SLD1E; New manager begins ascent on Moles mountain to climb

Saturday 20th October 2018

Aylesbury v Peterborough Sports

Southern League Division One East

Heywood Way

K.O. 3.00pm

Aylesbury FC saw a managerial change this week as Scott Reynolds stepped down with Paul Bonham taking charge for the interim, and a baptism of fire awaits as his squad host third placed Peterborough Sports at Heywood Way on Saturday. Whilst the Moles look for the first win in eight, Sports are flying high with four wins and two draws in their opening six league games, although they have not won in their last four games in all competition & haven’t tasted league success since the first of September, however this will be a stern test for Aylesbury as they line up for the first time under the new manager.

Paul Bonham

This week Sports Shots caught up with Paul to ask how the last week has been:

It’s been a crazy week so far, getting over the disappointment of going out of the FA Trophy last weekend to then hear the sad news that Scott had stepped down. We’ve had a positive chat with the committee and a great training session on Tuesday night, we are now focusing on getting ready for a very tough fixture against Peterborough Sports

And is this a long term appointment for the new boss?

At this moment in time we have been appointed to settle the ship after the weekend, going forward any decisions will be made by the committee

For anyone who doesn’t know Paul Bonham, what is his footballing history?

So I’ve been involved with coaching & managing for the last four years now, three of those have been at Aylesbury FC. I started with the under eighteens development side & then assisted former managers Davis Haule & Danny Gordon in the first team set up, in between this I spent half a season with Tring Athletic which was a great experience. Last season I was coaching at the Oxford United academy for whom I am still doing a few sessions this year as well as being involved here. On the coaching side I am near completion of my UEFA B qualification

We asked Paul how good a job has Scott done in his time at the club:

Scott in my opinion did a very good job here, considering he started with three or four players from last year’s squad, it’s been a total rebuild which has been really challenging

So will there be any immediate changes to the squad?

Matt Moran & I have been working really hard to communicate with the players and we are really pleased that currently the squad has stuck together. With regard to bringing in new faces we have been speaking to some clubs regarding availability of certain players but nothing has been confirmed as yet. I’m really pleased that Phil Duffy, Lucy Hume & Phil Cave have also decided to stick around, all of these have been fantastic this season

So will there be any changes to training or playing methods?

Currently we will be keeping the same schedules from Scott’s reign, playing style and training methods will change but it has to be a slow process otherwise it might have a negative effect on the team and possibly results if we change things overnight

And what about Saturday’s opponents?

Very tough game for us this weekend but our best performances have come against the top sides this season. We have done our research on them & have a good idea on how they will approach the game so the management team & I have the job to make sure the team is fully prepared for the weekends match

Finally, we asked Paul how difficult he thinks it will be to get his side up the league table:

We are under no illusion that it will be a difficult task to climb up the league table as this has to be the most competitive league the club have been involved in for the last three years, but this squad is ready for the challenge ahead & I’m confident we can start picking up some points, it is very close and just one win could catapult us up the table by five or six places

Sports Shots would like to thank Paul for his time this week

SLP; Commercial director proud to have made his Mark on his boyhood club

Saturday 20th October 2018

Banbury United v Royston Town

Southern League Premier Division

Banbury Community Plant Hire Stadium

K.O. 3.00pm

Banbury United host Royston Town this Saturday at the Banbury Community Stadium and with no league win in their last four games will be looking to bounce back against the side they took four points off last season. However, Royston currently sit fifth in the Southern League Central Division table two places above their hosts, and have won five of their last six league games whilst the Puritans will be looking for their first league win in five. The eight league places from third down to tenth are separated by just four points, meaning wins at this stage are vital for those with play-off aspirations.

Mark Allitt

This week Sports Shots decided to catch up with a man whose work behind the scenes at Banbury United may go unnoticed to some but is a vital cog in the running of the club. We caught up with the nattiest of dressers on match day Mark Allitt, and welcoming him to Sports Shots first of all, we asked what exactly he is responsible for and how he got involved in the first place:

Well thank you for asking me for this interview! I’m the commercial director of the club and oversee all our sponsorship activity, commercial revenues and internal fund raising. I liaise with all our sponsors on a daily basis and I’m actively involved with the clubs ‘United in the Community’ project. I have also just started to look at the promotion of our ‘Spencer Clubhouse’ and how we can maximise income there.

