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Match Report

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A timely first win of the season sealed Aylesbury’s progress to the 1st Qualifying Round of the FA Cup for the first time in four years, at the expense of well-beaten Leverstock Green.

The goal threat that had deserted the Ducks in the original tie finally came to the fore as they put four past their Spartan South Midlands League visitors, though the final score of 4-1 was a little flattering.

Indeed, it was Levy who could have lead with less than 60 seconds on the clock when Lewis Bowers met Jonathan Lacey’s corner kick only for Jack Sillitoe to make a good stop on the line to deny him.

That early scare was soon laid to rest with Aylesbury taking an early lead themselves. Oxford United loanee Dejon Noel-Williams, making his home debut, outmuscled Bowers before cutting the ball back for Sonny French to turn home from close range. 1-0 Aylesbury

Ex-Duck Chris Marsh was the man orchestrating most of Leverstock Green’s good work, and his superb pass over the defence found Sam Nair ghosting in behind the defence on 19 minutes but he couldn’t get enough contact on the ball to force it past Sillitoe.

Three minutes later some good football at the other end by the Ducks ended with Noel-Williams touching the ball off for Jake Bewley to fire a shot across goal and wide.

Leverstock levelled midway through the first half when Marsh hit a stunning curling shot from 35-yards that crashed back off the inside of the post, straight to the alert Jonathan Lacey who smashed it into the empty net. 1-1

It wasn’t an undeserved goal, and where Aylesbury had enjoyed a decent opening to the match, proceedings now belonged to the dominant Green, forcing a succession of corners although they ultimately came to nothing.

Instead, the Ducks re-took the lead against the run of play. A quick throw in found Reece Cameron whose fierce near post shot had to be turned behind by Charlie Hoskins, and from Bewley’s resulting corner Alex Collard was afforded a free header to nod in. 2-1 Aylesbury

Back came the Hertfordshire side again, with a cross from the right falling for Ross Adams, but his effort was blocked in the area ensuring United maintained their lead to the half time interval.

Half-time: Aylesbury 2-1 Leverstock

An early second half goal would have been what manager Glyn Creaser was looking for to kill the tie off, and that’s exactly what Aylesbury achieved with their second goal from a corner of the night.

Another Bewley inswinger was met beyond the far post by Cameron, who headed back across goal for Greg Williams to head home his 25th goal in Aylesbury United colours. 3-1 Aylesbury

It almost got even better straight away when debutant Ryan Coyle picked the pocket of a dallying Marsh but could only drag his quickly taken shot well wide of the target.

Coyle – sporting protective face strapping following a first half collision – only lasted another seven minutes of his debut before being replaced at right wing-back by Gavin Hinds-Cadette.

Before that a couple of half chances came and went for the visitors with Marsh striking a decent free kick opportunity straight into the wall, before young midfielder Lacey – who hit 30 goals in 2016/17 – skewed an ambitious effort high and wide of the target.

Making his first start of the season, Reece Cameron was having a productive game against his former side, and his strong run at the defence set up Noel-Williams for a sweeping shot that nicked off a defender and flew just wide.

There was still a hint of threat from Levy, too, with the feeling that one goal would have them right back in the game again. They nearly had it when the home defence failed to deal with a high ball, Lacey nipping in to lob over the stranded Sillitoe, but onto the roof of the net.

A confident looking Aylesbury were creating the better openings though, and on 68 minutes Jack Wood stepped out of defence to find Bewley on the left who in turn found French in the box but the ball squirmed away from him at the crucial moment.

Ollie Hogg’s cross was flicked wide by Cameron a minute later, before Wood again burst forwards to good effect, playing in French who in turn played it through for Cameron but he slotted just wide with only Hoskins to beat.

Cameron was involved again when the visiting defence had no answer to his strength and determination, passing inside for Noel-Williams who couldn’t get a shot away before Hoskins smothered the ball.

Luca DeMare’s ball in from the left on 80 minutes found Lacey beating Sillitoe to the ball, but his toe-poke dropped just wide in what was to be Leverstock Green’s last meaningful effort of the game.

Late on Bewley had a direct free kick palmed away by Hoskins, whilst substitute Jamie Jellis saw an effort well blocked after a great run by fellow substitute Lea Coulter on the left wing.

Two minutes into stoppage time and Aylesbury did finally add a fourth. Leverstock were caught cold again by a quick throw, to French this time who skipped free but was sent sprawling as he tried to round Hoskins – the midfielder dusting himself down to send the goalkeeper the wrong way for his second of the game. 4-1 Aylesbury

The Ducks will can now look forward to a trip to Bostik League North outfit Tilbury in the 1st Qualifying Round on 2nd September, but have two tough league fixtures against Barton Rovers and Aylesbury FC before that.