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Match Report

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Having recently scored a few late goals of their own – including the weekend winner against Daventry Town – Aylesbury received a taste of their own medicine as they threw away a match-winning position by conceding twice in the last five minutes at Berkhamsted.

Manager Ben Williams made two changes to his starting lineup with James Weatherill in goal and Ty Deacon up front both recalled, and it was the unfortunate former who was caught dwelling on the ball to gift the hosts the 14th minute opener.

Up to that point a confident looking Ducks had been flying with their quick passing and movement causing the Comrades no end of trouble. There best opening came in just the fourth minute a quick throw in found Jake Bewley who played the ball across goal where Lee Stobbs’ effort was saved, before Ty Deacon’s follow up was kicked off the line.

Max Hercules then sent a shot sailing over stranded goalkeeper Xavi Comas Leon, but it also cleared the crossbar after the winger had latched on to Deacon’s flick.

Berkhamsted first registered as an attacking threat a minute later when Danny Murphy’s ball to Eric Lopes saw him allowed to turn but only fire weakly at Weatherill from range.

Less than a minute later and the hosts were ahead. A pass back to Weatherill saw him keep possession too long, and the alert Lewis Toomey nipped in to charge down his attempted clearance and put his side ahead. 1-0 Berkhamsted

Another shaky moment for Weatherill soon followed when he lost a crossed free-kick from Lucas Kirkpatrick but just about recovered his composure to punch away when the ball was returned in his direction.

The Ducks tried hard to get back into the game with a Hercules curler and a Deacon volley going close, but the Comrades went closer still through Lopes who received a throw on the left, cut inside and unleashed a venomous drive which flew just over.

Another defensive mistake from Aylesbury then nearly led to a second Berkhamsted goal, but the tricky Alie Bangura couldn’t get a shot away, with Lopes’s low effort deflected wide past the post.

One of a number of free kicks awarded for handball gave Lewis Toomey another chance to double his side’s lead when the excellent Kirkpatrick took a pass from Bangura to set up his striker who had enough space to turn, but place his effort wide.

Instead, it was Aylesbury who took advantage of a free kick to level proceedings. The ball was played forward to Deacon who – full of confidence – advanced on the keeper before slotting a superb finish across him into the far bottom corner. 1-1

Half-time: Berkhamsted 1-1 Aylesbury

With the scores level the game looked to be wide open, but Berhamsted were forced into a half-time change with Ryan Neufville replacing Charlie Briggs – both teammates at Biggleswade United last season before moving with manager Chris Devane to Berko in the summer; Briggs sustaining injury just before the break having collided in mid-air with his own player.

The half started with a flowing move from the hosts as Kirkpatrick moved the ball quickly to Bangura, who in turn fed Lewis Toomey but he skewed the low cross wide at the near post.

Dave O’Connor then became the fourth Aylesbury man to end up in the book on a night (four from Berkhamsted also) on what had hardly been a fiery night. It proved to be his last action as he was replaced by Liam McCrohan who came on for his debut at centre back shortly afterwards.

The home side came pressed again and although Lopes was dispossessed the ball ran for Kirkpatrick who drifted past a number of defenders before drawing a good save out of Weatherill.

On 69 minutes a dangerous free kick was flicked wide by Sam Doolan, and there was more trouble for United when substitute Jordan Balogun’s first involvement was to raid down the right and cross to Lewis Toomey who put wide.

If Berkhamsted’s opener had been against the run of play, then Aylesbury going ahead on 77 minutes was equally surprising. A free kick delivered from the right flank skimmed off Mark Riddick’s head and eventually fell to Ty Deacon who crashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net. 2-1 Aylesbury

Now, all United had to do was keep their composure at the back and make the short journey back up the A41 celebrating 12 points from their opening 12, and when Hercules had another opening that he put high and wide it looked like the Ducks would keep the pressure on.

Sadly, the Ducks hit the self-destruct button – and when a striker of Lewis Toomey’s pedigree is afforded chance after chance, chances are eventually he’ll take one… or two, as the case was.

With 86 minutes on the clock Neufville escaped down the right, and this time Lewis Toomey turned in his low cross at the near post. 2-2

The dust had barely settled on that when, two minutes later, Toomey struck again to complete his hat-trick and break Aylesbury hearts. 3-2 Berkhamsted

With no time remaining there was to be no comeback, and United’s perfect start to the league season was brought to an end, whilst Berkhamsted were able to celebrate their own first league win of the campaign.

Aylesbury won’t have to wait long for a chance to bounce back, as they make the journey to Coleshill Town and a ground which has happy memories for the Ducks having scored six there back in January.