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The Evo-Stik League South
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Match Report

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Aylesbury’s last away match of the season saw them unable to repeat their impressive win over Beaconsfield SYCOB of February as player unavailability and injuries took their toll, the Ducks going down to a 4-1 defeat.

With Zack Reynolds, Bill Morgan and Joey Acheampong unavailable, in came Liam Smyth, Daniel Jones and Paul Edgeworth, whilst Lee Bircham was on the bench again with injuries later necessitating his first appearance in over fifteen months following his horrific leg break.

Much of the first half was typically dull end of season fare, giving no suggestion that this was to be a game of five goals.

In the fifth minute Stacey Field – who last found the net when the side’s met previously – took Paul Edgeworth’s ball on his chest before half volleying it over the bar.

The Rams fashioned their first opening seven minutes later, James McCluskey and Zak Joseph combining from a short corner before the former’s low drive was hacked clear by Jack Wood.

Aylesbury went closer still when Lee Grace’s pinpoint cross from the left was met by a towering header by Edgeworth, but goalkeeper James Reading was equal to the effort and superbly tipped the ball over, although a goal kick was mystifyingly awarded by referee Jon Panconi and his assistant.

At the other end the Ducks defence were tested twice in two minutes, as firstly a misdirected low shot fell kindly for Joseph whose own effort incurred a deflection which took the sting out of the shot and made it comfortable for the keeper. Then, a ball in to Owens saw him turn and see a shot blocked behind for a corner.

Greg Williams was the next to go close, lifting the ball over after Grace’s cross was chested back to him by Edgeworth, but it was the hosts who went in front just past the half hour mark.

A left wing cross was handled in the area by Daniel Jones, Mr Panconi unmoved by the United man’s protestations that his shirt was being pulled, and Joseph stepped up to send Sillitoe the wrong way. 1-0 Beaconsfield

Two minutes later and Steve Hatch made a good block to deny Kofi Lockhardt-Adams after a low ball across the box was cleverly dummied.

Just before the interval, Aylesbury did find the back of the net, only for their joy to be shortlived as the assistant referee’s flag had been raised long before Field followed up to ‘score’ after the offside Baines’s header from Grace’s cross was saved.

SYCOB had another good chance moments later when a long ball downfield saw Lockhardt-Adams find room in the box but his effort flew over the bar.

Half-time: Beaconsfield 1-0 Aylesbury

As against Kettering two days earlier, the Ducks were soon on the back foot and conceded a goal early in the second half.

The warning signs were there as Joseph blazed over following Lockhardt-Adams failed overhead kick, and seconds later Webb’s run and shot was spilled by Sillitoe and Lockhardt-Adams was on hand to fire home the rebound. 2-0 Beaconsfield

Aylesbury then suffered further blows as the struggling Greg Williams was forced out of the game and replaced by Liam Murphy. Lee Grace pulled up injured, although he went on to recover, before Edgeworth was clattered as Reading claimed an aerial ball, suffering a painful awkward landing, with his moans of agony clear for all to hear as a lengthy stoppage ensued, before Bircham replaced him.

Just prior to that, Edgeworth had gone close when he headed Jones’s free kick wide, but the hosts were still having the better openings as Owens flicked a header wide from a left flank cross and Lee Grant crashed a shot over with players queuing up following a free kick.

In the 69th minute Smyth’s corner kick was met by a good header by Hatch which was well saved by Reading, and it marked an upturn in United’s game which saw them pull a goal back two minutes later.

As the ball dropped out of the sky, Smyth did excellently to control a volley, and he was rewarded with the good fortune of a deflection that wrong-footed Reading and found the back of the net. 1-2

Smyth tried his luck again and saw a shot blocked after Jones’s corner kick was crossed back by Field.

Unfortunately, Aylesbury’s comeback was quickly halted as Beaconsfield re-established control with two goals in four minutes.

On 76 minutes impressive substitute Tom O’Regan was given too much room, and bent a well struck left footed effort around Sillitoe into the bottom corner. 3-1 Beaconsfield

O’Regan then turned provider with a jinking run past three players before cutting the ball back from the byeline for fellow substitute Jon-Jo Bates to find the net. 4-1 Beaconsfield

To their credit, United still refused to let their heads drop and after a Hatch long shot went well wide, Keith Williams – scorer at Holloways Park against Slough earlier in the season – struck a free kick that took a nick and drew a decent save and hold at the second attempt by Reading.

In stoppage time Grace teed up Smyth who fired over, but it wasn’t to be United’s day as the Rams ran out convincing winners.