two before seeing his shot saved by Oualah, but it was the home side who struck first when, on 35 minutes, Bircham screwed a shot across goal where Ryan Debattista tapped in from close range.

With a new-found confidence, the hosts then went in search of a second but Oualah kept United in the game with two fine saves, and the visitors almost had an equaliser on the stroke of half-time but Sentain headed Cameron’s cross wide.

No matter, the Ducks would not be denied a leveller and it was courtesy of an absolute gift when the goal did arrive, which came after a flurry of Northwood chances.

Mark Burgess played a back pass to Joseph that put him under immediate pressure, and as he chose to take a touch instead of clearing, Sentain was in quickly to block. The ball rolled loose to Cameron whose shot across goal was met by the arriving French to tap into the net.

A superb goal-saving challenge from Northwood’s James Budden denied Sentain the winner, while Oualah twice kept the hosts at bay and the two sides had to be content with a share of the spoils.

Aylesbury visit AFC Dunstable this weekend.