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Aylesbury suffered the massive disappointment of early elimination from the FA Vase after an extra-time goal by the excellent Ray Spence sent them crashing out at the first hurdle.

The already depleted Ducks squad – with Paul Edgeworth missing entirely, and John Mulholland barely fit but playing anyway – suffered further injury woes when David King and Melford Simpson were both forced out of the game in the first half due to facial injuries.

On the balance of play over the 120 minutes Reading deserved their win, leaving Aylesbury to be frustrated that they didn’t give a better account of themselves as Town certainly had their weaknesses.

A quiet start saw little action until player/manager Mark Bartley momentarily burst through from midfield before eventually finding his progress halted by a combination of Mercer and Mulholland.

United were sloppy all over the pitch at this point; regularly giving the ball away and allowing their hosts far too much possession, though they were unable to capitalise on it.

In the 18th minute the Ducks nearly grabbed a goal out of nothing when Joey Acheampong nearly managed to turn Simpson’s flick into the net, but home keeper Garry Aulsberry just got enough on the ball to claw it away.

Reading had the ball in the net midway through the first half when Phil John’s deflected effort landed at the feet of Spence who tucked it away, only to find the linesman’s flag raised.

A minute later Town’s own giant striker – Marcus Richardson – should have scored when a ball into the box found him free 8-yards out but he dallied too much and couldn’t get a shot away.

At the other end, David King was unlucky not to score when a long, flighted free-kick somehow came all the way through to him at the far post, but once again Aulsberry managed to scramble the ball away.

It was to be King’s last involvement as in making his header he collided with something – possibly a home player’s boot – suffering a cheekbone injury and was replaced by Enzo Silvestri, who went on to have a very solid game at full-back.

Undeterred, Aylesbury snuck ahead just a minute later. Jones’ corner kick – one of his better deliveries on an afternoon when they weren’t up to his usual standard – picked out Simpson whose effort was blocked at close quarters. As most Aylesbury men appealed for hands, the ball dropped nicely for Mulholland who hooked into the net his 7th goal of the season. 1-0 Aylesbury

Physio Vicky Baker is certainly being kept busy at the moment and she was called into action again when Simpson and his opposite number Richardson clashed heads in the Aylesbury box. He was forced off and later went to A&E where he received stitches to an eye wound.

As the half entered the considerable allocation of stoppage time a mad moment followed where Reading launched a cascade of dissent, albeit very petty, for which two players were booked in quick succession – Spence and what appeared to have been Phil John, although it later transpired this wasn’t the case.

This may have fired up the home side as within 30 seconds they were level. Richardson flicked on a throw into the box, where Spence was on-hand to rifle home a clinical half volley which found the bottom corner. 1-1

Half-time: Reading Town 1-1 Aylesbury

The majority of second half chances went the way of the home side, John getting things underway in the opening seconds when he drifted inside and tried his luck with a long ranger which Sillitoe was able to comfortably gather in.

Ben Baines was then played in for a sight at goal moments later, but his finish was weak and Aulsberry fielded it easily.

Reading hit the post in the 54th minute when a break down the left by Richardson saw him play the ball in to John, who cleverly sidestepped his marker before firing in a shot which rebounded back off the upright.

A minute later John was booked for a clumsy foul, and confusion reigned as it appeared to be his second booking based on earlier events, but no red card followed. The linesman on the near-side was none the wiser, flagging to alert the referee to his possible error, but he was reassured there was none, and it later transpired that it had been Pedro De Barros who had been cautioned in the earlier dissent debacle.

Town went close again when centre-half Lingwood met a free-kick delivery, heading the ball back across goal but just wide of the far post.

Six minutes later and Aylesbury threatened through Acheampong’s good work in what proved to be their best chance of the half. Using his turn of pace to beat his man and get a shot away, Acheampong was unlucky that his effort only found the side netting.

Reading continued to turn up the pressure, and it seemed inevitable that a winner was coming for the home side. But Witt’s hugely deflected shot dropped wide with Sillitoe stranded, Sillitoe made a great save to turn John’s effort onto the crossbar with Richardson somehow heading the rebound wide from 6-yards, Spence placed an effort wide having been presented with the ball by another weak clearance, and the home side then looked to have valid claim for a penalty when John was tripped, but nothing was given, all within three minutes. United were hanging on.

Spence went close again three minutes from the end of the 90 when he curled an effort over, whilst all Aylesbury could muster was a wayward long shot from Barnett and wide header from Mulholland at a corner kick.

End of 90 minutes: Reading Town 1-1 Aylesbury

The end of the 90 minutes strangely saw the officials and home team leave the field, which isn’t usual procedure prior to extra time. It was later reported that the referee had to phone his wife to let her know he was going to be late!

Reading took the opportunity to make a substitution, having the luxury of all three of their still remaining, Aylesbury having replaced Acheampong with Hallford late on and now having no more to make.

It was the new man, Ashley Watkins, who broke free eight minutes in as he got away from the defence, but his well struck shot went just wide.

Prior to that the Ducks had hit some hopeful efforts towards goal – Hallford and Mercer way over with their shots, although Garcia’s took a number of deflections before eventually making its way through to Aulsberry’s gloves.

The deserved winner eventually arrived after 101 minutes, and a brilliant effort it was – started and finished by Ray Spence who laid the ball off before continuing his run through the defence, taking the ball back, drawing Sillitoe and expertly lobbing him into the net. 2-1 Reading Town

Aylesbury had a chance to hit straight back when Garcia’s intelligent pass over the defence released Field, but he looks a striker short on confidence and could only muster a weak effort straight at Aulsberry.

