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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Aylesbury cemented their place in second place in the table, but for the second time of the week had to work hard for three points, this time against a Hatfield Town side fighting for their lives at the wrong end of the table.

Going into the game the Ducks were missing three key men in Louis Austin and John Mulholland, both injured, and top scorer Stacey Field who was away, with Joey Acheampong, Steve Hatch and Ben Baines coming into the lineup.

The rainy conditions that had seen all but four Premier Division matches postponed quickly lead to a mudbath at Bell Close and, with the going tough for both sides, what followed was a poor first half of little quality.

Both sides had corner kicks in the first minutes but it took until the twelth for the game’s first shot when Zac Reynolds – playing in a free role behind the strikers – cut in from the left and saw his shot palmed behind by Emmanuel Olajide.

From the corner kick Hatfield broke and the ball fell kindly for Dan O’Connor on the edge of the box who hammered his effort over the bar.

Some last ditch defending was keeping United at bay as a Daniel Jones shot came through for Acheampong whose attempt was blocked, whilst Ben Baines’s follow up was held by the keeper at the second attempt.

Soon afterwards a fine saving challenge from Daryl Smith denied Paul Edgeworth after he was released by a ball over the top, and two minutes later the Ducks had a good chance when a ball in from the left came all the way through to Ben Butler who sliced wide from six-yards.

Hatfield weren’t without chances and David Reade’s decent backheader dropped over the bar from a throw-in, and a cross-field pass found Chris Webb who set himself up for a half volley which was well executed but inaccurate as it went over.

Jack Sillitoe was called upon to make a save when another quick counter attack ended with a through ball to Rob Powell who poked goalwards but Sillitoe turned wide for a corner.

As the half entered its’ final five minutes Aylesbury were at last able to up their game and exert some sustained pressure on the Hatfield goal, which eventually paid dividends.

It should have been 1-0 when Baines levered a deep free-kick back across goal for Reynolds who lifted the ball over the keeper, but hit the post.

An unsighted Olajide then made a good save to get down and stop Williams’s drive through a crowded box after Acheampong and Reynolds combined to set up the chance. Acheampong then cut in from the flank and thundered in a shot which Olajide did well to turn over the bar, and from the resulting corner kick Aylesbury took the lead.

The initial delivery came to nothing but when the ball was worked back out to Jones he quickly crossed into the box where it was helped on to Acheampong who rifled home giving Olajide no chance. 1-0 Aylesbury

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 Hatfield

Aylesbury’s narrow lead was almost immediately under threat when Sam Wadhams fired in a well struck effort which Sillitoe reacted well to when he looked to be moving in the other direction, and at the other end Reynolds fired over with an acrobatic mid-air volley from Butler’s searching cross.

On 53 minutes United were caught cold as Hatfield found an equaliser courtesy of a quick counter attack. The Blueboys had men over in abundance and a low cross found Adam Sawyer who had time to pick his spot from six-yards out. 1-1

Undeterred, the Ducks drew on their new found determination and once again dug deep into their reserves, and after a couple of half chances it took just ten minutes for the lead to be re-established with the scrappiest of goals as Butler scored from close range after Reynolds had hoisted the ball into the box where Jones had a stab at it prior to Butler scoring. 2-1 Aylesbury

Aylesbury were now the dominant force and Edgeworth fired over from close range after a corner kick was met by flicks from Williams and then Hatch.

Acheampong was causing all kinds of havoc against a tiring defence with Baines and Butler both snatching at efforts after he cut the ball back from the byeline. Zac Reynolds then saw a shot blocked having cut in from the left, with Acheampong himself seeing his follow up effort also charged down. Two minutes later and he raced onto a long ball over the defence but shot straight at Olajide.

Hatfield were clearly running out of steam and United took advantage with two late goals, finally making the game comfortable with ten minutes remaining. The ball broke for substitute Liam Smyth on the edge of the area, who, out of nowhere, unleashed a quality strike into the top corner for only his third goal for the club and first since returning to the Ducks. 3-1 Aylesbury

The visitors nearly hit back straight away when a low shot from Huseyin Yildiz came through to fellow substitute Jason Kayla who could only spoon over the bar from close range.

Aylesbury continued to look the bigger threat though and some penalty area pinball resulted in Baines and Butler both being denied by Olajide. The ball was then crossed back into the box for Reynolds to head in after Olajide had ‘dropped’ it, only for the referee to decide the Hatfield keeper had been fouled.

