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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Aylesbury’s FA Cup dreams were kept alive by a goalless draw at home to Southern League outfit North Leigh, but there were mixed emotions after a second half which could easily have gone either way.

On the one hand, North Leigh missed a penalty – crashed against the bar – right at the death, whilst on the other, the Ducks wasted a score of clear-cut chances in the second half, which, had they taken one, would have been enough to take them through to a 1st Qualifying Round at Leatherhead.

Tony Joyce opted for the same starting eleven which had lined up at Tring Athletic in midweek, Stacey Field having sufficiently recovered from injury to take his place at number 10.

United started by forcing a couple of corners in the opening exchanges, the second of which was headed over by Mulholland, before a slick North Leigh move – one of many – ended with David King sliding the ball out.

The game’s first decent effort arrived on 13 minutes courtesy of Warren Garcia who struck a well caught shot but it was a fairly routine save for Sam Worrell in the visiting goal.

Worrell was one of a number of players who were part of Didcot Town’s Premier Division side of the previous campaign, and it was another – Elliott Osborne-Ricketts – who was start of the show as he pulled the strings for North Leigh.

A neat passing move involving the aforementioned player ended with a corner kick won for North Leigh, which eventually dropped to Tom Mills whose fierce shot was superbly blocked behind by Edgeworth from which the visitors threatened again, but Brian Bowles could only hook over having teed himself up.

The difference in levels between the sides was showing at this point of the match as United struggled for possession, the yellows having the ball in the net at one point but offside had already been called long before.

United then scored a ‘goal’ of their own three minutes later, a lofted ball in from Edgeworth claimed by Worrell who was then charged into the net in true ‘Nat Lofthouse style’, the referee quite rightly awarded the foul.

North Leigh then went very close again with a headed effort, Mills getting ahead of Mulholland to meet a right wing cross but flashing his effort wide of the post.

Thankfully, Aylesbury had started to get a foothold in the match and for the closing 15 minutes of the half things were more even. They had a good opening just past the half hour mark when Garcia put Field away down the right, and his cut back picked out Baines in the area but, unluckily for him, the ball bobbled just as he struck it and he could only shank it over the bar.

Suddenly, the match was end to end stuff and Osborne-Ricketts received the ball in field after a flowing move, but took too long over his final shot allowing Sillitoe to get down and make a very good smothering save.

With two minutes to go before the interval, Worrell made an unbelievably good save to keep Aylesbury at bay. Garcia’s zipping shot was diverted in the opposite direction by Edgeworth, Worrell managing somehow to adjust himself, dive against his direction of travel and extend enough of a glove to tip the ball wide.

A couple of Aylesbury corners, then a fine passing move from North Leigh and a cross which nearly went all the way into the goal still remained before time was called on a first half which had seen United ride their luck at times and probably be the happier of the sides to reach the interval on level terms.

Half-time: Aylesbury 0-0 North Leigh

On the whole, the second half was a lot more even, but it didn’t start that way as the visitors created all the chances. Sillitoe made another good save to deny Osborne-Ricketts’ swerving drive early on, before Bowles fired over having been set up by the same player three minutes later.

Captain and former Chesham United man, Stuart Hole, then got in on the act, dragging a shot well wide having got up from full back and ridden at Tom Barnett challenge.

Bowles tried his luck again on the hour mark, seeing his shot from range deflected behind. Further great defending from Aylesbury, with Jack Wood having another storming game - seemingly on the end of every delivery to clear the danger, then made sure the short corner kick came to nothing.

Prior to that, Tony Joyce had replaced an exhausted looking Edgeworth with Melford Simpson, and the mere presence of the big striker caused North Leigh new problems in the final third of the match.

Aylesbury finally had an effort to show for their measure of possession on 69 minutes, and what a chance it was. A ball in from wide caught the visitors completely cold, Daniel Jones receiving it, cutting inside his man and back onto his left foot, but with the whole goal to aim at he could only scuff his shot wide from 8-yards.

All the pressure was on the visitors now, and two corner kicks in quick succession came to nothing before Simpson himself then missed a gilt-edged chance as he volleyed Jones’ accurate cross wide from 5-yards.

As the match entered its last ten minutes, both sides were looking leggy but both were still looking capable of snatching glory.

There was déjà vu when Jones missed again from a similar opportunity, dragging his shot wide after a brilliant interchange in the area with Simpson.

Sillitoe came to his side’s aid again on 87 minutes when he punched away a dangerous inswinging cross, and as Hole fiercely struck the rebound it was blocked by Jones for another corner.

Seconds later, it looked like all of Aylesbury’s hard work was about to come undone when the referee penalised Mulholland for handball. However, in an almost exact replica of events at Tring on Tuesday night, the opposing captain stepped up but crashed his penalty against the crossbar.

