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Match Report

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A stoppage time goal from Mark Bunker denied Aylesbury the three points in a more entertaining than usual derby against landlords Leighton Town.

Though the goal was controversial by the apparent impeding of debutant goalkeeper Tahj Bell, a draw was the correct result overall but the Ducks will feel a case of ‘two points dropped’.

Bell, on a short term loan from Hitchin Town to cover for the injured Jack Sillitoe, had a strong game, as did fellow debutant Tinashe Chabata in defence, who replaced unavailable skipper Jack Wood, whilst Shane Wood and Paul Edgeworth both returned to the starting lineup.

The opening stages saw Aylesbury waste a number of good chances to take the lead, firstly Edgeworth in the first minute played in but he blazed high and wide.

Then, Chabata’s free kick was flicked on by Jason Blackett to Steve Hatch whose effort was turned behind by goalkeeper Dan Green.

Lewis Putman had a sight of goal on six minutes but he hit the post from Blackett’s cross as Leighton survived again, and they had a first chance of their own shortly afterwards when a ball forward released Phil Draycott who beat Chabata for pace but shot straight at Bell.

It was to be the former Ampthill man’s last meaningful action before he left the field injured to be replaced by Christian Lester, but not before Blackett had planted a free header at a corner kick straight into the arms of Green. Another wasted opening for the Ducks.

Leighton’s substitute was quickly involved as he curled a fine effort just wide of the motionless Bell’s goal, after Bill Morgan had got himself tangled trying to clear his lines allowing the ball to be fired across the area to Lester.

Two minutes later and play was back at the other end, Aylesbury winning a free kick which was touched to Putman for a long range shot which deflected through towards goal, and was retrieved by Hatch but his cross was easily held by Green and from the resulting counter Billy Lobjoit’s own long shot was safely fielded by Bell.

That passage of play summed up the nature of the first half, but it was from one of the less frenetic moments that the hosts went ahead. Ex-Duck Warren Garcia began a neat passing move deep in midfield, which ended with a delightful clipped pass over the defence to Mark Bunker who hit a high shot past Bell into the net. 1-0 Leighton

Half-time: Leighton 1-0 Aylesbury

Aylesbury lost Shane Wood to injury at the break, with John Mulholland his readymade replacement at the heart of the defence.

A fired up United took only seven second half minutes to draw level. A flighted free kick into the box saw Green try to claim, but the ball cannoned against Steve Hatch and fell kindly to the Aylesbury midfielder who gleefully hammered it past the defender stationed on the line. 1-1

And joy turned to near instant delirium for the ‘visiting’ supporters almost as their side then went ahead. Referee Mr Finnie played an excellent advantage as Blackett was hauled down by Dave Murphy outside the box, only for Murphy to stop, then try to catch Blackett only to take him down again – this time inside the area, for which a penalty kick and yellow card were the award.

Aylesbury’s ‘Mr Reliable’ Paul Edgeworth stepped up to rifle home the penalty kick and his 75th goal for the club. 2-1 Aylesbury

Just one minute and fifty six seconds separated the goals in United’s dramatic comeback, but with most of the second half still to play there looked a long way for the Ducks who were already having to defend hard.

A dipping volley from Billy Lobjoit dipped just over, before Blackett went down in the box under challenge again but this time the referee judged him to be simulating and booked the Aylesbury man.

Blackett was involved in most of Aylesbury’s good attacking work, and he had the chance to settle proceedings when a low ball across the box came all the way to him, but his snapshot was well saved by the legs of Green.

Prior to that, Bell did well to punch out Billy Lobjoit’s teasing free kick delivery, and substitute Aaron Morgan’s low shot deflected wide of one of his teammates, whilst Jake Bewley hit the side netting for Aylesbury on the end of a well worked counter attack.

The Ducks had another decent chance when Jesse Waites sent Lewis Putman scampering away, but as the defence around him recovered, he could only roll a shot wide across goal.

Aylesbury looked to be holding out with some strong defending as the minutes ticked by, Bell making a superb save to tip the ball wide from Ashley Farmer’s low shot in the 91st minute.

There was nothing he could do to prevent the equaliser that came from the resultant corner kick, as he was prevented from leaving his goal line by an opposing player – something many referees would have blown for – but the ball dropped to Bunker who fired home to level the game. 2-2

Still time remained for a Leighton winner, with a deep free kick met by a bullet header five minutes into stoppages that thankfully, from Aylesbury’s point of view, flew wide, and it finished even.

A useful point for both sides, but an afternoon when United could have taken all three, particularly had they shown more clinical play in the final third.