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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report


Match report by David Figg

After crashing to a 0-4 away league defeat by Didcot Town on the previous Tuesday evening, Aylesbury United bounced back to reach the 1st Qualifying Round of the Emirates FA Cup with a 3-2 away win over Spartan South Midlands League Premier Division side Crawley Green in their Preliminary Round tie at The Brache, Park Street, Luton on Saturday.

United went into the game knowing that it was a potential banana skin against a side playing one level below them in the pyramid, but Ben Williams’ side ended up making hard work of it and endured a few nervous moments along the way.

Crawley Green had gone into the tie on the back of a 3-4 home league defeat by Tring Athletic the previous Saturday which had ended a 3 match winning run from the start of the season, including a 7-1 thrashing of Woodley United in the Extra Preliminary Round on 11th August.

The first serious clear-cut chance of note came United’s way in the 7th minute when Jeanmal Prosper’s throw in on the right found Ollie Hogg whose attempted shot was blocked, with the ball running out to the left for the in-running Jake Bewley to fire his left foot shot from 35 yards well over the bar.

Then at the same end in the 13th minute, Ben Seaton had his right foot shot from similar distance held by Crawley Green keeper Bart Pedrycz.

Then in the 21st minute, United took the lead when Bewley’s corner from the right to the far post was headed out by Crawley Green defender Sam McClelland to Hogg, who took a touch to control before sending a lofted ball into the box for Jack Wood to send his header from 6 yards past Pedrycz to mark his return to the side after holiday with a goal. 1-0 Aylesbury

The hosts went close in the 29th minute when a forward ball from the left by the lively Oluwanimilo Ajigbolamu found Aaron Morgan who made a diagonal run to his right towards the middle before firing his right foot shot from 20 yards not far wide of Ducks keeper Archie Davis’ right hand post.

United went close in the 31st minute when Max Hercules’ cross-field ball from the right was cleared by Crawley Green’s Kevin McManus to Seaton, whose curling left foot shot from 18 yards from the right of middle was held by Pedrycz.

A chance came the hosts’ way in the 36th minute when a forward ball on the left by Sam Willett to Morgan saw Morgan challenged by Ducks defender Callum Mapley leaving Morgan injured. With the ball running to Ajigbolamu, Edgware referee Steven Conway waved play on as Ajigbolamu ran forward and into the left of the box before having his shot blocked by the advancing Davis. Mapley was yellow carded for his challenge.

Then in the 41st minute, it was 2-0 when Bewley’s corner from the right found Greg Williams whose header from 6 yards went in off Pedrycz’s left hand post and was adjudged by assistant referee Newton Gordon to have crossed the line before being cleared, despite strong protests by the home referee to the contrary. 2-0 Aylesbury

The last chance of the half came United’s way with 27 seconds of normal time left when Seaton dragged his low right foot shot from 20 yards wide of Pedrycz’s right hand post.

Half-time: Crawley Green 0-2 Aylesbury

There were no substitutions by either side at half time before the first change was made by Crawley Green in the 53rd minute when Graham Clarke came on to replace Tyler Ingham.

The first serious chance of note in the second half came Aylesbury’s way later in the 53rd minute when Sonny French’s low diagonal ball from middle to right found Hercules whose cross found Aaron Berry, whose header from 5 yards was superbly tipped over the bar by Pedrycz for a corner.

The Ducks went close again in the 57th minute when French’s forward ball found Seaton, whose right footed shot from 20 yards was parried to his right by Pedrycz.

United went close again just into the 59th minute when Bewley’s low forward ball on the left found French who ran forward on the left of middle before sending a low through ball to the on-running Bewley, who ran into the box before firing his low left foot angled shot from 14 yards past the post.

The visitors went within an ace of adding to their lead twice in the space of a few seconds at the end of the 60th minute when Seaton’s cross from the right found Wood who crashed his header from 4 yards against the bar, with the ball eventually running to Hercules whose right foot shot from 20 yards was superbly tipped over the bar by Pedrycz for a corner.

Another chance came United’s way in the 62nd minute when Berry won a tackle and ran forward before firing his right foot shot from 20 yards against the bar.

A half chance came Crawley Green’s way a minute later when Morgan had his shot saved by Davis before the hosts made their second change in the 64th minute with Sam Pemberton coming on to replace Jack Keating.

Just 48 seconds later (still just about in the 64th minute), Crawley Green pulled a goal back when Davis’ clearance fell to Jonathan Cooper on the hosts’ left whose first time left foot shot from 40 yards dropped near the byeline between the right edge of the box and the corner flag. Crawley Green’s Mark Bunker jumped to challenge Davis and after a melee, Bunker won the ball and cut into the right of the box before passing low to the near post where Clarke fired his right foot shot into Davis’ top left hand corner to give his side hope. 1-2

The hosts had grown in confidence since Clarke came on and caused United some problems. Indeed, they went close to an equaliser in the 71st minute when Morgan’s corner from the right to the far post found Ajigbolamu whose header back across found Sam McClelland, whose first time right foot shot from 16 yards was cleared off the line by Wood at his left hand post.

However, United rallied and a chance came their way in the 79th minute when Hogg fed French who ran to his right in the middle outside the D before having his right foot shot from 20 yards held to his right by Pedrycz.

Then in the 80th minute, United went 3-1 up when Bewley played a one-two on the left with Seaton before running on and into the box before seeing his low left foot angled shot from 10 yards hit Pedrycz’s body on its way into the keeper’s left hand corner. 3-1 Aylesbury

Crawley Green made their third and final change with exactly 80 completed minutes played when Sam Peverall came on to replace Bunker before the Ducks made their first change just under 2 minutes later when Harry Jones came on for Berry.

Then right at the end of the 85th minute, Crawley Green pulled a goal back when a long clearance by Pedrycz over the United defence bounced as Mapley made an attempted jump, the ball dropped to the lively Clarke and he cut past Mapley before firing his right foot shot from 12 yards into Davis’ right hand corner to set up a tense finish. 2-3

United made their second change with exactly 4 minutes of normal time left when Sean Coles came on to replace Hercules.

United went close to going 4-2 up in the 88th minute when Coles’ cross from the right found Seaton who touched it to Jones on the edge of the box, whose right foot volley on the turn was touched onto the outside of his left hand post by Pedrycz for a corner.

Then at the other end with 23 seconds of added time left at the end, the hosts came within an ace of a dramatic late equaliser to force a replay when Michael Moss’ through ball on the right found Clarke who ran through before firing his right foot shot from 15 yards against the bar.

That proved to be the final chance of note for either side as the Ducks held on before the final blast of referee Conway’s whistle after a total of 5 minutes and 36 seconds of added time at the end confirmed Aylesbury’s place in the 1st Qualifying Round.

However, they ended up making somewhat hard work of it and Ben Williams’ side will have to be on top of their game for their home local derby with Thame United at The Meadow on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm) and their daunting trip to Bromsgrove Sporting next Saturday (3pm).