A fourth wasn’t long in arriving, and another brilliant goal by Aylesbury. Jones’s superb, raking diagonal pass picked out Reynolds who ran on and lobbed Olajide for his 5th goal and best goal in green and white. 4-1 Aylesbury

Baines had a couple of late chances to heap further misery on Hatfield, seeing a low shot fly wide then Olajide saving another effort from him.

A more crushing defeat would have been harsh on the visitors efforts but Aylesbury will more than settle for another big three points and an improvement to their goal difference.

Minute by Minute Updates

A depleted Ducks squad today with John Mulholland out injured, Louis Austin failing a late fitness test and Stacey Field away for the weekend. In come Steve Hatch, Joey Acheampong and Ben Baines to the starting lineup.

Match has kicked off...

1. Acheampong wins a corner...
Hatch heads Jones's delivery over
Rain falling again, this is turning into a mudbath already!
7. Hatfield corner...
Eventually cleared
9. Aylesbury corner, won by Acheampong...
Redelivered after keeper punches the original, skimming header from Williams cleared
12. Ball over the top raced onto by Reynolds, his cross shot palmed out for a corner...
13. Jones's inswinger causes problems, nobody can turn it in
13. Ball breaks for O'Connor who hammers shot over the bar
15. Aylesbury corner...
Headed clear to Edgeworth who lifts shot over
17. Jones shot comes through to Acheampong whose effort is blocked, Baines shot held by keeper at second attempt
18. Good backwards header from Reade goes over the bar from a throw in
22. Ball over the top released Edgeworth, Smith with a great recovery challenge to concede a corner...
Easily caught by the keeper
24. Closest yet. Ball in from left comes through to Butler who slices wide from six yards
Acheampong down receiving treatment
28. Crossfield ball to Webb who tees himself up for a half volley, always going over
32. Quick counter attack ends with ball threaded through to Powell whose poked effort was turned wide by Sillitoe.
Corner kick was headed out to McClelland whose shot was blocked
34. Hatfield free-kick 40-yards from goal...
Low skimmer sticks in the mud before hacked away
39. Should be 1-0. Baines levers long free-kick across goal for Reynolds who lifts it over the keeper but hits the post
40. Good save by the keeper to stop Williams's drive through the crowd after good linkup between Acheampong and Reynolds
42. Williams wins ball in midfield before lifting it over to Baines whose shot was blocked
44. Aylesbury corner...
45. Acheampong cuts in from the left, fierce effort turned over by the keeper. Corner...
45. GOAL! 1-0 Aylesbury. Acheampong rifles home after Jones ball into the box helped across the box to him

HT: Aylesbury 1-0 Hatfield - Largely uninspiring first half but Aylesbury improved in the last five minutes and the goal had been coming

Second half has kicked off...

4. Aylesbury corner...
Smuggled away after handball appeals come to nothing
7. Well caught effort from Wadhams matched by Sillitoe who was moving the other direction
8. Ball in from Ben Butler met by an acrobatic effort over the bar from Reynolds
8. GOAL! 1-1. Quick break sees Hatfield having lots of men over, Sawyer with time to steady and shoot home from close range
16. Great tackle from Smith denies Edgeworth as Acheampong plays ball over defence
17. Butler searching cross inches away from Edgeworth's outstretched boot
18. GOAL! 2-1. Butler scrambles home from close range. Reynolds helped into the box where Jones had stab before Butler scored
21. Hatfield sub: Jason Kayla on for Sawyer
23. Acheampong drives to the byeline and wins a corner...
24. Williams then Hatch meet the corner but can't score, then Edgeworth is teed up who fires over
25. Butler and then Baines snatch at shots after Acheampong cuts it back
29. Reynolds comes inside, shot blocked. Acheampong shot blocked
30. Aylesbury sub: Smyth on for Edgeworth
Hatfield sub: Kaphouris on for Powell
33. Acheampong on to long ball, shot straight at keeper
33. Hatfield sub: Yildiz for Reade
35. GOAL! 3-1 Aylesbury. Goal out of nothing - superb goal from Liam Smyth!
36. Yildiz shot came through to Kayla who could only spoon it over
38. Siggins with a long shot well wide
38. Penalty area pinball as Baines and Butler combination denied by the keeper
Ball is then crossed in and headed in by Reynolds but adjudged to have fouled the keeper
41. GOAL! 4-1 Aylesbury. Fabulous goal! Jones raking crossfield pass finds Reynolds who lobs the keeper
42. Ball falls to Baines whose low shot flies wide
48. Baines shot saved by the keeper, rebound helped over the bar. Corner...

FT: Aylesbury 4-1 Hatfield - Comfortable in the end but something of a flattering scoreline for the Ducks