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Match Report


Aylesbury set up a 1st Qualifying Round trip to West Sussex side Haywards Heath Town following a replay win in Sevenoaks, where a thrilling cup tie was never truly safe until David Manu’s last minute goal made it 4-2.

The Ducks had fallen behind to a very early penalty, but a rousing comeback saw them sensationally score three goals in three first half minutes to take control of proceedings. The hosts then hit back in the second half to lead to some nervy moments where they might have forced extra time, only for Manu to secure the win with his second goal of the night.

The short notice/long distance of the game inevitably meant player availability issues, and with Mark Riddick and Dave O’Connor only arriving at the ground ten minutes before kick off, there were changes to the team as Sydney Ibie and Ben Seaton came into the lineup as replacements - giving the team an even more attacking look to it.

Ibie made his intentions clear from the start as he took the ball straight from kick off past a couple of defenders before hammering a shot past the goal.

Jack Hopwood was then called upon to make his first save of the night, on 5 minutes, Fraser Walker pushing the ball through to Frankie Sawyer whose shot was turned over.

But disaster struck just seconds later when the resulting corner kick was headed back across goal, and as the shot came in referee Mr Bartlett penalised the Ducks for handball. Kyle De Silva took responsibility and calmly found the bottom corner, just out of reach of the correctly-guessing Hopwood’s dive. 1-0 Sevenoaks

An early spanner in the works, but Aylesbury were undeterred in their task and quickly set about seeking an equaliser. Manu and Ibie were proving too hot to handle down the flanks, and the former raided down the left before picking out Ibie who poked an effort just wide.

Manu was again the instigator three minutes later when he cut inside from the left but saw his effort blocked. The ball broke to the supporting Jake Bewley who whipped in fine ball that Seaton ghosted onto but could only volley wide.

The Oaks then suffered a blow when Tom Ripley went down injured and was subsequently forced out of the game, but not before he was afforded a free header at a corner kick that cleared the crossbar.

Next was Ibie’s turn to cause trouble when he rampaged down the right before fizzing in a low cross-cum-shot which home keeper Patrick Lee was unable to keep hold of, and Fraser Walker was just about to scramble away under immense pressure. The corner was half cleared before being played to Ibie who stung Lee’s palms with a fierce shot.

Midway through the half and Aylesbury had an equaliser. David Manu received the ball and though there didn’t seem much on for him, the winger produced a sublime, perfectly judged lob from 30-yards that caught out Lee and nestled into the net. 1-1

Suddenly it was game on and with the rampant Ducks smelling blood they took full advantage with three goals in a crazy three minutes.

Within 90 seconds of the equaliser a fabulous through ball set Ben Seaton away and he managed to beat the onrushing keeper to the ball before calmly finishing into the empty net. 2-1 Aylesbury

The travelling United fans had barely finished celebrating when Aylesbury notched a third. Anthony Ball got in on the act as he burst forward from right back, saw his initial fierce drive well saved but was on hand to divert the rebound into the net. 3-1 Aylesbury

Goal times of 23, 24 and 26 minutes and now a game transformed!

Things could have got even worse for Sevenoaks with United having chances to increase their lead before the break. Some great trickery from Ibie gave Manu another shooting chance which was tipped over by Lee.

Ollie Hogg crashed a long range shot over the bar, whilst Jordan Jenkins should have done better when he headed over from close range after Jake Bewley’s corner kick was forced back across goal by Wood.

The half ended with Lee making yet another good save to deny Manu as the Ducks left the pitch happy with their lead, but, once again, knowing they could have been out of sight in the tie.

Half-time: Sevenoaks 1-3 Aylesbury

Sevenoaks would have been pleased at the opportunity to regroup at the interval, but the game continued to be wide open in the second half in what would have been a great watch for the neutral.

With Oaks on the front foot early, Aylesbury took the opportunity to use their pace on the counter attack - with Ibie riding a number of challenges on a 52nd minute break before screwing a shot wide across goal.

At the other end Ainsley Everitt then did similar as he brought the ball past several defenders before firing in an effort that crashed behind off the woodwork; not the final time of the evening the frame of the goal was to be troubled, either.

End to end as the game was, play was quickly switched to Sevenoaks on the defence with Ibie in behind the defence again and this time able to square for Ty Deacon whose wait for a first Aylesbury United goal continues as he saw his shot well saved by Lee.

Sonny French became the next man to be denied by the inspirational Lee when another swift counter attack saw Manu bring the ball forwards before finding French whose shot was blocked.

The common theme of all these Aylesbury chances were that they were on the counter attack, and it was clear to see that the tide was turning and Sevenoaks pressure was building.

Aylesbury manager Ben Williams took the opportunity to bring on Mark Riddick in an attempt to sure up the midfield but two minutes later the Oaks hit the woodwork again when Sawyer came inside and was unlucky as he tried his luck with a 25-yard drive.

Some slick interplay down the left ended with the ball being cross low to Tyrell Richardson-Brown whose instant shot from 7-yards was miraculously saved by the leg of Jack Hopwood.

Less than a minute later and the Oaks finally had the goal they’d been threatening when former Crystal Palace youngster De Silva rifled a shot into the bottom corner giving Hopwood no chance. 2-3

Aylesbury responded with further defensive reinforcements in the shape of Dave O’Connor but still struggled to initially stem the tide. On 74 minutes De Silva spurned a glorious chance for his hat-trick and an equalising goal when the ball was cut back to him but he blazed horribly over from just inside the box.

That was the crucial chance, and from that point on the game settled down as the Ducks managed to organise and re-shape effectively following their substitutions, and ultimately keep Sevenoaks at bay.

There was one more ‘heart in mouth’ moment in the 89th minute when Ryan Fowler lashed in an effort from 25-yards which could have gone anywhere as it deflected off his own teammate Richardson-Brown, but thankfully flew wide.

Finally, progress was secured and the game made safe, as the clock ticked onto 90. Goalkeeper Patrick Lee twice made stellar saves from Deacon and French, but when the ball rebounded off him Manu sent it back goalwards and it just had the legs to trickle over the line and end the tie. 4-2 Aylesbury

Full time wasn’t long in following, leaving Aylesbury to jubilantly celebrate making it through to the next round of the FA Trophy for only the third time since returning to the competition in 2013, and look forward to a first ever trip to Haywards Heath on 26th October.