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The Evo-Stik League South
Match Report

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Aylesbury’s poor recent record in the FA Trophy continued as the Ducks were sent crashing out at the first hurdle by East Anglian opponents for the second season in a row.

It also brought an end to United’s four-match winning run, and though the hosts would have merited a Tuesday night replay, their fate was sealed by some catastrophic defensive errors in the latter part of the first half which saw the tie turned on its’ head.

Ben Williams stuck to the old adage of ‘don’t change a winning team’ as Aylesbury went into the game unchanged, and they made a bright start when a quick throw found Benji Aghadiuno who could only loft a shot well over the bar.

It took just seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken. On-loan Barnet striker Aghadiuno once again showed his class throughout and when his low ball into the box was spilled by goalkeeper Garry Malone, Aaron Berry was on hand to rifle home his seventh of the season. 1-0 Aylesbury

The Ducks were unable to build on their lead when Sonny French’s shot was blocked in the area before Max Hercules volleyed over Ben Seaton’s return ball, and the home side were made to pay as Mildenhall wiped out their lead only five minutes after it had been established.

It was the first defensive calamity of the afternoon, as one ball swept forward cut out the entire Aylesbury back line allowing winger Evans Kouassi to gallop free and calmly roll the ball past the advancing Archie Davis. 1-1

Whether the wet and wild conditions at the Meadow were taking their toll or for reasons unknown, United were uncharacteristically uneasy in defence during the first period especially, and amongst more poor defending two minutes later giant striker Tom Debenham’s volley was turned wide by Davis.

When they were able to get the ball and play football Aylesbury posed a threat – with French half volleying a shot wide on 17 minutes – but it was Mildenhall who had the better opportunities, no more so than when Kouassi beat Prosper to tee up Jarid Robson who placed a shot over the bar from six-yards.

After Hercules had missed the target and Aghadiuno, not for the first or last time, saw a shot blocked, one of the Ducks’ best moves of the half saw Jack Wood’s crossfield pass to Prosper result in a cross that was nearly headed into his own net by Arran Smith, the ball dropping just wide.

A quick Mildenhall counter on 32 minutes ended with a Kouassi shot that nicked just wide of the target, but less than a minute later and Town did have a second. A long free kick was flicked on to the completely unmarked Robson who had the easy task of nodding beyond Davis. 2-1 Mildenhall

Two nearly became three almost immediately, Aylesbury architects of their own downfall as a failed throw in routine was worked to Debenham whose shot was deflected wide with Davis exposed.

Davis then kept his side in it with a remarkable save to deny Debenham after Kouassi’s through ball put him in behind the defence, but the young keeper stood tall and threw out a glove to tip his fierce shot wide.

The sense of relief wasn’t to last long though, and Aylesbury’s afternoon got a whole lot harder just before the break. A third defensive calamity allowed a throw in to find Debenham who had time to cut the ball back for Robson who was able to fire home, again without a defender anywhere near. 3-1 Mildenhall

Half-time: Aylesbury 1-3 Mildenhall

Town were forced into a half time reshuffle after captain Luke Butcher was forced off injured at the break and replaced by Ben Nolan.

Aylesbury needed a big second half performance and quickly set about closing down the two-goal deficit, Hercules picking out Aghadiuno with a cross but the big striker was just unable to get above the ball and headed over.

Seven minutes after the restart, and it fell to French to halve Mildenhall’s lead. The visitors made a mess of dealing with a long ball downfield, allowing French to run through and slot past the out of position Malone. 2-3

Seconds later and the Ducks could have been level through Hercules, who found himself in behind the defence but slashed wide on his weaker left foot.

An Aylesbury corner soon afterwards was taken short to Prosper whose cross wasn’t met cleanly by Aghadiuno. He did better on 73 minutes, teasing his marker before cutting inside and firing in a shot that took a slight touch off a defender on its way through.

The resulting corner was half cleared as far as French who leathered a full-blooded shot wide of Malone’s goal.

Which was how events continued until the final whistle – Mildenhall doing a resolute job of keeping the increasingly desperate Ducks at arms length with long shots from Hogg and French coming to nothing.

Predictably, the two big chances of the closing moments both fell to Aghadiuno, but he was unable to maintain his 100% scoring record for the club.

Two minutes from time Prosper delivered from wide to Aghadiuno who volleyed wide. Then, in stoppage time, he stepped inside his marker yet again and drilled in a powerful effort that just cleared the crossbar.

It meant the end of the FA Trophy for the Ducks with Mildenhall able to successfully wind down the clock in the remaining seconds, and book their place in the First Qualifying Round.