Ah the Bank Holiday derby...Don't you just love it! And with both teams fighting for their Premier Division status this could prove to be the last clash between Aylesbury and Chesham for a while.
For the first time this season, Aylesbury started a match with the same eleven players as the previous game. In a rather strange midfield line-up Dwayne Plummer was once more given license to rome behind the front-two, with Richard Gell the work-horse, Fiston Manuella the anchorman, and Adam Campion on the wing.
Unfortunately, the game couldn't have started any worse for the Ducks. The visitors found themselves a goal down after just two minutes played. A corner was swung into the near post, before being scuffed on by a Chesham player. This caused a mad scramble in the box, and the ball was forced over the line by Paul Fewings. 1-0 Chesham
With the Ducks seeming unable to get hold of the ball, and get into their opponents at all, Chesham tried to get a second goal. Andy Douglas used his pace and nearly reached a penetrating long ball, and then Andre Scarlett stole in behind the defence and attempted to lob the stranded Lee Worgan. Luckily his effort went just over.
As in a lot of away matches recently, Aylesbury were finding chances hard to come by, and time and time again Chesham were able to attack the Ducks. However, a rare forray into the home sides' box resulted in a scramble, with Aylesbury unable to squeeze the ball into the net.
Then came the turning point in the match. Dwayne Plummer played a woeful backpass straight into the path of Douglas, who raced clear of the defence. Confronted with Worgan, he squared the ball, and Danie Braithwaite at full stretch couldn't quite connect to turn the ball home. It was certainly a scary moment, as Chesham came so close to going 2-0 up, and certainly a wake-up call for a number of players, and catalyst to the recovery that followed.
United suddenly turned it on, and first Michael Harper made something out of nothing, and fashioned himself a half-chance following some good work down the left. And then came the equaliser. And what a goal it was. Danny Gordon made a fantastic tackle in the midfield, and played an exquisite aerial ball to Adam Campion who had found space on the left. His first touch was excellent, and allowed him to race away and coolly slot a left-footed shot past Delroy Preddie in the Chesham goal. 1-1
To the travelling Ducks delight, they had overcome their terrible start and levelled with their first real chance of the game. But things were about to get even better, as three minutes later it was 2-1. A ball played up the middle was flicked on by Harper...And that's where the fun started. An apparently offside Plummer (he was 2-yards offside, there can be no denying!) received the ball, and stopped, believing he was offside. Once he realised there was no flag, he carried on. However, the entire Chesham defence had come to a standstill, including keeper Delroy Preddie. In fact, Preddie re-enacted the classic moment when Fabien Barthez stood up claiming offside against Di Canio in the FA Cup a year or so ago. Dwayne kept his head, and skipped past Preddie to pass the ball into the net. 2-1 Aylesbury
With the half almost at an end, Steve Sinclair hit a wayward shot which was both high and wide of the goal. Andre Scarlett was then booked for a stupid, late challenge on Marien Ifura. Fair enough, get on with the game. But no. After the booking, as Scarlett was retreating, the linesman began flagging. The ref came over and showed Scarlett his second booking, and subsequent red card, presumably for something he said.
Surely that was the sealing moment of the game. 2-1 up against 10 men, the second half would just be a formality. Wouldn't it?
Half-time: 2-1 Aylesbury
The second half started with Aylesbury continuing their domination. The once again lively Harper beat the offside trap, and tried to lob Preddie. His effort fell wide of the far post though. The Ducks faithful were then incensed after Nathan Bowden-Haase appeared to elbow Harper. The Chesham defender got away with his indiscresion, Harper was not so lucky however, as his afternoon was ended and he was replaced by Roni Joe.
The Ducks were still the better side, and from a long throw Plummer hit a half volley which was held by the keeper. Richard Gell then hit a long effort well over. The same player then had another effort. After battling to win the ball he dribbled into the box, and his left footed shot was well tipped wide by Preddie.
The match was then made safe, and it was Craig Maskell from the penalty spot. Plummer drove into the box and was clean through, before being felled by the sprawling challenge of James Bent, who can consider himself lucky only to have been shown a yellow card. Maskell slotted home the penalty with his usual aplomb, and scored his 23rd of the season. 3-1 Aylesbury
To Chesham's credit, they mounted a late rallying call, and put pressure on the Ducks once more. Lee Worgan was beaten to the ball by Douglas, and his header appeared in, but was cleared by Steve McGrath. Grant Cooper then volleyed the ball just wide, with the goal vacant following a clearing punch by Worgan.
This was as good as it got for Chesham in the second half, and they showed very little, which was in total contrast to how they had begun the match. As the game drew on, Greg Williams replaced Adam Campion, and Alex Stanley replaced Craig Maskell.
The final action of the game was an error by Bowden-Haase, as he miskicked, totally missing the ball, which allowed Roni Joe to steam clear of the backline. His fierce shot was saved by the legs of Preddie.
The final whistle saw joyous scenes of celebration from the players and fans, the complete reverse of the scenes at Burscough just nine days prior to this game. In one week we've collected ten points, out of a possible twelve. Certainly not relegation form...
Marien Ifura watching Andy Douglas carefully
Defending a corner kick
Ifura on the ball
Chesham take the lead from a corner kick
Captain Daniel Gordon
Lee Worgan claims the high ball
Striker Michael Harper challenging
Scrappy midfield battling
Dwayne Plummer watching the ball
Ducks on the attack
Adam Campion coolly slots home the equaliser
Plummer celebrates his goal
Craig Maskell battling
Harper is laid out by a stray Bowden-Haase elbow
Maskell gets the ball in
A booking for Chesham
Roni Joe avoids a boot to the head
Steve McGrath gets his head to the ball
Maskell makes the game safe from the spot...
...before leaving the pitch to warm applause
The Ducks travelling fans enjoying their visit to the Meadow
Gordon looks to recover the ball
Worgan comes for the punch
Veteran Phil Dicker on the ball