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3rd placed Aylesbury United made the short trip to 2nd placed Leverstock Green where a much improved performance – particularly in the first half – went unrewarded as they were edged out in a 3-2 defeat.

Ben Baines got the Ducks off to a flying start when he converted from 6-yards with just four minutes on the clock. Warren Garcia’s clever flick set Stacey Field away down the left, and his low cross picked out the unmarked Baines who had all the time in the world to convert. 1-0 Aylesbury

Aylesbury’s team showed three changes to that which had so disappointingly lost to St. Margaretsbury in midweek, with Daniel Jones one of those returning. His set piece deliveries were a regular threat, and he came close to scoring after eight minutes, his top-corner bound free-kick well saved by Tinsley who managed to tip the ball onto the bar.

The early pressure on the home side continued as they forced a sequence of corner kicks, from the fourth of which Luke Flood powered a bullet header just past the post with Tinsley flailing.

Against the run of play, Leverstock managed to grab an equaliser. Mark Shadbolt won a challenge with Lewis Hallford, before chipping the ball forward to Louis West who produced an exquisite lobbed finish to beat Sillitoe. 1-1

The Ducks still had chances to score, Edgeworth placing a couple of headers wide from two more Jones crosses, whilst at the other end a well delivered corner from Lee Bircham was headed wide by Steve Hatch.

On the half hour mark West wasted a glorious opportunity for his side’s second when he was set away by a ball over the top, leaving Aylesbury’s defence floundering, but managed to place his shot wide past the far post with only Sillitoe to beat.

Stacey Field went one better in terms of bad misses three minutes later when he blazed over from 2-yards out after the home defence failed to cut out Hallford’s low cross.

Baines then went close when he nicked the ball back from Hatch before running on and firing an effort just wide, before Garcia curled an effort just over from the edge of the box.

The equaliser had been tough to take, so a second Leverstock Green goal, just before the break, was galling for United. West got the better of Gordon on the right before squaring the ball for the old pro Gallen who beat Sillitoe. 2-1 Leverstock Green

Half-time: Leverstock Green 2-1 Aylesbury

The Ducks found themselves trailing at the break, which was no reflection of the opening half, and it nearly got even worse in the opening seconds of the second period when Gallen chipped a fine pass over the defence for Hatch who had ghosted in, but he volleyed well over.

Instead, Aylesbury found an equaliser to bring some semblance of justice to the scoreline. Hallford’s inswingining corner was poorly defended, the ball coming all the way across to Garcia at the far post who couldn’t miss. 2-2

Leverstock stepped up their game again, and parity lasted just five minutes. Mark Shadbolt had a wind-assisted cross tipped over by the alert Sillitoe, before a mad scramble from the resulting corner ended with Gordon deflecting the ball behind.

From this corner the ball was worked back to original taker Bircham who played in an accurate cross which was headed into the net by Ben Butler. 3-2 Leverstock Green

Aylesbury suffered yet another injury when Garcia withdrew from the match, being replaced by debutant Kyle McNulty who had been drafted in from Leighton Town during the week.

In general, the second half hadn’t lived up to the standards the Ducks had set before the break. A half-time tactical switch saw Aylesbury change to a 3-5-2 system, which may have played some part as they struggled to create chances.

The match somewhat petered out, with Leverstock having a rare shot at goal when West levered the ball down for Bekim Culaj, whose shot was straight at Sillitoe.

Substitute Joey Acheampong made a number of useful raids down the right in the latter stages, and it was he who finally had an Aylesbury attempt when he came inside and fired a cross-shot which was never troubling Tinsley.

It was a disappointingly uneventful end to what had been an excellent game for the neutral, and a disappointing end from United’s point of view as they failed to test their opponents again.

Aylesbury now have a week to regroup before facing another tough test as high flying Hillingdon Borough visit Bell Close.

Minute by Minute Updates


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2nd vs 3rd here at Pancake Lane then

United's team sees Daniel Jones come in at left-back, Justin Gordon moving inside in place of the holidaying John Mulholland, whilst Paul Edgeworth replaces Joey Acheampong in midfield. New signing Kyle McNulty has been drafted in from Leighton Town as cover.

Former Premiership star Kevin Gallen starts for Leverstock Green

The match is underway at Pancake Lane...

3. GOAL! 1-0 Aylesbury. Ben Baines fired in from 5-yards after Field crossed on the break
Flick from Garcia set Field free down the left, outpaced Boyle and crossed for Baines. Great start!
Free kick then a corner both dealt with by the Ducks
8. Free-kick won by Garcia 35-yards out. Keeper got a hand on Jones' excellent effort to tip it onto the bar
Flood header wide at the corner
12. West warned for a late challenge on Jones
13. A third cracking delivery from Jones headed behind by a defender
Hallford's corner not properly cleared, crossed back in by Field, deflected out for another corner
14. Hallford's corner met by a header, deflected behind for yet another corner
14. Hallford's delivery met with bullet header by Flood, just wide of the upright. Keeper flailing
18. Barnett shot outside the area as ball dropped to him, well wide
19. GOAL! 1-1. West scores with a superb lob from Levy's first attack of the game. Hallford not strong enough to win possession allowing them to attack
24. Deep ball in from Jones, Edgeworth headed wide at the far post despite appearing to be man handled
25. Good corner kick delivery from Bircham headed wide by Hatch
27. Heath warned for persistent fouling
28. Jones whipped in free-kick, headed wide by Edgeworth
29. One ball over the top set West away. Somehow scuffed shot wide when one-on-one
31. Hallford dribble down the right. Drifted inside shot caught by keeper
32. Another comical miss. Field blazes over from 2-yards after Levy fail to cut out Hallford's low cross
34. Baines nicked ball back from Hatch. Ran on and went for goal, just wide
38. Preston came through the back of Baines. Yellow card
40. Quick feet and shot from Garcia after ball worked back to him at a throw. Curled just over
45. GOAL! 2-1 Leverstock Green. Ball played out down right, West beat Gordon, played low ball in for Gallen to turn home

HT: Leverstock Green 2-1 Aylesbury: We should have been 2 or 3 ahead, but instead find ourselves 2-1 down

Second half is off and running...

1. Hatch ghosted in on the end of a ball over the defence, volleyed well over
Ducks have gone to 3 at the back at half-time
5. Corner for Aylesbury won by Edgeworth.
5. GOAL! 2-2. Hallford's corner fell to Garcia in the box, and he really couldn't miss!
9. Shadbolt wind-assisted cross had to be tipped over by Sillitoe
9. Mad scramble at a corner, Gordon made a good block in there, ball deflected out for another Levy corner
10. GOAL! 3-2 Leverstock Green. Butler headed in after Bircham re-delivered the corner kick
13. Aylesbury sub: McNulty on for the injured Garcia
20. McNulty in the book for late challenge
We haven't created much so far this half
21. Aylesbury sub: Acheampong on for Hallford
24. Leverstock sub: Stobbs on for Boyle
26. Ball levered down by West to Culaj, right-footed volley straight at Sillitoe
28. Biggi booked for Leverstock
28. Aylesbury sub: Simpson on for Field
29. Leverstock sub: ex-Duck Pritchard on for West
39. Acheampong played in down right, came inside and fired cross-shot over

FT: Leverstock 2-3 Aylesbury: Levy looked there for the taking, but we didn't do enough second half to take anything from the game