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Match Report

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Aylesbury got up and running in the Challenge Trophy as a hard-fought 3-2 win at Berkhamsted took them into the second round.

In form Stacey Field scored his second hattrick in three days, but the Ducks made hard work of their win by twice letting the Comrades quickly equalise having engineered a lead.

United went with the bold 4-3-3 system which had served them so well in the second half at Hadley, so Joey Acheampong started in place of Paul Edgeworth. Zac Reynolds was unavailable due to work, so Lee Bircham switched to left back with Jack Wood returning after his holiday to take the right full back birth.

It took less than three minutes for the deadlock to be broken. Goalkeeper Carl Tasker – one of seven players involved who had played at Leverstock Green the previous season – spilt a routine looking left sided cross, and Field was in the right place to fire home from just inside the box. 1-0 Aylesbury

United looked strong for the first few minutes as a drilled effort by Field caused Tasker more problems – the ball awkwardly rebounding off him out for a corner, which was taken short and eventually crossed for John Mulholland to head straight at Tasker.

Berkhamsted refused to be downhearted and they re-established themselves in the game with practically their first decent passing move. Stand out player Jordan Frederick received the ball and cut inside before delivering a beautifully crafted curling shot which beat the despairing dive of Jack Sillitoe to find the net. 1-1

The goal lead to a spell of home side dominance and after some good football a low shot flashed just wide of the target, before further good work from Connor Calcutt on the edge of the box saw him shoot narrowly over the bar and Frederick volleyed over the bar from a similar position a minute later.

Aylesbury received some respite with a foray into the home side’s half that saw Field cut inside his man and go for goal with a long ranger which was easy for Tasker in the end. Then, Acheampong broke into the box and played in Field who was ruled offside having shot across goal.

One-way traffic soon resumed as Berkhamsted finished the half well on top – as they had been for much of the game, without creating too much in the way of chances.

A corner kick on 43 minutes came all the way across goal where Steve Hatch made a great block as Dan Griggs prepared to shoot.

As the half drew to a close numerous dangerous crosses and balls came into Aylesbury’s box, but with only one striker on the pitch nobody was able to get on the end of them, and the Comrades’ spell of dominance didn’t produce another goal.

Half-time: Berkhamsted 1-1 Aylesbury

Aylesbury made their hosts pay for not making the most of that spell with a rampant start to the second half.

A quick counter lead to Field breaking before sliding in Louis Austin who could only skew wide from a tight angle, before Austin had the ball in the net 90 seconds later when he jumped higher than Tasker to head home only for the linesman to flag and disallow the goal. Presumably the ball had already gone out of play at the byeline before it was crossed.

Less than a minute later and Aylesbury were presented with a chance to re-establish their lead when the ball was chipped over the defence for Austin to run onto, where he was clearly caught from behind for a penalty kick. Field made no mistake from the spot and United were in front again. 2-1 Aylesbury

This time the lead was even more short-lived, as Berkhamsted hit back straight away by winning a corner kick. Sillitoe made a tremendous save to tip the inswinging delivery past the post, but he was left helpless from the second as a near post ball was bundled in off an Aylesbury player> 2-2

Berkhamsted nearly went on to take the lead themselves when Griggs’ shot from the edge of the box was deflected past a helpless Sillitoe, but also just past the left upright. The resulting corner was eventually worked back into the box where it was headed over from 2-yards.

United weren’t to be denied as the goal flurry went on, and just two minutes after the Comrades had equalised Field completed his hattrick. Bircham – not famed for the quality of his left foot – swung in a peach of a cross which Field stooped to head home powerfully. 3-2 Aylesbury

Field had a fourth in his mind when he tried two audacious efforts in quick succession – first taking the ball on his chest, turning and shooting from 45-yards but Tasker was able to catch the ball, before secondly firing in a shot from the touchline after the keeper had charged from his goal to put the ball out for a throw and prevent a corner – the ball dropping wide of the empty net.

The remainder of the match still wasn’t plain sailing for Aylesbury, but they always remained a threat on the break with the pace of Field and Acheampong a constant danger.

After successive Comrades corners one such move saw Field eventually cut inside and hammer a shot just over the bar.

Six minutes later and it was Ben Baines’ turn with a similar shot creeping over after Jack Wood had gone on a long dribble having broken up a home side move. Wood was fouled, as was Acheampong with the referee twice playing good advantages before the ball fell to Baines for his effort.

