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Match Report

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A stunning, last gasp goal from Joey Acheampong – his third of the week – gained hard working Aylesbury all three points and a 2-1 win at Royston Town. It was all a far cry from the miserable evening two months earlier that had seen United thrashed 6-0 in the Red Insure Cup on their last visit to Garden Walk.

With Steve Hatch unavailable and Stacey Field nursing an ankle injury, the Ducks lined up with two changes as Ben Baines came in to start up front and Lee Grace in midfield, whilst the home side gave a debut to veteran former Brighton & Hove Albion star Gary Hart.

The opening stages saw Luke Robins’s long shot easily held by Jack Sillitoe, but it was Aylesbury who made a flying start with an early goal. Poor defending saw Keith Williams’s corner kick allowed to bounce in the box, and Jack Wood rose to head into the net. 1-0 Aylesbury

From that point on it was often ‘attack vs defence’ as the Crows looked to force their way back into proceedings, but United performed their role stoically, and despite all their play Sillitoe was rarely tested.

After the tricky Reece Dobson fired a shot over after the ball was laid back to him, Robins should have equalised when Kaan Fehmi crossed to his teammate who was unmarked with time to pick his spot, but fired wide.

A minute later and Robins was in the thick of the action once more as his free kick came back to him, again missing the target by dragging an effort well wide.

Earlier, a Keith Williams free kick had been plucked out of the air, and Aylesbury went close on the half hour mark when Grace cut inside and delivered the ball to Paul Edgeworth who flicked it narrowly over the bar.

Royston still couldn’t hit the target when Stuart Bridges crashed a long shot over as the ball ran loose, but they did soon afterwards through Dobson’s header from a whipped cross that was dived on by Sillitoe.

Hart was using all his football league knowhow to be one of the home side’s most influential figures, and he got the better of Keith Williams and lashed a shot into the side netting before meeting a deep cross two minutes from the interval, but his looping shot was comfortably held by Sillitoe.

United had a golden chance to double their lead in between Hart’s efforts when another superb Keith Williams corner was met powerfully by the unmarked Jack Wood, but he could only clear the crossbar.

Half-time: Royston 0-1 Aylesbury

The second period started with a blow for the Ducks as influential defender Shane Wood had to leave the game with a thigh injury, and within seven minutes the reshuffled Aylesbury had conceded an equaliser.

Prior to that though Edgeworth had fired over from a diagonal ball from Lee Grace – now playing at right back, whilst Fehmi’s curler from the edge of the box was held by Sillitoe.

The equaliser arrived on 52 minutes, Fehmi attacking the position vacated by Shane Wood to get to the byeline and drive the ball across goal, where Jack Bradshaw tapped home from two-yards out. 1-1

Whilst most would have expected Royston to use their momentum to push on and find a winner, Aylesbury dug in and were soon creating second half chances of their own. A Baines shot on the stretch flew wide, as did a Liam Smyth potshot seconds later.

Baines was then desperately unlucky not to score when Edgeworth’s corner kick was met by his towering header which hit two covering Royston players on the line before being hacked away.

At the other end two shots blocked in the box were followed with a Fehmi curler that went wide, but once again it was the Ducks who went closer still when Daniel Jones’s went for goal with a 35-yard free kick, with keeper George Lawton clearly expecting a cross and caught out, and the ball crashing back off the bar.

Another telling corner kick delivery three minutes later found Baines at the near post who turned the ball wide, before Royston were back in the Aylesbury box as Hart fed substitute Robbie Mason who could only produce a weak shot.

After the midpoint of the second half passed, Acheampong tried a long range half volley which was the prototype of the eventual winner, though on this occasion the ball flew well over the bar.

The last twenty minutes were eventful with both sides chasing a winner. Mason played in Hart who fired his effort over the bar, before the latter won a free kick, swung in by Robins but headed straight at Sillitoe by Hart from six-yards.

Another Aylesbury corner then saw Edgeworth’s goalbound inswinger scraped off the line at the last moment, following which the Crows quickly countered and a cross was well caught by the alert Sillitoe with Hart closing in.

The winning moment of brilliance arrived with five minutes remaining. Edgeworth flicked the ball on for Acheampong, who took the ball on his chest before unleashing a dipping half volley that beat Lawton all ends up and bounced in off the inside of the far post. 2-1 Aylesbury

It was a goal worthy of winning any game and drew applause from all corners of the ground, further repeated when Acheampong was later replaced by Liam Murphy.

Royston weren’t a spent force yet though, and Sillitoe made a brilliant, awkward save to claw away a cross shot when his momentum was carrying him the other direction, though Aylesbury were relieved to see Hart blaze over the rebound.

Murphy’s arrival excluded, that was to be the final action of an entertaining game, and United were deservedly able to celebrate their first back-to-back wins of 2014.