I became a director back in August 2015 when the club became supporter owned, I’ve been a fan since I was a little boy coming down to see games with my uncle. I was secretary of the supporters club prior to the takeover and worked with Steve Barlow and James Mathie at Supporters Direct to get the process concluded

Is the role hard work, enjoyable or stressful?

I’m just proud to be part of the Banbury United revival, the club has been a sleeping giant since the heyday of the seventies & to see the club starting to develop is really satisfying for me as someone who has been a fan since a young age. We have a long way to go in terms of where we want to be but we’re on an upward trajectory and we are forming a really solid club. The enjoyment comes from seeing all that’s happening and most importantly seeing people happy & enthused about our club, the fans deserve some success as they’ve been through a lot prior to the supporter take over three years ago

How does today’s squad compare to those previously, and which players stand out?

We have some very talented & exciting players here, I’ve obviously seen so many players at Banbury over the years it’s difficult to compare, but the current team is pushing hard to get us close to the top five and to the next level; Banbury United haven’t done that for many years on a consistent basis and that’s the challenge the current squad has. Lee Henderson has shown his class since joining us from a level above, we have invested in the team & brought in Greg Kaziboni, Steve Diggin, Giorgio Rasulo and now John Mills in the attacking area’s so it is exciting times. Some of the current team have been with us since the takeover like Ricky (Johnson), George (Nash) & Jack (Harding), it’s important to form a nucleus of players and build around it

How does Mark feel the summer league reshuffle has worked out?

We just had to roll with the punch really, we had to deal with an awkward situation in the summer having been placed in the Southern section and then moved to the Central section late on. We had planned for the South, so to be moved so late in the day was frustrating, Mike (Ford) had to deal with the squad issues but primarily as a club we just had to get on with things and I wouldn’t say much has changed at all. The travel is less for us and I think it’s helped with our attendances

How far are the club away from promotion to the next level, and would the club be able to cope?

In my opinion the team has the talent to beat anyone on the day and we can certainly challenge the top five positions. This is our third season back at step three in the non-league pyramid, and personally I think Chippenham are a good bench mark for us, they built a solid club at this level and were always in the mix for the play-offs, they got stronger & stronger before making the step up and are currently doing very well in the regional National League level. This club has never played at step two and it would be a truly historic moment for the club and the town.

I think we would cope well because Banbury in the National League would be a big animal in my opinion, Banbury United v Stockport County for example would attract a crowd of well into four figures

Onto Royston this week, does Mark feel the club do better against familiar teams or those they nothing about?

I’m not sure it really matters to be honest, at non-league level team line ups can change so very quickly from match to match, let alone from season to season. Royston are a solid outfit and are carrying on from where they left off last season, I expect another tough game as they all are at this level. Our boys will need to be up for it, but are more than capable of getting the three points

We asked Mark to think back and pick his best eleven players to have played in his time:

Like I said I’ve been a fan since I was a young boy so this would be the team to span my time as a supporters and a director:

1 Keith Baker

2 Ady Fuller

3 Callum White

4 Pete Smith

5 Ian Bowyer

6 Terry Muckelberg

7 Donovan Gethfield

8 Zac McEachran

9 Andy Baird

10 Norman Sylla

11 Tommy Pearson

Finally, we asked if anyone has thought of getting involved at Banbury United FC, are there still opportunities for match day duties or sponsorship?

There are always avenues for people to get involved at this club. We have a fantastic loyal army of volunteers at BUFC, but we are always needing more help, especially as the club continues to grow. Steve Barlow is the best person to contact regarding volunteers but my number is 07503 162632 or email me at

Sports Shots would like to thank Mark for his time this week

UCLP; Swans front man convinced his team can be Dom-inant force this season

Saturday 20th October 2018

Newport Pagnell Town v Deeping Rangers

United Counties League Premier Division

Willen Road

K.O. 3.00pm

Newport Pagnell Town face Deeping Rangers in league action on Saturday at Willen Road looking to build on last week’s success in the FA Vase, and get some points on the board again and more importantly some confidence going as their next five league games see them play sides in the top nine of the current UCL Premier Division table. A couple of cup games break up that sequence, but the squad will be sternly tested over the next run of games which include hosting top of the league high flyers Daventry, but this week’s opponents Deeping have only played six league fixtures so far due to their involvement in various cup competitions, and if they won their games in hand would go level with Daventry at the top of the league!

