Bell Close, Leighton Buzzard Attendance: 102
Aylesbury and Hadley, no strangers to high-scoring encounters, served up another thriller which saw the Ducks take the points with victory by the odd goal in seven.
When the teams had last met, Aylesbury produced a stunning comeback from 4-1 down to win 6-4, and this match was just as action packed, taking the goals tally to 32 in 6 games between the sides.
With just a minute played Paul Edgeworth, making his 200th club appearance, was clipped running into the area for an early penalty, only for Russell Garland to guess right and turn Stacey Field’s penalty behind for a corner.
Undeterred, Edgeworth’s wicked inswinging corner kick was met by skipper Jack Wood at the far post who headed home. 1-0 Aylesbury
Having lost their previous four matches, Hadley appeared lacking in confidence for much of the first half, as the Ducks made the better progress. Greg Williams lofted a long shot over the backpeddling Garland, whilst Austin, Acheampong and Field combined well in attack with the latter seeing an effort blocked from five-yards on 18 minutes.
More decent openings came and went as United were unable to extend their lead. Jack Wood was on the end of Edgeworth deliveries again twice in three minutes without success, the first hitting him and flying over the bar, the second guided straight at Garland.
Midway through the half Louis Austin beat Garland to a long clearance before cutting inside and firing over the bar, and Edgeworth really should have crowned his landmark game with a goal after being set up by Austin’s low ball across the box giving him time to control and shoot, but he placed the ball over the bar.
Aylesbury had further openings right up until the interval, but as the minutes ticked by Hadley began to grow in stature and were unlucky not to score when Dom Petrucci turned smartly and struck the crossbar with a close range shot. Ben Luck following up should have scored but there was nothing unlucky about his high and not very handsome blazed effort.
Some of Hadley’s customary passing football then ended with Alan Murray firing wide, but it was a warning of things to come from the visitors.
Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 Hadley
The visitors came out reorganised for the second half with the introduction of Dan Bishop, and for a good twenty minutes the match was one-way traffic as Aylesbury found themselves under the cosh.
It didn’t take long for the equaliser to arrive; the ball spread from left across the edge of the penalty area to full back Selmet Karagozlu who had burst into the area and thumped home an unstoppable high shot. 1-1
Hadley continued to press, and Luck was inches away from turning a low cross into the net, another flowing move ended with Petrucci slotting just wide across goal, whilst Luck flashed another cross shot just over after a through ball dissected the beleaguered United defence.
Football is a funny game though and, completely against the run of play and with their first meaningful effort of the half, the Ducks reinstated their lead. Austin released Field who had no hesitation in hitting a stunning curling effort that beat Garland at his near post where there looked no room to do so. 2-1 Aylesbury
The lead last just six minutes this time though, with Hadley quickly level when a fine flowing move ended with Ivan Machado tucking the ball away to level the match once more. 2-2
This time though, the balance of play had started to even out, and the introduction of Zac Reynolds on the right had given Aylesbury a new outlet which was a regular threat to their opponents.
Reynolds cut the ball back from the byeline looking for Field, who was only denied by a superb last-ditch intervention and from the subsequent corner Jack Wood headed wide. Field the produced an audacious lob that dropped just wide as United probed.
Their renewed impetus was rewarded with two goals in two minutes to finally give some breathing space, somewhat harshly on Hadley.
Two minutes later and Hadley pressed self destruct as a weak backpass was returned to the defender who then lost the ball under pressure from Reynolds, and this time his square pass found the target of Field who tapped it home. 4-2 Aylesbury
Still there was time for further drama when Ben Luck ran through to net a stoppage time goal and leave Aylesbury facing a nervy end. 3-4
With only seconds to play, Hadley forced a late corner which keeper Garland went up to attack, but United defended the set piece well and the final whistle eventually sounded, to the relief of most inside Bell Close.
|Minute by Minute Updates|
Two changes for the Ducks as strikers Louis Austin and Stacey Field replace Ben Butler and Zac Reynolds