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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Aylesbury’s upturn in form continued as the Ducks came from behind to beat managerless landlords Chesham United 3-1 in the Southern League Challenge Cup.

The Generals have endured a miserable start to the season and came into the game rooted to the bottom of their league with just a solitary point to their name.

Nevertheless, Chesham are an experienced Premier Division side, and this was another impressive result for a tireless Aylesbury team who showed real character again having fallen behind early on.

The ‘away’ team (both teams share The Meadow, but Aylesbury were the designated home side) showed no signs of a lack of confidence as they took the game to the Ducks straight away.

Within four minutes they had won a penalty when Bradley Clayton ran into the box before being taken down by a rash Jack Wood challenge, Tom Hitchcock stepping up to convert his first goal for the club after his transfer from Biggleswade Town four days earlier. 1-0 Chesham

Things could have been even worse for the Ducks as they were forced to defend hard in the opening quarter. A low shot was parried away by Archie Davis before the follow up header was cleared off the line.

Davis was in the thick of things again a minute later when Ryan Blake was put clean through only to be denied by the young keeper who was quick off his line, and was just as quick to get up and save the follow up shot from David Pearce.

Having managed to repel the pressure, Aylesbury’s first meaningful chance came on the quarter hour mark when Jeanmal Prosper chipped in a cross which was headed over by Aaron Berry, which was quickly followed by an Ollie Hogg free kick which was just about caught by former Ducks’ keeper Alex Tokarczyk.

A combination of blocks from Mapley, Prosper and Davis kept Chesham at bay again, whilst Jon-Jo Bates was denied by an unorthodox save from Davis after the ball was worked infield to him.

The Generals were made to rue their missed opportunities when, after 25 minutes, Aylesbury drew level. Max Hercules picked out the unmarked Hogg in the box whose shot lacked power but still had to be diverted wide by Tokarczyk.

The first corner kick was cleverly delivered by Matt Peake-Pijnen in low to the near post where Prosper sent it spinning goalwards only for the ball to be scrambled away at the last moment.

The second wasn’t so well dealt with by Chesham and eventually fell to Prosper who had no hesitation in firing home the equaliser against his former club. 1-1

Suddenly, Aylesbury were the dominant force and on-loan Barnet striker Benjamin Aghadiuno had his first sight of goal but dragged a shot wide, and a minute later Prosper delivered another telling cross which Hercules was on the end of but headed straight into the keeper’s arms.

Another two minutes later and Prosper was just unable to turn the ball home after Jack Wood had returned a deep free kick back across goal, so it came as little surprise when the Ducks completed their turnaround.

Not for the first time in Aylesbury United history, it was the name Hercules who was the hero against Buckinghamshire rivals Chesham, albeit not all-time leading goalscorer Cliff, but son Max.

Hogg did superbly to retrieve the ball and feed Aghadiuno who made a powerful run into the box. As Chesham failed to clear their lines Hercules cleanly found the bottom corner with an instantaneous shot. 2-1 Aylesbury

There was still time for Berry to have a chance for a third when Aghadiuno squared to him in the box for a flick which was saved by Tokarczyk, and Chesham also wasted a good chance to draw level when a shot was saved by Davis and Blake produced an air kick as he tried to reach the rebound.

Half-time: Aylesbury 2-1 Chesham

The Ducks made a bright start to the second half that saw French feed Berry whose shot with his left foot lacked the power to trouble Tokarczyk.

The Premier Division side made an early double change in their quest to get back into the game, with veteran ex-Ducks striker Jefferson Louis entering the fray and he nearly made an immediate impact as his physical presence at a corner kick caused problems with Davis clawing the ball away.

As the minutes ticked by, Aylesbury were happy to soak up any pressure their opponents could muster and always looked a threat on the counter attack, one such move eventually ending with Hogg shooting wide from the edge of the box.

Chesham’s cause was further hampered when they were reduced to ten-men as a frustrated Jon-Jo Bates raised his arm in the direction of Ben Seaton having earned a free kick and was shown a red card by referee Michael Smith.

Even with a player deficit, the Generals continued to throw plenty of bodies forward and only a last-ditch challenge from Matt Peake-Pijnen prevented an equaliser as an attacker ran clean through on 73 minutes.

The Ducks’ first change of the game saw Horatio Hirst replace the hard working Aaron Berry up front, and with his first involvement he linked up well with Aghadiuno before the latter sent a shot crashing over.

With nine minutes remaining Aghadiuno played French in behind the defence with the midfielder trying an unselfish square ball across goal when a shot might have been the better option.

The game was finally made safe four minutes later with a superb goal on the break. Hirst touched the ball around the corner for French to run onto and this time his square pass found Aghadiuno who produced a perfectly composed finish to find the bottom corner. 3-1 Aylesbury

That was enough to cement Aylesbury’s place in the 2nd round, and with four minutes remaining Max Hercules and Ben Seaton were withdrawn for a well earned rest with Greg Williams and Harry Jones coming on as replacements.

There was a further save by Davis in stoppage time as he acrobatically kept out Pearce’s volleyed shot, and at the other end Williams might have done better from a short free kick routine that put him in for clear sight of goal but his shot was tame and straight at his former teammate.

Another excellent evening’s work from the Ducks who have now racked up three very different wins in a row. Ben Williams’ side will need to be at their best again if they are to make it four when they host Welwyn Garden City in league action and another home encounter on Saturday.