Dom Lawless

This week Sports Shots caught up with front man Dominic Lawless to ask what he feels the Swans mixed start to the season has been down to:

In all honesty I have no idea, we pretty much have the same squad as last year which did so well. We have had key players out with injuries and holidays but that’s not an excuse because the squad we have are more than capable of beating any side in this division, when we have players missing those who come in are just as good replacements

With the club currently sitting fifteenth in the league and fourteen points off Daventry, does Dom feel they can still be caught?

We believe we can put a really good run together & winning becomes a habit, with the fixtures we have coming up against teams at the top end of the table; if we can take points off them just as you can already see everyone is beating anyone it could all change in a month or so. We seem to play better against the better teams in the division apart from Rugby which was a game to forget!

We asked how the team spirit is in the dressing room at this stage:

The team spirit is the best, ask most of the lads that have played for Newport and they will all tell you the same, we have a good mix of Milton Keynes & Northampton lads who have made us a better team for sure over the last couple of seasons. Yes the lads talk about the stop-start to the season, and the gaffer has called a few team meetings because it simply isn’t good enough, we know we are underachieving & letting ourselves down as well as the club and the manager, but it is a long old season

How was the Vase game last week?

A great result, we played some great football with five players missing who most would of started but others stepped up to the task. The team we played were lively and they had a few decent players that caused us problems getting in behind, it was their biggest game in the clubs history so they were bang up for it, but luckily enough we got what we deserved in the final minute of the  game

Does Dom think the FA Vase is a priority now for the team?

Of course, after having that run to the quarter-finals two seasons ago which was unbelievable and a great feeling, yes we would like to go that far again, but the league is your bread & butter so hopefully with the Vase win last Saturday that can kick us on now in both league and cup

Which players have impressed so far this term:

I would have to say Michael Lyons for me, the lads energy levels are ridiculous, he’s everywhere on the pitch giving one hundred percent week in week out. He can play in most positions and has scored a few goals this season too

How has the season been for Dom Lawless so far?

It’s been a really frustrating start for me this season, I picked up a nasty injury before pre-season where I aggravated the ligaments in my ankle which meant I missed the whole of pre-season going into the start of the campaign. When I was fit to play I was back for one game then went on holiday for ten days so then had to wait for my chance again, but I’m having my best run in the team this season now and game by game I’m feeling fitter & I’ll be back to my old self in no time. My targets always thirty plus goals and to play as many games as possible to help the team as much as I can

Finally, we asked with the league campaign warming up this month, how difficult will it be starting with Deeping this week?

Very difficult, they are all good sides up at the top so it will be very tough, but if we turn up and put a shift in from one to eleven, play for one another, then I’m confident we will be fine, there is too much quality in this squad. We just need our confidence back, hopefully the winning run starts against Deeping on Saturday! COYS

Sports Shots would like to thank Dom for his time this week

SSMFL D1: Ath skipper looks ahead to Harefield trip

Sports Shots has spoken to Neil King as Buckingham Athletic will look to bounce back from their late midweek FA Vase defeat when they travel to play Harefield United tomorrow (Saturday).

Neil King

The Athletic skipper reflected;
The two Vase games had very mixed emotions throughout and at the end of each game. Going down to nine men and still grabbing an equaliser, to take it to a replay showed great character from the team and everyone including players fans and supporters were ecstatic. After a long 4-hour journey to Clacton on Tuesday we started excellently and raced into a 2-goal lead. We needed to manage the game better than we did in the second half and ultimately lost it at the end. Shows how football can change very quickly.
Athletic have changed manager over the summer and seen new signings arrive at Stratford Fields. King was quick to praise the new management team and players who have arrived.

I think the management/coaches have showed great professionalism since joining the club. Everything is done the right way and that can only be good for the players and the club. We have added some good players to the ones left from last season and we are just starting to see us really gel together.

The Athletic are enjoying a positive campaign and are still in the mix for both league and cup success this season, ironically like their neighbours who they are set to meet in one competition and are in the half of the draw to meet them in another.

