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Match Report

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Aylesbury’s first ever visit to North Greenford United resulted in a hard-earned win for the Ducks, with Joey Acheampong, scoring two and setting up another, the star of the show.

After their promising performance in the goalless draw with Northwood at the weekend, the greens were unchanged going into a match with the attractive proposition of facing a lowly team who had conceded 97 league goals.

Yet the hosts had their own reasons for belief having gained their first win since December five-days earlier, and having only lost to Potters Bar Town by virtue of a last minute goal the previous Saturday.

The opening stages of the game saw Aylesbury pressuring the hosts with Jack Wood unable to get over Paul Edgeworth’s first minute corner to keep it down, and a long throw from Shane Wood was flicked wide by Bill Morgan.

Greenford’s own set pieces, expertly delivered all night by Louis Stead, were always a threat and it was they who came closest to an early lead when Keith Williams hacked a header off the line from a corner kick.

It was then Aylesbury’s turn to go close, as Greg Williams stole in at the near post to guide Edgeworth’s corner over the bar, finding his run rather impeded by Acheampong, but all was forgiven two minutes later as the latter gave the Ducks a 14th minute lead.

As came as no surprise, the goal arose from a set piece, this time a long throw which Shane Wood hurled into the box where Morgan flicked on, and Acheampong beat goalkeeper Simeon Charles with a well placed header. 1-0 Aylesbury

Acheampong twice went close to doubling his side’s lead, but twice saw shots deflected behind for corner kicks which amounted to nothing, whilst in between Anthony O’Connor, North Greenford’s leading scorer, met a corner kick with a towering header that cleared the crossbar.

The half hour mark saw the hosts step up a gear and Aylesbury suddenly found themselves under sustained pressure. The experienced Gary Senior should have done better when he beat the offside trap to take a flick on, but he fired wide with only Sillitoe to beat.

Marauding full back Marvel Ekpiteta then had two shots blocked by Keith Williams, and it was a deserved equaliser which arrived seconds later as United had failed to fully clear their lines. Chace O’Neill squared the ball for Stead who produced a good finish that arrowed away from Sillitoe into the bottom corner. 1-1

Stacey Field had a great chance to immediately reinstate Aylesbury’s lead when he found himself clean through, but was unable to end his goal drought as he shot badly wide.

Some good football provided another opening as Edgeworth found Field who in turn squared for Smyth who drove the ball wide.

This time, it looked it was an Aylesbury goal which looked ominous and the Ducks didn’t disappoint. Another well worked move ended with Field feeding Keith Williams whose pinpoint cross found Hatch who scored with a similar header to Acheampong’s earlier effort. 2-1 Aylesbury

Only five minutes remained before the break, but unfortunately the lead lasted only two of those. The Ducks were caught short at the back and when Ekipiteta’s low ball came across three players were unmarked, and Senior had the easiest of finishes for his first goal since returning to North Greenford. 2-2

Half-time: North Greenford United 2-2 Aylesbury

An already entertaining match showed no let up in the second half, with plenty of action eventually yielding a further three goals.

Hatch had a half chance when hooking wide after Greg Williams redelivered a half cleared Liam Smyth free kick, whilst Edgeworth struck a volleyed shot which was easily caught by Charles soon afterwards.

In the 51st minute Stead called Sillitoe into action, making an impressive full length save to tip over his free kick having taken a pot shot when most were expecting a cross. The resulting corner saw shots twice blocked as Aylesbury three bodies on the line, Jack Wood injuring himself in a coming together with David Llobet-Torrente that saw him off the field for five minutes receiving treatment.

Aylesbury edged in front again just before the hour mark, courtesy of some great wing play by Acheampong and a smart finish by half time substitute Ben Baines. The Ghanaian did superbly to beat Daryl Brown before crossing low and hard to Baines who managed to quickly control and smash home from close range. 3-2 Aylesbury

Acheampong’s inspired display continued as he then crossed for a Jack Wood bullet header to fly over the bar, whilst at the other end Chace O’Neill crashed a long shot over in his last action of the game before he was replaced by Daniel Bennell.

An unbelievable miss by Bradley Morris kept Aylesbury’s noses in front midway through the half when Sillitoe was beaten to the ball on the left of his six-yard area, where it was squared to Morris who somehow slotted wide of the open goal.

A goalmouth scramble after another Stead free kick, and a low ricocheting shot from Senior which didn’t fall kindly for a home player were further moments of relief, and the Ducks continued to live dangerously as a searching cross from the right found the smallest man on the pitch, Llobet-Torrente, stealing in between defenders but he could only head wide.

Brown’s header from Stead’s corner was scraped off the line by Smyth as the relegation-threatened hosts continued to fight, and Senior was next to be denied when he ran through the defence but couldn’t beat Sillitoe, who got down low to turn away his effort, again the ball falling kindly for Aylesbury to clear.

A breakaway goal, quite against the run of play, saw the visiting Ducks finally establish a two-goal cushion, two minutes from time. As the ball was swept out from defence, Acheampong sprung the defence and Charles made a hash of his attempted clearance on the edge of the box, leaving the number nine the simple task of rolling it into the empty net. 4-2 Aylesbury

Two goals to the good, and with only seconds remaining, the game now at last looked safe for Aylesbury, but Greenford simply wouldn’t lie down, to their great credit.

A 91st minute corner was taken low to O’Connor who could only blaze over, but three minutes into stoppages and a stunning solo effort reduced the arrears once again. Substitute David Manu, who had scored twice in the victory over Marlow, sped away down the left with lightning pace before cutting inside and curling a precise effort past Sillitoe. 3-4

It had little bearing on the overall result with the final whistle blown almost immediately, but it was a goal which lit up an already action-packed match yet further.

With fellow strugglers Chertsey Town and Ashford Town (Mx) both victorious, it was a disappointing night all round for North Greenford who remain firmly embroiled in the relegation scrap, with only superior goal difference keeping them off the bottom.

For Aylesbury meanwhile, a much needed win with further tough looking fixtures on the horizon. The greens were made to work hard right up until the end for their points, but can now take some confidence into Saturday’s trip to Royston Town.