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Match Report

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Greg Williams’s 400th Aylesbury United game was not to be the seaside fairytale, the Ducks coming up just short as their FA Cup adventure came to an end against their Bostik Premier Division hosts, despite a tenacious, battling performance.

Following their midweek loss at Kempston Rovers, the Ducks squad was boosted by the return of Jack Wood and Jake Bewley from injury and holiday respectively, but it was tempered by the unavailability of Sonny French (away) and Bruno Brito (injured).

The home team started on top, forcing an early corner kick that failed to beat the first man, before winning a free kick 25-yards from goal which Sam Hasler curled some way wide of the target.

Though clear cut chances were lacking, Aylesbury were working hard to find spaces in attack and fashioned a number of half openings in the game’s early stages.

With ten on the clock Lea Coulter brought the ball forwards but was unable to make the kind of contact with his shot he’d have liked, his daisycutter drifting harmlessly wide.

A looping cross from the right was headed over the bar by Alex Collard, before Coulter was involved again a minute later when he won the ball back, saw his attempted pass blocked before firing an effort goalwards which took a slight deflection on its way through to Tim Roberts in goal.

The Seasiders opened the scoring on 24 minutes when a ball clipped over the defence put Joe Taylor in on goal, and as Jack Sillitoe hesitated in coming from his line the striker raced clear and made the finish look easy. 1-0 Folkestone

Just past the midpoint of the half, and things appeared to be going to script for the higher level club. Aylesbury weren’t about to roll over though, and maybe should have been level just four minutes later. A deep free kick was flicked on by Ryan Kinnane, finding Coulter all alone in the box who managed to swivel well but placed his half volley wide.

A fine ball from Bewley then released Tyriq Hunte who cut into the penalty area from the left, taking his time to hold off defenders before getting a shot away which was saved by Roberts who did a good job in making himself big.

Folkestone remained a threat at the other end, the partnership of Taylor and former Dagenham man Ade Yusuff looking dangerous throughout. The two combined on 31 minutes when Taylor levered a ball into the box down for Yusuff to lash wide.

Seconds later and the hosts should have doubled their advantage when a ball in from the left took out the entire United defence before falling to Jordan Wright who skied his shot.

Coulter cleared the bar with a long shot, before Kinnane headed wide from Ollie Hogg’s corner kick as the Ducks continued to knock on the door.

On 37 minutes they did find a way through, with a well worked breakaway goal. Once again, Hunte produced some good work on the left before squaring the ball for Coulter to crash home a fierce effort. 1-1

Unruffled by the setback, Yusuff nearly re-established the lead for his side when he expertly took down a long high ball before taking aim at the near post where Sillitoe got down well to turn the ball wide and ensure parity at the break.

Half-time: Folkestone 1-1 Aylesbury

Aylesbury had the first sight of goal in the second period, Bewley – who had slotted straight back in as if never having been away – making tracks on the left before finding Hunte inside who made room for a shot but fired wide.

Four minutes later and, by contrast, Yusuff was to be unerring as Invicta went in front again. Threaded through, the livewire striker galloped clear, cut inside, and produced an outstanding finish into the far bottom corner beyond Sillitoe. 2-1 Folkestone

Buoyed by his goal, Yusuff was the focal point of everything Folkestone did and for a spell it was Ducks vs the number 10. Having hit a free kick straight into the defensive wall, he then got the better of Alex Collard but could only find the side netting whilst another low shot went wide after he was played in again.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes, a fine crossfield pass found Coulter running in on goal who struck an effort similar to that of Yusuff earlier, but with no reward.

The headline writers were then poised as that man Greg Williams very nearly salvaged a draw with the big chance of the second half for Aylesbury. Coulter turned provider this time with an accurate through ball, but a quite superb saving challenge out of nowhere slid the ball away just as the veteran was about to pull the trigger.

Unfortunately that was to be the last meaningful attack United could muster. Try as they might, no way through the well regimented backline of the home side could be found, and the FA Cup campaign was brought to a close for another season.

After a battling performance against higher level opponents, the players were a credit to their club and can look back on a 100th season in the competition with pride having reached the 3rd Qualifying Round for the first time since 2008.