The Berks and Bucks draw has seen us drawn against local rivals Winslow. They are on a very good run and we will need to be at our best to go through to the next round. Having good cup runs and winning always breeds confidence and that will only benefit our league campaign.

We obviously want to finish as high as possible in the league. We have 8 or 9 of next games at home, so it’s important we get as many points as possible on this run to push us up nearer the top.

In closing King wanted to make a few mentions.

Firstly I would like to say thank you to everyone at Sports Shots for everything they do for local football and sport.
Also thanks to The Carters, Marsdens and Seminerios and anyone else I missed for travelling to Clacton to support the team Tuesday.

SSMFL D1: Coles’ burning desire for Winslow to keep firing

Winslow United’s Sean Coles is slowly returning to the form and fitness he showed in his side’s excellent 2017-18 campaign.

Sean Coles

The talented winger picked up a nasty injury at the back end of last season, but after working hard on his fitness he is getting back to the levels he has consistently set.

For me, it’s been hard to get going this season due to injuries but I’m getting there.

United have won their two league games at Elmfields gate this week to go up to eighth. Paul Alleyne’s side have lost just once in twelve games in a run stretching back to their previous defeat on 14th August. They are also unbeaten in their last five outings since their FA Vase exit; six wins and a draw.

United are finding form in both league and cup competitions.

The Berks and Bucks is a good cup to be in, I think the squad we have is easily good enough to win it. The league cup I think we are the best team in it with lots of people fighting for there places which can only be good for us.

With an open league, United are winning their games in hand in a run that has seen them push up to eighth in the Spartan South Midlands League, division 1 table. The mood in the United camp is they feel they can be in the mix at the top come the end of the season.

Yeah, I’m feeling positive with the league, maybe we are 1 or 2 players away, but I think we have a good chance of winning it and I’m buzzing to play the big teams!

Coles closed by stressing an ever-present, who was helping the team each week was the club’s supporters.

It’s so good to have the support from the fans and that also helps the team massively.

United head to Rayners Lane on Saturday.

ESS CD1: Thame assistant talks Trophy success & Kempston visit

Assistant manager Stuart Blaik has spoken to Sports Shots as his Thame United side prepare to host Kempston Rovers in the Evo-Stik South, Central Division 1 on Saturday afternoon.

Stuart Blaik

United progressed into the next round of the FA Trophy after they defeated Larkhall Athletic on Tuesday evening thanks to a Marcus Mealing free-kick after just five minutes.

Victory sees Bristol Manor Farm next up at The ASM Stadium.

Blaik told Sports Shots:

We got through the tie and into the next round, which was the aim.

To keep back-to-back clean sheets is very pleasing and you always have a good chance of progressing if you are defending well. To not concede over the two ties was good for us and builds confidence.

The first tie saw the wind play a big part in the game. We probably edged it on chances but were happy to bring them back for a replay.

We started well on Tuesday and took a very early lead thanks to Marcus Mealing’s free-kick.

We missed a penalty, hit the post and bar and we should of been out of sight.

In the second half we retracted a bit, when we should have got on the front foot again, but I felt we deserved to go through.

Thame United – Picture courtesy of Mike Snell.

This Saturday, AFC Kempston Rovers are the visitors to The ASM Stadium and Blaik is looking forward to catching up with some old friends, despite the old adage of ‘not for the 90 minutes’.

We are looking forward to playing Kempston and catching up with their management team of Jimmy Stoyles, Flinny (Gary Flinn) and Joycey (Tony Joyce).


full of praise


Kempston management team

SSMFL; INANE RAMBLINGS FROM UP NORFF 18.10.2018 – South Midlands League update #21





The Views Expressed Are Solely My Own, Are Written Tongue In Cheek

And Should Be Taken With A Pinch Of Salt


Midweek once again produced a mixture of league and cup fixtures, the seventeen fixtures saw five league games plus FA Vase, League Cup and County Cup matches.





Red cards, late winners and penalty shoot-outs dominated the midweek games. Wodson Park saw their unbeaten league record ended and Hadley produced the only midweek giant-killing act. Following managerial departures recently both Leighton Town and Totternhoe have announced new appointments. Premier Division Leighton Town have turned to former London Colney pair Joe Sweeney and Paul Copson while Division Two side Totternhoe have appointed ex Dunstable Town boss Darren Croft.