With the match entering the last ten minutes the home side finished strongly, and a dinked cross into the box was flicked wide at the far post by Josh Chamberlain. Then, a shot was blocked at close quarters with the loose ball popping up for Frankie Jowle whose effort was caught by Sillitoe.

The final half chance came to substitute and former Aylesbury player Lewis Pritchard when a cross was fizzed in from the right, but the ball arrived far too quickly for him to control and another dangerous moment passed.

That was that as the last five minutes ended without incident, and it was the Ducks who progressed to the last 32 where they will meet Oxhey Jets at Bell Close.

Minute by Minute Updates


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Two changes for the Ducks tonight, with Jack Wood and Joey Acheampong returning to the team in place of Zac Reynolds and Paul Edgeworth

New signing from Hillingdon Borough, Ben Hammond, is warming up with the side tonight but wasn't registered in time to play

Berko kick us off...

Lee Bircham is at left back, Jack Wood on the right

1. GOAL! 1-0 Aylesbury. Ball in from wide spilt by Tasker. Field follows up to score
8. Austin wins a free-kick 30-yards from goal...
Drilled effort from Field rebounds off Tasker awkwardly and out for a corner
9. Short corner redelivered into box met by Mulholland but straight at Tasker
15. GOAL! 1-1. Great curling effort from Frederick after Berko's first decent move
17. Jowle free-kick straight at Sillitoe
18. Bircham free-kick from the right byeline comes to nothing
25. Austin wins a corner on the right for the Ducks...
Field delivery headed wide at the far post
27. Good football from Berkhamsted, shot dragged just past the post. Very close
28. Calcutt with more good work on the edge of the box, shoots just over
29. Half clearance drops to Frederick, volley over
One-way traffic right now
Until Tasker makes a hash of a clearance and concedes a corner under no pressure...
Comes to nothing
35. Hatch's misplaced header needlessly concedes a corner...
36. Field cuts inside, can't get hold of long ranger and it's easy for Tasker
38. Better from Aylesbury as Acheampong breaks into the box and feeds Field who is just offside before shooting across goal
40. Frederick booked
41. Field lashed free-kick over the bar
43. Corner to Berko...
Comes across goal where Hatch makes a superb challenge as Griggs prepares to shoot
45. Constant pressure from Berko as various crosses come in without telling touch

HT: Berkhamsted 1-1 Aylesbury: After the early goals it's been mostly one-way traffic, slightly fortunate to be level at the break

Second half underway...

1. Quick counter from Aylesbury, Field breaks before sliding in Austin who skews wide on his wrong foot from a tight angle
2. Ball in the net as Austin jumps above Tasker to head in but ruled out. Reasons unknown - think the ball had gone out already
4. Ball played into the box where Austin gets behind the defence... brought down - PENALTY!
5. GOAL! Field makes no mistake from the spot
6. Berko hit back straight away by winning a corner...
Inswinger brilliantly tipped away by Sillitoe
7. GOAL! 2-2. Own goal as corner kick goes in at near post
9. Late and high challenge from Power on Bircham. Yellow card
13. Shot from the edge of the box from Griggs deflected wide past helpless Sillitoe
Corner cleared but ball eventually put back in where it's headed over from 2-yards
15. GOAL! 3-2 Aylesbury. Sublime left footed cross by Bircham met by Field's diving header. HATTRICK!
19. Field takes the ball on his chest, turns and tries from 40-yards but Tasker watches it all the way
20. Decent shot in from wide well watched by Sillitoe
21. Field with another audacious effort after Tasker is caught putting the ball out for a throw
23. Acheampong booked for poor challenge
23. Berko sub: ex-Duck Pritchard on for Sedgwick
27. Corner kick for Berko...
27. 2nd corner...
28. Field brings the ball away on the counter, cuts inside and shoots just over
30. Butler booked
32. Aylesbury sub: Edgeworth on for Austin
Berko sub: Thompson on for Griggs
34. Baines shoots over after 2 advantages played for fouls on Wood and Acheampong. Great dribble by Wood to start things
36. Cross dinked in from the right flicked just wide by Chamberlain
38. Shot blocked at close quarters, then ball pops out to Jowle whose dipping effort caught by Sillitoe
38. Fizzed cross in from the right by Pritchard, too fast for him to head cleanly
41. Berko sub: Toomey on for Chamberlain

FT: Berkhamsted 2-3 Aylesbury - Very hard earned win, with another hat-trick from Stacey Field!