Defensive errors send Ducks crashing out of FA Trophy

Aaron Berry scores. Picture: Mike Snell
Aaron Berry scores. Picture: Mike Snell

Aylesbury United’s poor recent record in the FA Trophy continued when they were sent crashing out at the first time of asking by East Anglian opponents for the second season running.

Mildenhall Town were the victors on this occasion as Evans Kouassi cancelled out Aaron Berry’s seventh-minute opener before Jarid Robson’s quickfire double was too much to come back from despite Sonny French giving the Ducks hope in the second-half.

It also brought an end to United’s four-match winning run, and though the hosts would have merited a Tuesday night replay, their fate was sealed by some catastrophic defensive errors in the latter part of the first-half which saw the tie turned on its head.

Manager Ben Williams stuck to the old adage of not changing a winning team as Aylesbury went into the game unchanged, and they made a bright start when a quick throw found Benji Aghadiuno, who could only loft well over.

It took just seven minutes for the deadlock to be broken. On-loan Barnet striker Aghadiuno again showed his class throughout and when his low ball into the box was spilled by ‘keeper Garry Malone, Berry was on hand to rifle home his seventh of the season.

The Ducks were unable to build on their lead whe French’s shot was blocked in the area before Max Hercules volleyed over Ben Seaton’s return ball, and the home side were made to pay as Mildenhall wiped out their lead only five minutes after it had been established.

It was the first defensive calamity of the afternoon, as one ball swept forward cut out the entire Aylesbury back line allowing winger Kouassi to gallop free and calmly roll the ball past advancing home goalkeeper Archie Davis.

United posed a threat at times, with French volleying wide on 17 minutes, but they were uncharacteristically uneasy in defence and the better opportunities fell for Mildenhall, none more so than when Kouassi beat Prosper to tee up Robson, who shot over.

Ultimately, the game hinged on a 10-minute spell at the end of the first-half when the visitors struck twice.

A long free-kick was flicked on to the completely unmarked Robson, who had the easy task of nodding beyond Davis, and then two became three as the same man fired home after Tom Debenham had found too much space.

Aylesbury needed a big second-half performance and quickly set about closing down the two-goal deficit, Hercules picking out Aghadiuno with a cross but the big striker was just unable to get above the ball and headed over.

Seven minutes after the restart, and it fell to French to halve Mildenhall’s lead. The visitors made a mess of dealing with a long ball downfield, allowing French to run through and slot past the out of position Malone.

Seconds later and the Ducks could have been level through Hercules, who found himself in behind the defence but slashed wide on his weaker left foot.

There were further chances too but Mildenhall defended resolutely as Aghadiuno twice went close in stoppage-time, volleying wide and then drilling a powerful effort just over the crossbar.

The Ducks head to Coleshill Town in the league this weekend.