16/17 October Stats: 17 games played of which 9 were home wins, 5 were away wins and 3 were draws.


Highest Midweek Attendances: 129 Histon v Colney Heath, 103 Leighton Town v Baldock Town and 88 Winslow United v Amersham Town.


THE BUILDABASE FA VASE First Round Proper Replays

Both Buckingham Athletic and Colney Heath failed to add to the SSML six representatives in the Second Round of the Buildabase FA Vase. Buckingham Athletic’s long midweek trip to the coast saw them race into a two goal lead before being pegged back shortly after the interval. Hosts FC Clacton then snatched victory with a last minute winner. Colney Heath found themselves 0-2 down at Histon after 26 minutes and their task was not made any easier when three players saw red (35 mins, 65 mins and 81 mins) in a bad tempered game. Full results and goalscorers are listed below.

3-2 FC Clacton v Buckingham Athletic (Lartey, Hampson, Andrade) / (Olawale [2]) Attendance: 83

2-0 Histon v Colney Heath (Brown, Gould) Attendance: 129



In the only midweek league action Potton United edged out London Tigers by the odd goal in three at the Hutchinson Hollow to move up to fourth place. The win means Potton United have now won their last three league games while for Tigers it was their third successive league defeat. Full result and goalscorers are listed below.

2-1 Potton United v London Tigers (Opponent Own Goal, Smail) / (Neto) Attendance: 78



(Sponsored by S & T Sales and Marketing)

Baldock Town secured the last quarter-final place in the Dudley Latham Memorial (Premier Division) Cup with a penalty shoot-out win at Leighton Town after the game had finished 1-1 at 90 minutes. Full result and goalscorers are listed below.

1-1 Leighton Town v Baldock Town (Baldock Town won 4-2 on penalties) (Dentice) / (Barnes) Attendance: 103



Hadley produced the best result in the First Round of the Herts Senior Challenge Cup when defeating Bostik League South Central Division side Ware 1-0. A stoppage time winner by Chris Blunden saw Leverstock Green overcome fellow SSML side Oxhey Jets 2-1 at Pancake Lane to set up a trip to Watford in Round Two. Elsewhere both Harpenden Town and London Colney suffered 0-3 home defeats again ex-SSML sides, the ‘Harps’ losing to St Margaretsbury while Colney lost out to last season’s SSML Premier Division runners-up Berkhamsted. Full results and goalscorers are listed below.

0-3 Harpenden Town v St Margaretsbury (Dash, Cowell, Webb) Attendance: 37

2-1 Leverstock Green v Oxhey Jets (Nugent, Blunden) / (Gibson) Attendance: 54

0-3 London Colney v Berkhamsted (Adams, Bateman, Mannion) Attendance: 20

1-0 Hadley v Ware (Bartram) Attendance: 32



No joy for the SSML sides in the Middlesex Senior Challenge Cup although North Greenford United FC can take some comfort of a draw against Bostik League South Central Division opponents Hanwell Town (Step 4) before losing on penalties. Edgware Town also faced Bostik League South Central Division opponents, Hayes & Yeading United but were blown away as the visitors were 5-0 up just after the hour mark. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

2-5 Edgware Town v Hayes & Yeading United (Sota, Hill) / (Evans [2], Jalloh, Toomley [pen], Farquharson) Attendance: 59

1-1 North Greenford United FC v Hanwell Town (Hanwell Town won 4-2 on penalties) (William) / (Unknown) Attendance: 48



No giant killing here as Premier Division Cockfosters saw off visiting Division One side Broadfields United 4-1 to book a trip to AFC Hayes in the Second Round of the Middlesex Senior Charity Cup. Fosters manager Ryan Wade netting a hat-trick. Full result and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

4-1 Cockfosters v Broadfields United (Wade [3], Aiba) / (Unknown) Attendance: 55



Wodson Park suffered their first league defeat when going down to the odd goal in three at Enfield Borough, the win takes Borough to second place in the table. Winslow United made it seven games without defeat with a 5-2 home win over Amersham Town in front of 88 spectators with Ryan Freshwater grabbing a hat-trick which included two from the penalty spot. Langford came from a goal down to win 3-1 at neighbouring Ampthill Town. On Wednesday night Park View’s trip to London Lions saw them squeeze past the hosts with an odd goal in three win. Full results and goalscorers (where known) are listed below.

