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Match Report

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Max Hercules scored his first goal for Aylesbury United, but there was FA Cup heartbreak for the Ducks as a penalty kick in the second period of extra time sent the Ducks out at South Bucks rivals Marlow.

Having conceded after just seven minutes it looked like a long night might be on the cards, but United produced a gutsy performance and fully deserved sending the tie to an additional thirty minutes before suffering their late fate.

There were four changes from the original 0-0 stalemate at The Meadow two days earlier – with Archie Davis replacing the injured Jack Hopwood in goal, Chris Crook the suspended Callum Mapley in defence and Harry Jones in for the unavailable Aaron Berry up front, whilst the final change saw Sean Coles return in place of Greg Williams, who was nursing an injury.

In the damp conditions, Marlow made a bright start and with made a statement of intent after just two minutes. Kelvin Bossman was played clean through but Archie Davis stood tall to make a good save with his legs. He then recovered his position to make an even better save from a top corner bound Bossman header after the ball had been played back in from the left.

Five minutes later and the Blues did find the breakthrough. A weak defensive header was latched upon and as Charlie Samuel’s shot came in from the left it deflected kindly into the path of Junaid Bell who finished smartly. 1-0 Marlow

From that point there was limited goalmouth action, with the Ducks struggling to make headway against a resilient Marlow outfit who had only conceded one goal from their six games of the season to date.

The tricky Bell wriggled his way into the box midway through the half before seeing the ball eventually smothered by Davis, before Aylesbury finally tested home custodian Simon Grant in the 34th minute.

Sean Coles latched onto a fine through ball from the excellent Sonny French and fired in a shot from out wide which was parried out by Grant but unfortunately nobody on the away side had followed up allowing for an easy clearance.

Coles was involved again three minutes afterwards when he produced a smart turn on the ball to leave his marker behind, and tried his luck from range but Grant was in place to make a comfortable catch.

17 year old Davis was once again proving an able deputy on only his fifth senior appearance, and he made another good save to keep the score at 1-0 just before the break when Allen Bossman escaped the attentions of Jeanmal Prosper, cut into the box but was denied by the young goalkeeper.

Half time: Marlow 1-0 Aylesbury

Once again, the home side started brightly when Devontae Romeo was picked out in the box before his shot on the turn was held by Davis.

Having got into the interval with only the one-goal deficit, Aylesbury were very much still in the cup tie and were producing some better football, but for the most part limited to long shots from Kierran Lataille and Sonny French that both missed the target.

At the other end Kelvin Bossman might have done better when Romeo and Bell combined to give Charlie Samuel a crossing opportunity from which he produced a brilliant whipped ball that Bossman could only glance wide having got in between defenders.

Ben Williams made his first roll of the dice, bringing on Ben Seaton in place Harry Jones who had tried his hardest but struggled to make an impact in the centre forward role.

Despite seeing plenty of the ball, Aylesbury were still finding it difficult to create openings, although they went close with a looping header that dropped just over the bar from a corner kick delivered by Ollie Hogg.

With twelve minutes remaining, Aylesbury finally found a way through for an equalising goal. Slick interplay lead to Sonny French getting in behind the defence, only for Grant to make a good one-on-one save with his legs.

As the ball broke it was worked to the left wing, before being crossed in low and hard where Max Hercules arrived to joyfully crash a shot high into the net and become only the second player to score past Marlow this season. 1-1

The game continued its ‘cut and thrust’ nature until the end as both sides went for a winner.

Substitute Isaac Osei-Tutu set up Romeo who, from two yards out, managed to pivot and get in a shot that Davis kept out on his near post.

Hercules then nearly repeated his goalscoring heroics when a searching cross from the left picked out his run again, but this time Grant got across to block the shot, and ensure the game went to extra time.

End of normal time: Marlow 1-1 Aylesbury

With neither side happy to let the game drift quietly towards penalties, either could have taken control in the first period of extra time.

Some penalty area pinball after a Blues’ corner kick eventually resulted in a blocked shot from Allen Bossman, whilst Samuel had two efforts on goal – the first go wide and the second held.

Aylesbury’s big chance came courtesy of Sonny French, who found himself in space inside the area but saw his shot hit Callum Gallimore clean in the face rather than the back of the net.

The first fifteen minutes of extra time then came to an end with Max Hercules curling a direct free kick over the bar from just outside the area.

Half time in extra time: Marlow 1-1 Aylesbury

Just two minutes after the extra time restart, Aylesbury’s hearts were broken as they fell behind again. The Ducks defence seemed to momentarily stop expecting a foul in midfield, but Marlow broke quickly and as they attacked into the area Osei-Tutu was clipped from behind for a clear penalty.

Long serving defender Chris Ovenden – who had only been on the pitch since the start of extra time – stepped up and duly sent Davis the wrong way to score. 2-1 Marlow

Summoning up any remaining energy they could, the Ducks twice went close to restoring parity in the last five minutes of extra time.

Firstly, a square pass to Sonny French saw the ball sit up nicely for him to strike a fizzing shot from 25-yards that flew just wide of the target.

Two minutes into stoppage time Jack Wood had an even better chance when Ben Seaton clipped a cross into the box that the Aylesbury skipper got on the end of but could only watch as his header dropped agonisingly wide.

Sandwiched between the two chances, Marlow wasted a glorious opportunity to put the tie to bed when Osei-Tutu cut the ball back from the byeline to McKoy Palmer who blazed over the bar from six-yards out.

Ultimately it wasn’t to be a costly miss, as after five minutes of stoppage time referee Mr Mannix brought an end to a 210-minute battle that saw Marlow just about come out on top.

Unfortunately that still wasn’t quite to be the end of matters, as some unsavoury and chaotic scenes after the full time whistle saw numerous scuffles break out and resulted in the issuing of three red cards – one for Kierran Lataille of Aylesbury and two for Marlow.

It was a disappointing end to what had been a pulsating cup tie, and, in terms of the match, a galling way for Aylesbury’s FA Cup campaign to come to an end. However, plenty of positives for manager Ben Williams to take forward as league action resumes at the weekend.