A late strike from Bruno Brito earned Aylesbury United their first league win since November as they shocked title-chasing St Ives Town 1-0 away from home on Saturday.
United visited high-flying St Ives on the back of the disappointment of being knocked out of the Red Insure Cup in midweek by Potters Bar, but they made amends with a win that was as crucial as it was unlikely.
The Ducks are now back outside the Division One Central relegation zone, albeit only by a point.
Manager Glyn Creaser made two chances to the starting line-up, Shaun Owens and Greg Williams restored to the team, and Aylesbury matched St Ives in a scrappy opening.
Ben Seymour-Shove looked threatening for the home side, twice having dangerous crosses cleared, but the game’s first real chance fell United’s way when good work by Jake Bewley and Sonny French saw the ball laid into the path of Tyrone Taylor, whose long-range effort missed the target.
In reply, Jordan Jarrold threaded a fine through pass to Danny Watson but the home side’s top scorer dragged his shot wide, while Steve Gentle planted a header straight at Ducks goalkeeper Zaki Oualah.
The Ducks then ended the half on top and wasted two good chances to take a lead into half-time as French missed the target after advancing into the penalty area before Brito’s headed narrowly wide and the half ended goalless.
St Ives made a bright start to the second period and missed a couple of half chances but it was far from all one-way traffic as first Lea Coulter and then Brito came close for United.
The game continued to be dominated by just half chances with neither goalkeeper overly worked, although Oualah had to be alert to save from Phil Draycott.
As time ticked away, both sides appeared resigned to playing out a stalemate but then came the crucial moment.
Substitute Reece Cameron did exceptionally well to win the ball for United and his cross to the far post was not dealt with by the defence, leaving Brito to slam the ball home from inside the six-yard box to give the Ducks a precious lead.
There was still time for St Ives to force a draw and they pushed forward in a nervous final few minutes, but it was the Ducks who really should have had a second when Brito’s shot lacked both power and direction when he was clean through.
When the final whistle was eventually blown, Aylesbury’s players and fans celebrated a famous win and one that couldn’t have been anticipated with St Ives going down to just their fifth defeat of the season.
Aylesbury host Barton Rovers this weekend.