The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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Having celebrated a late winner at Royston Town three days earlier, Aylesbury United suffered the reverse fate in their local derby with Leighton Town, the Reds scoring three minutes from time to claim a well-deserved point against the Ducks.

In the only team chane, Steve Hatch returned to the starting lineup and he opened the scoring early on with a wonder strike, but it was the proverbial ‘game of two halves’ as United, having controlled most of the first half, were second best for most of the second.

Leighton had the game’s first effort – ultimately their only shot of the first half – when a throw in came all the way cross to Kieran Doughty who slammed his attempt over the crossbar.

United then should have gone ahead when Joey Acheampong and then Ben Baines flicked the ball on to release Paul Edgeworth who slotted wide when clean through with only Kevin Marsh in goal to beat.

The spectacular first goal came with nine minutes played. Lee Grace’s cross from the left was only headed out as far as Hatch, lurking on the edge of the box, and he belted a stunning volley with his weaker left foot that found the bottom left corner. 1-0 Aylesbury

When the sides last met, a solitary Jason Blackett goal was enough for the Ducks to take all three points, but against a poor looking Leighton team it looked only a matter of time before their rearguard was breached again.

Some good football on twenty minutes ended with Edgeworth chesting the ball down to Greg Williams but his shot was straight at Marsh.

However, despite their first half dominance, clear cut Aylesbury chances were in short supply and a Grace long shot six minutes later was always going over.

Ben Baines slashed an effort wide from Edgeworth’s knock down and a fine ball in from the left found Greg Williams ghosting into the box but he lifted the ball over the bar, as Aylesbury left the pitch frustrated by their inability to increase their lead.

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-0 Leighton

With Craig Wells’s half time teamtalk still ringing in their ears, Leighton were quickly up and running for the second half, and, looking a different team, it was them vs Jack Sillitoe for a period as the Ducks keeper performed heroics to preserve Aylesbury’s lead.

After a Dom Marsala shot was blocked behind for a corner, Shane Bush met the ball cleanly only for a superb save by Sillitoe to deny him.

90 seconds later and a Marsala shot was next to be brilliantly stopped, the rebound falling to a Leighton man who could only scoop it over the bar in the scramble of bodies.

The flurry of chances continued with Gareth Chendlik found by a raking pass, again Sillitoe keeping the ball out, before the same player met a low Bilal Hassan cross but saw his effort blocked by the legs of a defender.

Aylesbury appeared to have weathered the storm, and after a double substitution saw Daniel Jones and Stacey Field enter the fray, there was an attacking interlude at the other end of the pitch as Joey Acheampong pinched the ball from a dozing Grant Fryer but poked it wide of Marsh’s goal.

It marked the start of a better spell for the Ducks and Keith Williams’s cross from the left found Grace arriving at the back post who headed wide.

Acheampong headed wide a corner won by himself, whilst, back at the other end, Hatch blocked a Doughty volley before trying for his second goal of the evening when striding forward but powering a drive over the target.

Stacey Field might have done better in the 70th minute when he was first to a Daniel Jones near post free kick, but crashed the ball wide, whilst opposite number Chendlik also wasted a good chance when he towered high but headed over another great ball into the box.

Zack Reynolds, back in the squad after a long spell out injured, came on for injured substitute Jones and wasted no time showing Aylesbury fans what they’d been missing. Intercepting the ball he quickly set off on a high-paced 60-yard run down field before finding Acheampong whose shot was held.

With the dust having barely settled on that excitement, Leighton drew level. Substitute Dennis Fenemore found Gareth Chendlik in the box, and this time he made no mistake by hooking the ball past Sillitoe. 1-1

The equaliser was richly deserved on balance of play, and with the Reds ending a five-match losing streak the full time whistle was celebrated wildly as Aylesbury’s landlords secured an important point.

Not the best result from the Ducks point of view, but a fourth match unbeaten nonetheless and positives to take including the return of Reynolds, and also Lee Bircham to the squad after a gruelling 16-month rehabilitation from the horrendous broken leg sustained in November 2013.