Debutants fire Ducks to opening day win

Tony Joyce
Tony Joyce

Aylesbury United bagged an opening day win for the first time in three years as two debutants both scored in a 2-1 away victory at Potters Bar Town on Saturday.

Eoin Casey was first to strike when he needed just four minutes to open his Aylesbury account and the visitors maintained that lead through to half-time, however Jerry Maja pulled Potters Bar level on 69 minutes and the game appeared to be heading for a draw before Alex Collard netted six minutes from time to get Tony Joyce’s side off to the perfect start.

Joyce named five new faces in the starting line-up and it was one of these who grabbed the early opener. The ever-reliable Paul Edgeworth flicked on a left sided throw on and Casey needed no invitation to try his luck, catching goalkeeper Mike Underwood wrong-footed with a low shot from range that trickled into the net.

At the other end, Ducks keeper Alex Tokarczyk flapped at a cross but the home striker could only hook the ball over an empty net, while several long-range efforts failed to test the visiting goalkeeper.

For Aylesbury, Collard headed well over the bar from a corner before a neat passing move on 26 minutes ended with Shaun Owens striking a fierce shot straight at Underwood.

The home side gradually wrestled control as the half wore on with Evandro Delgado and Charlie Nelson both looking dangerous before Ben Bowditch wasted a glorious chance to level as United retained their lead through to the interval.

The second half began in brighter fashion for the Ducks when Owens’ fine through ball released another debutant Taylor Collins but he chose to shoot instead of pass and his tame effort was easy for Underwood to deal with.

Owens then went close with a long range attempt as Aylesbury remained in the ascendancy before Edgeworth fired over when well placed on two separate occasions.

Sonny French almost made an instant impact when he was introduced midway through the half, however his curling shot went just over and instead it was Potters Bar substitute Jerry Maja who needed little time to make his mark on his debut when he finished well following a through ball.

A second substitution for the Ducks saw Stacey Field replace Edgeworth in attack and he followed suit by soon making a telling contribution, finding Adcock in space with a square pass but his shot was comfortably held.

The last ten minutes of the game saw proceedings more open than they had been at any other point, and a foray forward by the hosts saw Jack Lyons’s shot charged down, with Bennett firing in the follow up straight at the goalkeeper.

It was Aylesbury who found the breakthrough on 84 minutes, though, when Collard majestically headed home French’s pinpoint free kick delivery.

The Scholars nearly grabbed an equaliser for a second time when the explosive Maja fired in a snapshot out of nowhere that swerved viciously in the air, Tokarczyk doing well to get enough behind it and field the ball.

In stoppage time, the long-serving Ashley Harrison-Baker crashed a shot over as the ball dropped to him, but Tokarczyk wasn’t to be troubled again and United were able to celebrate a hard earned win to get their season off to a pleasing start.

The Ducks are in action again on Wednesday when they welcome Bedford Town to the ASM Stadium.