Half time in extra time: Reading Town 2-1 Aylesbury

Sadly for the Ducks, they looked well beaten in the second period of the extra 30, and it continued to be Reading who had the better chances with John curling the ball over early on.

Spence was proving unplayable at times, and in the 110th minute the ball seemed glued to his boots as he teased the visiting defence before eventually crashing a shot against the bar.

Aylesbury’s only meaningful chance saw Mulholland meet a Jones free-kick which was well smothered on the line by Aulsberry, and, in fairness, a replay would have been harsh on Reading.

A couple of late shots from Garcia and Field were blocked, which allowed the home side to make a quick breakaway from which Spence released substitute Lewis, but he was unable to crown his side’s victory as Sillitoe saved well from the one-on-one.

That’s how it ended on a desperately disappointing afternoon for Aylesbury and an unhappy 40th birthday for manager Tony Joyce.

On the day United weren’t quite good enough, and although the problems are fixable, a midweek trip to Berkhamsted, who have started the season excellently, wouldn’t be high on the manager’s wish list after a gruelling 120 minute match.

Minute by Minute Updates


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The Ducks are boosted by the news that skipper John Mulholland is fit to play despite his hamstring injury in midweek, however, Paul Edgeworth misses out and is replaced in the team by Melford Simpson

And we're underway at Scours Lane...

7. Not a lot of action so far, both sides fairly evenly matched but Reading have had a few set pieces early on
8. Player/manager Mark Bartley momentarily broke clean through but a combination of Mercer/Mulholland eventually got the ball away
8. Simpson powerful half-volley blocked outside the box
10. It's become a bit one-way suddenly against Aylesbury
14. We need to sharpen up all over the pitch; very sloppy at the moment
18. Acheampong nearly turned Simpson's flick into the net, but the keeper got enough on it to keep it out. Nearly the old 'goal out of nothing'
21. Deflected shot by Phil John came through to Spence who tucked it away, but the goal was ruled out for offside
22. Richardson should have scored when the ball was played into him from the right, but his touch was poor and the chance was gone
25. King unlucky not to score as long, flighted free-kick somehow came all the way through to him at the back post, keeper managed to claw the ball away
He's down injured for his efforts; after 2 minues he's sitting up but it doesn't look good for King
30. King is having to come off; Aylesbury sub: Silvestri on for King
King appears to be on a different planet - must have hit his head
31. GOAL! 1-0 Aylesbury! After all that Mulholland hooked in a corner kick after Simpson's initial header had been blocked
A Reading man now down injured - Richardson. He seems ok
35. Mulholland booked
36. Big strikers Simpson and Richardson clashed heads, Vicky Baker is being kept busy today!
38. Simpson's injury forces him off, to be replaced by Field
45. Phil John booked for dissent, Spence booked for dissent
45. GOAL! 1-1. Ball flicked on by Richardson at a throw to Spence, rifled home a half-volley

HT: Reading Town 1-1 Aylesbury: We sneaked a lead but have been well below par and can have no complaints at the scoreline

The second half is underway...

1. John drifted inside and went for long ranger, successfully gathered in by Sillitoe.
1. Baines got in for a shot at goal, but it was weak and the keeper claimed
9. Break down the left from Richardson picked out John in the box. He sidestepped his man before hitting the post with a shot
10. John booked. Strangely not sent off, must've been another player booked earlier! Confusion reigns!
14. Lingwood header back across goal beat Sillitoe but went just wide
20. Quality play from Acheampong to beat his man and get a shot away, slammed into the sidenetting
23. Baines header from the penalty spot; couldn't get any power at Jones' corner
27. Poor clearance fell to Witt. His shot took a massive deflection but luckily looped wide with Sillitoe stranded
28. Shot saved by Sillitoe from John onto the crossbar. Richardson put the rebound wide somehow
31. Another ball given away to Ray Spence. Came forward and placed a shot wide across goal
34. Acheampong concedes a dangerous free-kick by the corner flag. Witt's shot blocked away, John appeared to be tripped in the follow-up but no penalty given
Aylesbury certainly living dangerously at the back!
38. Barnett slashed an effort well over after the ball dropped to him
38. Aylesbury sub: Hallford on for Acheampong
42. Richardson carried ball forward, set up Ray Spence who tried the curler but put it well over
45. Late corner headed wide by Mulholland

FT 1-1. No further goals mean we head to 30 minutes extra time. Joy!

Strangely, the officials and home team have left the field.... not usual behaviour before extra time

Referee has emerged, and extra-time is underway.

Turns out it was De Barros the first player booked, so no double-booking

Reading sub: Watkins for Richardson

1. Ambitious effort from Hallford sailed over
6. Shot from Garcia as ball dropped to him after a free-kick, took a couple of deflections before being gathered by the keeper right in the corner
7. Ridiculously ambitious attempt from Mercer, way, way over
8. Substitute Watkins got away, well struck shot but placed wide
8. Reading sub: Connor for Bartley
11. GOAL! 2-1 Reading. Brilliant goal from Spence who eventually lobbed Sillitoe
13. Good ball over the top from Garcia set Field away, but his shot lacked the power to beat the keeper

HT in ET: Reading 2-1 Aylesbury

3. John curled over after a good build up
Aylesbury looking a beaten side in all honesty
5. Spence is unplayable. The ball was stuck to his feet before eventually shooting against the bar
6. Jones free-kick met by Mulholland; keeper smothered it well on the line
10. Couple of late shots from Garcia and Field blocked. Quick breakaway saw Spence release Lewis but Sillitoe saved the one-on-one well
Into stoppage time, it's now or never....
... never then!

FT: Reading Town 2-1 Aylesbury: Probably the right result in the end, bitterly disappointing for the Ducks though