There was still more drama to come as first Worrell produced some fine goalkeeping to claw away Jones’ inswinger with Simpson lurking. Then, in the very final minute and completely out of nothing, Simpson found himself clean through. With only Worrell to beat he slowly took the ball around him, but then bizarrely attempted to pick out Field instead of shooting, Field’s eventual shot being blocked by the recovering defenders.

It was an excellent end to what had been an exciting cup tie overall, but no doubt Aylesbury’s feelings will be tinged with frustration that they couldn’t convert one of their many clear cut chances.

But at least they still have chance to put it right.

Minute by Minute Updates

Aylesbury's team shows the same starting lineup as Tuesday's win over Tring

And we're underway at Bell Close

1. Edgeworth wins a corner at the near post after latching onto Baines flick
2. Mulholland header over at the far post, deflected for another corner
3. Promising attack from the visitors slid behind by King. Corner kick
9. Quieter few minutes, neither team has settled yet
13. Good effort from Garcia, fairly easy save from the keeper though. First time Aylesbury have strung some passes together
14. Shot blocked at the other end by Mulholland
18. Ball worked into box by North Leigh, shot blocked. We twice gave the ball away in the build up. Need to sharpen up. Corner kick eventually dropped to Mills. Fine volley superbly blocked behind by the head of Edgeworth
19. Weak clearance from the subsequent corner. Bowles tees himself up but hooks over
The league difference is showing at the moment
24. We're struggling to get the ball at the moment. Ball tapped into the net but offside already given
25. Aylesbury won a corner kick, but foul given against the Ducks
28. Aylesbury had the ball in the net, lofted ball in from Edgeworth 'claimed' by the keeper. But he was carried into the net with the ball, free-kick awarded
30. Ball delivered from wide, Mills got ahead of Mulholland but flashed a header wide
31. Field put away down the right from Garcia's pass. Field picked out Baines but he shanked over
33. Things have evened out... a bit. Great noise from the home support again!
34. Flowing North Leigh move down the right. Ball played into Osborne-Ricketts, took too long over final shot and Sillitoe made great save
43. Unbelievable save from visiting keeper! Had to readjust after Garcia's zipping shot was diverted the other direction by Edgeworth
44. Two corners in succession from that came to nothing
44. Jones long shot straight at keeper
45. Great passing movement from North Leigh involving several players. Eventual shot deflected wide
45. Cross in nearly went all the way in. Aylesbury will take half time now!

HT: Aylesbury 0-0 North Leigh. Strange first half - hanging on at times, yet looking a threat when we can get the ball forwards

First goal-less first half of the season so far

Second half is underway

1. Early corner for North Leigh
2. Ball passed around a bit before being passed to Osoborne-Ricketts. His swerving drive had to be tipped over by Sillitoe for a corner
5. Bowles sent a long ranger over having been teed up by Osborne-Ricketts
8. Hole dragged shot wide from well outside the box after riding a Barnett challenge
8. Long ball into the box dropped to Baines unexpectedly. Fine save by the keeper at close quarters. Rebound driven in by Jones, another good save
8. King booked for poor challenge
13. Aylesbury sub: Simpson on for Edgeworth
15. Bowles allowed to turn, shot from range deflected out for corner. Great defending made the short corner came to nothing
16. Aylesbury win a corner at the other end. Keeper clawed it away under pressure from Simpson
18. North Leigh subs: 16 and 12 for 4 and 9
24. Jones, with the whole goal at his mercy, has somehow scuffed a shot wide. Ball in from wide caught North Leigh sleeping
26. All the pressure on North Leigh right now. 2 corners in quick succession
27. Barnett booked
29. North Leigh sub: Hopkins for Roberts
36. Shot blocked into Sillitoe's hands
36. Jones with a great delivery to pick out Simpson. Put it wide from 5-yards on the volley
39. Both sides looking leggy late on
40. Jones scuffed another shot wide from close range after 1-2 in the box with Simpson. Quite how many chances are we going to waste?
43. Cross in had to be punched away by Sillitoe. Hole's fierce follow up came off Jones' back and behind
43. Handball decision against Mulholland. PENALTY to North Leigh... Hit the bar!!! The FA Cup dream lives on!
45. Great goalkeeping from the visitors to claw away Jones cross with Simpson in close attendance
45. Out of nothing Simpson was clean through. Faced with the keeper he eventually went around him but too wide, tried to tee up Field whose eventual shot was blocked!

FT. Aylesbury 0-0 North Leigh. Great second half, but Aylesbury will be frustrated at the chances they missed, whereas North Leigh missed a penalty! Cracking cup tie