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The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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Danny Nicholls provided further evidence of why he was made permanent manager of Aylesbury United, leading his team to a fine 2-1 win over League leaders Merthyr Tydfil, and recording three wins out of the three games since his appointment.

Neil Lazarus was brought into an otherwise unchanged team from Saturday's win over Halesowen, in a straight switch for Colin Baker on the right-flank.

In the fifteenth minute Aylesbury carved out a great opportunity to take the lead, with the ball being spread to Daniel Mead on the left. His deep cross was met well by Leon Gutzmore at the far post, but he could only head the ball wide.

The impressive Jay Gould then had a shot comfortably held by Merthyr goalkeeper Morris, and Lazarus himself fired well wide.

The Ducks took the lead after twenty-five minutes, and without being truly threatened by their visitors. Gutzmore used his pace to run into the box, where he was felled by a desperate challenge. Sadly the striker's quest for a goal continues, as his spot-kick was saved. But Aylesbury's new determination to score paid dividends, as they refused to let the ball leave the box, and Paul Edgeworth netted. 1-0 Aylesbury

Gutzmore had another good chance to score, as the ball dropped nicely for him, but he blazed his effort over the bar.

Towards the end of the half the Puritans fashioned a couple of openings of their own, both falling to Richard French. Firstly French shot over under pressure, and then appealed for a penalty. The same player then shot well over the bar when well placed.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 Merthyr

The second half was much of the same to begin with. The Ducks defence was once again superb, aided by the workmanlike midfield pairing of Williams and Gould, had Merthyr stifled.

Danny Nicholls pulled a surprising substitution out of the bag twelve minutes into the half, replacing Dean Cracknell with Dean Powles, and it paid dividends when the latter scored Aylesbury's second four minutes later. Merthyr's fury at what they believed was a foul in retrieving the ball was compounded, as Lazarus races away and his deflected cross was expertly headed into the top corner by Powles. 2-0 Aylesbury

Instead of killing the visitors off though, the goal only seemed to fire them up, and they responded by scoring with their first effort of the half. With the Aylesbury defence having pushed up for an attack, Matt Hayward found himself alone at the back, and Chris Bale ran through to easily score. 2-1 Aylesbury

For a while it appeared as though Merthyr would mount an onslaught, as they started to keep the ball and push Aylesbury further back. With twenty-five minutes remaining they certainly had time on their side.

But it was United who continued to create the better of the chances. Edgeworth used his pace to beat a defender, before his cross-shot had Morris backpeddling, acrobatically tipping the ball over.

Merthyr brought on their top-scorer Craig Steins as they searched in vein for another goal. The closest they came though was an effort from Paul Keddle, which deflected comfortably into the arms of Rashid.

Aylesbury had one further chance, before the end of the game was disrupted by a number of substitutions. Superb skill from Jay Gould saw him beat his man in the middle of the pitch, before playing a fantastic ball over the top for Dean Powles, who headed towards goal but couldn't get the power in his effort.

So another league leader leaves Buckingham Road disappointed. Another superb performance from the entire team saw off Merthyr tonight, as we move up the league again.