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Match Report

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Aylesbury consolidated their top ten league position as Paul Edgeworth’s brace helped them win an entertaining encounter 4-2 at St Ives Town.

The Ducks went into the game having got 2014 off to a steady start in a 0-0 home draw with Potters Bar Town, and the team showed two changes from that game with Steve Hatch back in the side after illness, and Edgeworth starting in place of the unavailable Jason Blackett.

St Ives were confident after a strong showing, although ultimately a defeat, at league leaders Dunstable Town at the weekend, but they reportedly came into the game badly depleted. Still, it was the hosts who had the first shot of the night when Tom Meechan crashed an effort over from outside the box.

Zack Reynolds had a fine game for the Ducks on the right flank, and he showed his intent early on with the first of a number of solo runs before slipping the ball to an offside Edgeworth.

Both sides had good chances in a matter of seconds when first Edgeworth released Field with an astute pass, but he got his finish all wrong, before Avelino Vieira made progress down the left and squared for the waiting Karl Gibbs who placed his effort over the bar.

Throughout the game Vieira showed sporadic moments of brilliance, and he was involved again in the 18th minute when he shot low across goal and wide after Jon Stead spread the ball into his path.

Aylesbury soon had the first of their disallowed goals, a product of more good work by Reynolds, who dropped his shoulder to beat two men in the box and drive the ball goalwards where Field tapped in from close range only to see the flag raised.

A minute later and the former Crawley youngster won a corner which his opposite winger Daniel Jones delivered, and Bill Morgan’s near post header was cleared off the line.

United were the dominant force at this stage and another run and low ball into the box from Reynolds was missed by everybody, before disallowed goal number two came on the half hour mark when Edgeworth converted Smyth’s through pass but again was ruled offside.

Jones then volleyed over Steve Hatch’s flick on throw in, but with the growing momentum it seemed Aylesbury had to score, and just three minutes later the deadlock was broken with a well worked team goal.

Jones fed Reynolds, predictable that he should be the provider, and his defence splitting pass found Edgeworth, this time getting the better of the offside trap, who finished calmly and clinically beyond McLaughlin. 1-0 Aylesbury

The lead should have been doubled just 90 seconds afterwards when Jones and Keith Williams combined down the left, and the latter’s searching cross found Edgeworth who headed wide when unmarked six-yards out.

Unfortunately Aylesbury chose to switch off for the last five minutes of the half and they were fired a warning shot when St Ives fashioned a good chance that Stead put wide.

Not to be put off, the hosts came again and just before the interval did find an equaliser when Jack Wood’s hurried clearance fell straight to Dan Banister who fired home with the aid of a deflection. 1-1

Half-time: St Ives 1-1 Aylesbury

Aylesbury started the second half in the same manner they had played most of the first: on the front foot. Field retrieved the ball on the left flank, cut inside and fired a shot just wide and Jones played a cross which hit the post with McLaughlin a spectator.

The early pressure soon paid dividends as the Ducks regained the lead on 49 minutes. A poor defensive clearance only went up in the air, and as the ball dropped to him Reynolds produced an excellent, high shot with his left foot that gave McLaughlin no chance. 2-1 Aylesbury

Another cross nearly caught the home goalkeeper out, this time Reynolds playing it in from the right and going close, before at the other end St Ives had a rare shot at goal when Stead’s attempt at a piledriver free kick hit the one-man wall.

It was Stacey Field extended the Ducks’ lead with another good goal, linking up with Greg Williams, who had burst forward, before shooting home despite the best efforts of Stuart Cobb on the line. 3-1 Aylesbury

Once again, United had an immediate chance to extend their lead as Reynolds retrieved a deep cross with the keeper nowhere, to set up Field but his effort was blocked with the goal vacant.

Instead of having opened up a handsome advantage, the Ducks gifted St Ives a goal and the deficit was reduced. Alex Tokarczyk had been having a quiet night, but will want to forget his clearance that rebounded straight to a home player, then falling to Tom Meechan who easily lobbed into the empty net. 2-3

Despite the goal, United’s control of the game wasn’t in serious doubt and the entertainment continued with Edgeworth shooting over from Smyth’s pass, and the same two both had further shots.

The fourth goal arrived with nineteen minutes remaining to finally make the points safe for Aylesbury, Edgeworth adding his second with an effort that took a deflection to beat McLaughlin on his near post. 4-2 Aylesbury

At times, the remainder of the game was exhibition stuff from the Ducks, who went close to adding to their lead on several occasions.

Smyth crossed for substitute Ben Baines to loop a header goalwards which was well tipped over by McLaughlin, with Jack Wood heading the resulting corner kick wide.

Baines then had a great chance two minutes later but blasted over from Field’s cross, before Keith Williams hit a superb effort from distance which smacked off the crossbar and away.

St Ives were keen to show they weren’t an entirely spent force and they hit the woodwork themselves when Vieira came to life again and saw his effort ricochet back off the post to a waiting striker who got the ball stuck under his feet.

After his four-game suspension, Richard Armstrong made a welcome return to action for the closing stages, and Dom Petrucci entered the fray even later, and nearly added a fifth when he played a one-two with Field but saw his shot saved by McLaughlin.

Before that, Ives had nearly closed the gap once more when first Vieira fed Banister who shot wide when he should have at least hit the target, and then well built centre half Will Fordham tried his luck with a low free kick from 25-yards which beat Tokarczyk only for Jack Wood to scrape the ball off the line.

A thoroughly enjoyable game and a well deserved first win of 2014 for the Ducks, which will hopefully give them the necessary confidence going into a very tough fixture with Daventry Town.