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Match report by David Figg

Aylesbury United's hopes of bouncing back from their 1-3 away defeat by FC Romania on Sunday 19th December were dashed as their return to action following the postponement of the local derby at home to Thame United on Monday 27th December saw them slip to a 1-3 away defeat by near neighbours and title-chasing Berkhamsted in their New Year's Day local derby in the Pitching In Southern League Division 1 Central in front of a 367 crowd at Broadwater on Saturday.

The Ducks had gone into the game in 10th place, level on points with 11th placed FC Romania but ahead on goal difference with both 8th placed Thame United and 9th placed Welwyn Garden City a point ahead with Thame narrowly ahead on goal difference.

Meanwhile, like Aylesbury, Berkhamsted went into the game on the back of a blank Bank Holiday Monday after their scheduled away game at Welwyn Garden City was postponed.

Results elsewhere the same day had left Berkhamsted in 2nd place, 3 points behind leaders Bedford Town (albeit with 2 games in hand) but 4 points ahead of 3rd placed AFC Dunstable with just a game in hand.

The first chance of note came Berko's way in the 12th minute when Lucas Kirkpatrick's right foot free kick from 23 yards just to the right of middle towards Ducks keeper Archie Davis' left hand post found former Duck Ryan Kinnane, whose header from 6 yards was deflected for a corner.

The hosts took the lead just into the 14th minute when Kinnane's low through ball found Cheyce Grant on the right and his deep cross to the far post found Tommy Smith, who rose above his marker to send his looping header from 6 yards across goal over a rooted Davis into his left hand corner. 1-0 Berkhamsted

A good chance came Aylesbury's way deep into the 15th minute when David Ozobia's diagonal ball found Lee Stobbs on the right, who took a touch to control before crossing low for Max Hercules who fired his left foot shot from 6 yards over the bar under pressure.

A possible opening came Berko's way just into the 23rd minute when a long ball over the top down the right was chased by Grant but the pass just had too much weight on it and the ball ran out for a goal kick.

The hosts went close just into the 22nd minute when debutant Ben Walster's left footed free kick from 25 yards on the right just in from the touchline towards the far post found Kinnane, who rose above Jordan Jenkins but sent his header from 9 yards over the bar to Davis' left.

United went close in the 38th minute when Sonny French's low diagonal ball from middle to right found Ezra Anthonio-Forde, who took a touch to control and cut in before seeing his low left foot shot deflected to reduce its power and the ball was held by debutant Berko keeper Cameron Groom.

The last chance of the half came Berko's way just into the 44th minute when Alie Bangura's low diagonal through ball from left of middle found the on-running Walster on the left, who ran towards the byeline before crossing to the in-running Grant inside the 6 yard box. However, the ball was a little too high for him and hit the back of his head before going over the bar.

Half-time: Berkhamsted 1-0 Aylesbury

United made a double change to start the second half with Ollie Hogg coming on to replace Mark Riddick and Gavin James coming on to replace Stobbs.

The first chance of note in the second half came United's way with exactly 9 completed minutes played when Hogg's low long through ball on the right found the on-running James, who took a touch to control and cut infield before squaring low to his left to Anthonio-Forde but he fired his powerful shot over the bar to Groom's right.

The Ducks had come out stronger for the second half and they went close again deep into the 56th minute when Jenkins' lob forward from just inside his own half on the right was partly cleared out to Hogg, who dragged his first time right foot angled shot from 23 yards on the right just wide of Groom's right hand post.

Berko made their first change in the 63rd minute when Lewis Toomey came on to replace Elliot Bailey.

Aylesbury went close in the 66th minute when Ozobia's right foot shot from the edge of the box on the right was superbly parried one handed to his right by Groom before the ball was cleared.

The Ducks made their final change in the 67th minute when Jaedon Phillips came on to replace Hercules.

The visitors went close in the 70th minute when Jake Bewley's low through ball on the left found Phillips, who took a touch to control and cut infield before squaring low to his right to French. He took a touch to take the ball to his right before dragging his low right foot shot from 23 yards wide of Groom's right hand post.

Berkhamsted went close deep into the 73rd when a long ball over the top through the left of middle found Toomey who beat Jack Wood as the Ducks captain slipped and ran on before firing his right foot shot from the left hand corner of the D wide of Davis' left hand post.

Another chance came the hosts' way in the 79th minute when a cross from the right found Toomey at the far post, who sent his shot from a tight angle back across goal and past Davis' left hand post.

Berko went close again in the 80th minute when, from Walster's corner from the right into the middle, a scramble ensued before the ball eventually bounced to former DuckJordon Frederick, whose first time right foot shot from 12 yards was blocked.

The hosts made their second change in the 81st minute when James Verney came on to replace Grant.

A great chance came Berko's way right at the end of the 82nd minute when a counter-attack saw a good through ball find the on-running Verney on the right, who beat his man and ran towards the byeline before crossing for the in-running Toomey who, with the goal at his mercy, somehow fired his low first time right foot shot from 6 yards wide of Davis' left hand post when he should have scored.

Then in the 86th minute, it was 2-0 when the hosts broke out and good low diagonal through ball from inside their own half found Bangura on the left. He took a touch to control before sending a low forward ball to Toomey who fired his first time right foot shot from 15 yards through Davis' legs into the centre of the net. 2-0 Berkhamsted

It was 3-0 deep into the 88th minute when Daniel Akubuine's forward header from halfway between the edveof his own box and the halfway line found Toomey, who took a touch to control before sending a chipped diagonal ball to Bangura on the left. He took a touch to control before cutting back inside and sending his right foot chip from 12 yards inside the left hand corner of the box high into the centre of the net. 3-0 Berkhamsted

Then after 2 minutes 30 seconds of added time, Aylesbury pulled a consolation goal back when Phillips' corner from the left to the near post was headed out by Adam Watkins from inside the left hand corner of the 6 yard box. The ball fell to French, whose first time dinked ball forward from 25 yards out found Jenkins 14 yards out, his first time low diagonal ball to his right found the unmarked Anthonio-Forde 7 yards out with his back to goal. However, he took a touch and turned before firing his low left foot shot into Groom's left hand corner. 1-3

There was just enough time for Berko to kick off again before the final blast of referee Daniel Simpson's whistle 3 seconds after the restart brought the game to a close.

It hadn't a particularly good performance by Aylesbury in their first game for 2 weeks and they will be hoping to bounce back quickly when they entertain 6th placed Welwyn Garden City at The Meadow on Wednesday night (5th January), kick off 7.45pm.