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Match Report

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Aylesbury’s dreams of reaching the League Cup final were ended by two well taken Josh Dawkin goals as the Ducks were knocked out at the semi final stage by St Ives Town.

His two first half strikes had given the hosts a flatteringly comfortable advantage at the interval, in a half where United had matched their Premier Division hosts in terms of chances, but, crucially, were unable to take one.

Doubtless owing to the Tuesday night distance of the game, the Ducks squad was stretched to the limit, with Josh Baines and Alex Chilcott the only outfield subs present.

Lea Coulter was back to lead the line but Ollie Hogg had to play in an unfamiliar right back slot with Gavin Hinds-Cadette unavailable and on the bench in name only. Reece Cameron replaced Baines in the other change to the team that had beaten Hanwell at the weekend.

As early as the fourth minute Coulter was testing Tim Trebes, who did well to hang onto his shot from out wide, but Ives responded with a shot from range which flew wide of Jack Sillitoe’s goal.

It set the tone of an early end to end battle, the home side next to go close when Dawkin’s half cleared cross was swung back in to be headed over the bar by Danny Kelly.

The Ducks then pressed themselves and only an heroic sliding intervention prevented Coulter converting from Jake Bewley’s arrowed low ball into the box, Bruno Brito hammering the rebound over as it broke to him.

From that moment St Ives began to turn the screw, and by the time of the 20th minute opener Sillitoe had already made two good saves.

Firstly, he turned the ball wide after some quick feet from Peter Clark gave him a shooting opportunity. Then, the recently returned goalkeeper beat away a drilled shot after his defenders failed to clear the ball, seconds after Jack Bradshaw had made a mess of volleying a corner kick when unmarked.

Dawkin’s first goal therefore wasn’t against the run of play; collecting a through ball that came about as the Ducks failed to take control in midfield, he picked his spot and found the bottom corner beyond Sillitoe, before a response to his 15th goal of the season that was entirely unenthused. 1-0 St Ives

Far from dwelling on the setback, United quickly got back into their stride and a probing run by Sonny French allowed him to find Bewley on the overlap whose cross was met by a looping Reece Cameron header which had to be plucked out of the air.

A minute later and a ball over the defence put Coulter away, but his low shot was well saved by Trebes again, whilst a Bewley corner kick was met by the flying figure of Jack Wood who saw his header blocked.

Despite the chances, it was St Ives who extended their lead with a pearler from Dawkin, six minutes before the break. Neat interplay between him and Clark ended with the ball worked back to the former, who this time unleashed a superb shot into the top corner that gave Sillitoe no chance. Again, not even so much as a smile from the former Norwich City trainee. 2-0 St Ives

Aylesbury came again, and this time a move down the right ended with Coulter hitting the bar from close range, with Bewley only able to smash the rebound over with the goal gaping.

Although St Ives did go close again when Charlie De’Ath headed over a redelivered corner kick, the Ducks trooped off for the interval shortly afterwards feeling justifiably aggrieved with the scoreline.

Half-time: St Ives 2-0 Aylesbury

The second period never quite hit the same highs as the first for United, as their hosts did a fine job in closing the game out and restricting Aylesbury to half chances – a Frederick shot that flew high and wide as the ball ran loose, and a similar one for Brito that was blocked after Trebes had flapped at a corner kick.

Danny Kelly had an opportunity with a free kick on the edge of the box, but struck it straight into the wall, before the game lost any kind of momentum with the home side using all three of their substitutes in a ten minutes spell, whilst Baines came on for the limping Brito.

Just four minutes after making all their changes, experienced defender Jack Bradshaw was forced to hobble out of proceedings after a spell of treatment on the pitch, leaving St Ives down to ten men for the final sixteen minutes.

It didn’t seem to make too much difference, as a square ball inside to substitute Kasey Douglas called Sillitoe to make a superb reaction save from his shot and keep Aylesbury hanging on in the game.

With their man advantage United began to apply some heavy pressure as the game drew to a close, yet found breaking down a well regimented defence a hard task.

Bewley saw a long shot fly wide, before Cameron nearly profited as St Ives made a mess of clearing the ball, but the young forward missed the target from just inside the area as the ball was flicked into his path.

Ollie Hogg called Trebes into one final save, five minutes from time, when his bending shot had to be tipped over, and Cameron was involved again when his bustling run into the box took him past Jordan Jarrold, but Trebes was quickly off his line to grab the ball.

The enigmatic Dubi Ogbonna had entered the fray for the home side and was putting himself about at the other end of the pitch, but his only attempt at goal was a wayward long shot.

Aylesbury’s luck continued to desert them right up until the final whistle – Jack Wood becoming the second player to hit the woodwork when he snuck in around the back to meet Bewley’s corner kick.

It just wasn’t to be United’s night with time up, St Ives going on to face Hayes & Yeading United in the final while the Ducks will be left to focus on a positive end to their league campaign with eight games remaining.