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Match Report


Aylesbury crowned a superb season by lifting the Premier Division Cup in dramatic style – as game’s against Hadley always seem to be – with a 3-2 extra time win.

The Ducks were trailing 2-1 at the very end of the first period of extra time, only for two goals in a minute – including a wonder strike from Ben Baines - to turn the match back in their favour.

Zac Reynolds was brought back into full back in place of Daniel Jones in United’s only change from the team which had disappointingly lost their final league game of the season at Hertford Town the previous Saturday.

It was the greens, attacking the ‘railway end’ in the first half who had the game’s opening chance when skipper Jack Wood headed over at a corner kick.

Hadley settled better though and were quickly displaying their much renowned passing football, and a sixth minute goalbound-looking header was only deflected away by the busy Jack Wood.

Ironically, it was the Hertfordshire outfit whose Saturday 1-0 win over Oxhey Jets had secured Aylesbury’s runners up spot in the league. Goalscorer that day was Dom Petrucci, and he went close as a spell of passing ended with a curling effort wide of the target.

Stacey Field, looking for his 45th goal of the season, went close with a snapshot after great battling by team mate Louis Austin as Aylesbury then began to come back into the game a bit more after Hadley’s spell of dominance.

It was experienced head Greg Williams who then went closer still with a half volley that flew just past Garland’s upright, whilst his fellow veteran Paul Edgeworth’s swivel and shot from the edge of the area was easily held five minutes later.

Just past the half hour mark and Edgeworth went close again when, with his back to goal, he flicked the ball over his head and just past the far post.

Hadley continued to be the most cohesive attacking force, and deservedly edged in front two minutes from the interval. Too easily they were able to pick the Ducks apart, and when the cross came in from the left there was nobody within five yards of Ben Luck who easily nodded home. 1-0 Hadley

The perfect response was called for, and Paul Edgeworth popped up to provide it and ensure parity was going into half time. Louis Austin – who set up all three goals – helped the ball on to Edgeworth who hooked it goalwards where, after an agonising wait, it finally crossed the line. 1-1

Half-time: Hadley 1-1 Aylesbury

The score was a fair reflection of a first half which had seen Hadley see far more of the ball, yet Aylesbury having more of the chances.

Five minutes after the restart and Austin might have done better when a free-kick fell invitingly for him but he skewed his shot tamely goalwards.

Aylesbury were generally improved in the second period as Hadley were unable to enjoy the same control of possession that they did before the interval.

Williams tried his luck again with a first time effort that Garland was able to dive on, and Jack Wood went close when he flicked a throw in wide with Steve Hatch closing in but just unable to reach the ball.

Field wasn’t quite able to find his range with two efforts in quick succession – volleying over the bar and then seeing a header plucked out of the air after the keeper had punched the ball clear.

The influential Williams won Aylesbury a free-kick five yards outside the box that was curled narrowly over by Reynolds, before the left-back – showing all his boundless energy – burst onto a perfect through ball but couldn’t find the finish to match as he slotted wide with only Garland to beat.

As the match entered its final ten minutes, Austin turned and fizzed a shot wide across goal and as Aylesbury continued to press, substitute Jones tried to force his way into the box only to be stopped by an apparent handball, with United’s appeals waved away.

It was the red and black of Hadley who nearly had final say in normal time though when Luck spurned a glorious opportunity with a daisy cutter of a shot which was easily fielded by Sillitoe and then, even later in stoppage time, only a saving challenge from Shane Wood averted danger by turning the ball over the bar.

End of normal time: Hadley 1-1 Aylesbury

The first period of extra time offered little in the way of action, as Liam Smyth entered the fray for Williams early on, although Field had momentarily taken the ball beyond Garland only to see his control let him down and it, and the chance, run away.

Disaster then struck just as the Ducks seemed to have safely negotiated to the next stage.

With a minute remaining before the referee was due to blow again, the otherwise impeccable Reynolds miscued his clearance, and Medfai was onto the ball and finished from an outrageously improbable looking angle. 2-1 Hadley

Half-time in extra time: Hadley 2-1 Aylesbury

With their record against Hadley as it is, Aylesbury still had no reason to be despondent, despite the scoreline and time well against them.

Joe Acheampong was thrown into the action and his battering ram like attacking presence certainly helped United in the very closing stages.

After 113 minutes came the moment Aylesbury’s faithful craved. Hadley’s shout for a penalty were turned down at one end, before the Ducks were quickly down at the other. Austin touched the ball sideways to Baines who unleashed an absolute screamer which curled away from the keeper and into the top corner. 2-2

Suddenly, the game was very much back on. And, in a flash so typical of Aylesbury this season, the score was turned on its head.

Austin again the creator as he weaved his way to the byeline from the left before laying on the perfect square ball that Field simply wasn’t going to miss. 3-2 Aylesbury

Aylesbury had the lead for the first time and bedlam ensued; the already suspect looking barrier behind the goal collapsed; some United fans were on the pitch; nearly all were in dreamland at the transformation!

Six minutes were all that remained between the Ducks and cup glory, and whilst Hadley tried to throw everything forward, their best effort was a free-kick which was hammered into the solid defensive wall.

It proved to be a long six minutes, but, finally, the full time whistle sounded. Aylesbury’s 13-year wait for silverware was over as Jack Wood proudly lifted the trophy to the raucous sounds of the United faithful – most of whom had joyously invaded the pitch at the end.

A sensational night!