The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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Aylesbury made it four league matches unbeaten with an important 1-0 win at local strugglers Berkhamsted Town. Kick-off was delayed by some twenty minutes after floodlight problems, much to the frustration of the Ducks faithful who made a sizable proportion of the 180 crowd.

United didn't start well, not truly finding their rhythm in the opening half hour, but they went close on a number of occasions from some dangerous set pieces.

Melisi set the ball rolling after just five minutes when he slid in to hook an effort goalwards, the effort was scrambled away as far as Matt Butler on the edge of the box but he fired the ball well over.

Daniel Mead shaved the upright with a curling 20-yard free-kick after 12 minutes, then the reinstated Enzo Silvestri sliced wide over the top of his head with his back to goal as the ball fell to him quickly.

Kevin Mealor went even closer with a typically powerful free-kick midway through the half, which rattled the corner of the goal frame with goalkeeper Matt Davis well beaten.

Berkhamsted worked hard but lacked the necessary quality in their side. That said, they did ask questions of United's defence, and Tom Vincent had to be alert to deny Darren Franklin when he broke through. Gordon Guile's follow-up effort was heroically blocked on the line as Aylesbury escaped.

A quality corner kick delivery found Richard Pringle alone in the area, but the ball came to him too quickly and he couldn't adjust in time - the ball coming off his toe and over the bar.

Berko had another chance when the ball came across to Jack Copson, but he drove his effort wide. This seemed to spark United into life, and to the delight of their supporters they switched up a gear and began playing some decent football instead of the long-ball which had preceded.

It paid off when the breakthrough came on 40 minutes. A throw in was quickly worked to Pringle, who played through to Silvestri, who cut the ball back low and hard from the byline for the waiting Gutzmore who showed his predatory instinct to fire home from two-yards. 1-0 Aylesbury

For the third game running Aylesbury's opponents then had their numbers reduced. Midfielder Jack Copson was shown a second yellow card for his second late challenge of the match.

United could have doubled their lead before the break, some more excellent play resulted in Mealor delivering a searching cross which was met by Gutzmore at the far post, but he somehow managed to guide the ball over the bar from five-yards out.

Half-time: Berkhamsted 0-1 Aylesbury

The second half began slowly, but the introduction of Liam Smyth gave the Ducks fresh impetus and they quickly began to cut through their hosts with ease.

A long-throw from the right was met by Pringle at the near post, but he headed over. Thirty seconds later Butler won the ball with a sliding tackle to feed Gutzmore, who ran through but could only steer his shot wide.

With Aylesbury dominating Pringle did well to beat the offside trap, racing on to Mealor's flicked pass, but with plenty of time he slotted narrowly wide of the far post.

Another great chance came the Greens way when Enzo Silvestri this time found himself clean through, but he took far too long over his shot and the chance passed by.

It seemed only a matter of time before the lead was doubled, but chance after chance came and went. Gutzmore went close again after the ball bobbled through to him, but placed his effort wide.

United were unable to make their chances count, and as time went on Berko crept back into the game. At 1-0 they still had a realistic chance of nicking a point, and a better side could easily have done so.

As it was, despite having the ball in Aylesbury's half relatively often in the latter stages of the match, a poor final ball regularly let them down. Vincent never had a true save to make, although he did make several good claims from set pieces to keep the home side at bay.

The closest Berko came to an equaliser came with ten minutes remaining, when Town's best player Darren Franklin broke free down the left, but his shot was always going over.

The final effort of the game went to Aylesbury substitute Justin Gordon, who crashed an effort towards goal which was bravely blocked, after Smyth had cut the ball back to him.

After a lengthy period of stoppage time, the final whistle was blown and signaled some relief for United. An important win away from home, but it should have been easier than the 1-0 scoreline made things.