1-3 Ampthill Town v Langford (Amediou) / (Rome [2], Bamford) Attendance: 38

2-1 Enfield Borough v Wodson Park (Ennin, Lawrence-Plentie) / (Unknown) Attendance: 20

5-2 Winslow United v Amersham Town (Freshwater [3] [2 pens], Cruse, Brindley) / (Saunders, Murphy) Attendance: 88

1-2 London Lions v Park View (Bolle) / (Price, Mensah) Attendance: 26



Hatfield Town put aside their poor league form with a battling display against Risborough Rangers to reach the quarter-finals of the Division One Cup with an 8-7 penalty shoot-out win after the tie had finished goalless at 90 minutes. Joining them in the quarter-finals are Hillingdon Borough following a 3-1 success over Buckingham Town, for the third successive game Kirk Herbert came off the bench to score, this time it was a late brace to take his tally to four goals since joining the club. Full results and goalscorers are listed below.

3-1 Hillingdon Borough v Buckingham Town (Herbert [2], M Greenidge) / (G Shrieves) Attendance: 20

0-0 Hatfield Town v Risborough Rangers (Hatfield Town won 8-7 on penalties) Attendance: 23



When you know your star striker is having a bad day at the office. A football belonging to a British church team has been found across the North Sea on the beach of a small island off the coast of Germany. Josh Holebon, manager of Stalham Baptist Church FC, in Norfolk, said it was a mystery how it got there. He received an unexpected email last month from Thomas Selinger, who lives in Freiburg and found the ball when visiting Baltrum Island. The ball was marked “Stalham Baptist” and he made contact online.


Typical. You wait 22 games for a competitive victory and then two come along in the space of four days. Having broken their duck in Armenia on Saturday, Gibraltar claimed a second competitive win by coming from behind to beat Liechtenstein in the Nations League. It is the first time the side, ranked 198th in the world, have scored more than once in any game. The result even gives them hope of qualifying for Euro 2020 through the Nations League – they are three points behind leaders Macedonia in Group D4. Gibraltar became a UEFA-affiliated team in 2013 and prior to Saturday’s result their only two wins – against Malta and Latvia – had come in friendly matches. They lost all of their Euro 2016 and 2018 World Cup qualifying matches, conceding 56 in the former and 47 in the latter.

SSMFL D1: Freshwater treble takes Winslow into the top eight

Ryan Freshwater scored a hat-trick to send Winslow United into the top eight of the Spartan South Midlands League division one last night.

Ryan Freshwater

Freshwater headed in Simon King’s right wing free kick to put United ahead after just four minutes.

Eight minutes later Harry Dalton won the ball on the byline before cutting back in field. His low cross saw Matt Cruse get across the first defender to glance his header into the far corner.

Winslow Utd v Amersham Town

The home side attacked again and from another set play a petulant kick off the ball saw the referee spot it and award a penalty. Freshwater stepped up to net his second of the night on 24 minutes.
Amersham pulled a goal back when they caught Winslow trying to play out from the back and capitalised.
In the 72nd minute Freshwater was hauled down as he attempted to attack a corner and he calmly stepped up to convert the resultant penalty and completed his hat-trick with Winslow’s fourth of the night.
Late on substitute Tom Brindley latched on to a through ball. He  went around the goalkeeper, before passing the ball over the line, despite the efforts of a visiting defender who slid into the net in trying to stop it.
Amersham scored again, thanks to some sloppy defending, but it was United who took maximum points and head up the table.

FA Vase 1 Rd: Late goal sees valiant Ath knocked out of the Vase at FC Clacton

Buckingham Athletic are out of the Buildbase FA Vase after a late 1st Round replay goal at FC Clacton last night.

Sam Olawale – Image by Nick Holder (Icnic Images)

Neil Griffiths’ side had a long midweek journey after Saturday’s extra time equaliser took the game to another decider.

Sam Olawale netted twice to put the visitors into a two-goal lead but FC Clacton pulled one back before half time.

In the second period the home side levelled three minutes after the restart before netting the winner just six minutes from time.

FAT; Aylesbury United 2-3 Mildenhall Town

Aylesbury United – 2

Mildenhall Town – 3

Aylesbury United bowed out of the FA Trophy at the first hurdle on Sunday as they were beaten at home by Mildenhall Town of the Bostik Isthmian League Northern Division by the odd goal in five. The visitor’s arrived with just two league wins under their belt this season and were behind after just eight minutes when Aaron Berry netted from close range, however a quick equaliser and two goals in the final eleven minutes of the first half saw the hosts shell shocked going into the interval; a goal back with over half an hour of the tie remaining saw United dominate the remainder but they could not break down a resilient Town backline, and left Aylesbury manager Ben Williams bemoaning complacency at the end of the game.

Berry was causing the away defence problems early on, a long ball down the right channel saw him peel off the shoulder of his marker but as he threatened to connect, out raced the Mildenhall keeper Gary Malone to smoother, but moments later a great run down the left from Benjamin Aghadiuno saw him fire the ball across the six-yard box where Malone got down to his left to save but he couldn’t hold on leaving Berry the simple task of tapping home. United continued to press and a deep cross from Ben Seaton found Max Hercules unmarked at the back of the box where he volleyed wide, and at this stage it looked comfortable for the hosts in the pouring rain.

The game changed on thirteen minutes when a throw to the away side was worked through to Abouhadje Kouassi between the Ducks defence and he drove at goal before despatching into the bottom right hand corner. The goal gave the visitors belief and a cross that wasn’t dealt with caused panic in the green ranks, eventually headed away by skipper Jack Wood but waiting outside the area striker Thomas Debenham volleyed towards the bottom corner where Ducks keeper Archie Davis had to throw himself away to his right to push away one handed.

Aaron Berry scored early for home side

At the other end another United attack saw a half clearance out to Sonny French who thumped past the left hand upright, Town missed a glorious chance in front of goal when Jarid Robson cleared the bar from six yards and Hercules blazed over from a cross as the chances swayed from one end to the other. Kouassi tore into the Aylesbury defence down the left again, leaving his marker behind his shot across goal took a deflection away from the target, then on thirty-four minutes they took the lead with a simple routine, a free kick inside the centre circle saw a flick on and unattended Robson had the easy task of powering his header into the bottom corner.

Mildenhall sensed more and attacked at will, another cross right into the goal saw Debenham go up against Matt Peake-Pijnen on the line and despite the height difference the defender managed to head clear, Davis then kept the scoreline intact when Town sprung the Ducks offside trap and Debenham was in on goal, as he went to chip past Davis he stuck out a hand and got enough contact to push the ball away from goal. With two minutes of the half left Peake-Pijnen got forward for the home side and drove a fierce shot past the post, but just a minute later Debenham found Robson in front of goal who lifted into the roof of the net to send the travelling support delirious going into the break. H/T: 1-3

The home side came out from the break and immediately demonstrated their intentions of getting back into the game, Hercules got away down the right and crossed into Aghadiuno whose looping header easily cleared the bar, before Ollie Hogg fed the winger who sent a fierce drive sailing over the top. On fifty-eight minutes they got the goal their played merited, when Peake-Pijnen sent a long pass downfield to French who drifted slightly away from goal before brilliantly driving low past Malone and inside the near post. Game on again!

Host of chances spurned late on

Almost immediately after the goal the scores should have been level when Hercules found space to exploit on the left but could only slice wide of the target, and Aylesbury dominated from here but without much threat to the Mildenhall goal frame. A Hogg corner was flicked on and at the back French thumped wide, before Hercules fed Aghadiuno who controlled on his chest and held up well ahead of laying off to Hogg who drove straight into the waiting gloves of Malone.

As time ran out a Jeanmal Prosper cross out on the right bounced across the area, Wood playing the perfect dummy stepped over leaving a clear shot for Berry who flashed the ball a couple of feet over the woodwork, the last chance feel to Aghadiuno when Hogg found him just inside the box, his angled drive again over the bar and away to safety for the visitors who progress in the competition. F/T: 2-3

Attendance: 142

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After the game Sports Shots spoke with Ducks manager Ben Williams: 

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