1st November. AFC Dunstable 5 Haverhill Borough 2 (FA Vase 1st Round)
AFC Dunstable moved into the 2nd Round Proper of the FA Vase for the 2nd time in their history. They welcomed Haverhill Borough from the Eastern Counties League Division One and apart from a 15 minute spell of the 2nd half, AFC were pretty much comfortable.
From the game midweek at St Margaretsbury, Newman Carney and Chris Francis picked up knocks, so sat out the game. It was satisfying to see Jonathan Cooper back in the squad after his injury, as he took his place on the bench. With top scorer Jermaine Hall due back in a couple of weeks, manager Steve Heath is keeping his fingers crossed that no more injuries are forthcoming.
That was soon short lived, as a recalled Louis Porcelli picked up an injury in the warm up and had to be replaced by Jamie Head. The home side opened up at quite a pace, as Haverhill's back line found it hard to come to terms with 6"7' Leon Simpson. On a couple of occasions, Moses Olaleye broke down the left but his inviting crosses were not converted. The opening goal was coming and on 14 minutes Taishan Griffiths was on hand to give AFC the lead. The hosts continued to probe and soon doubled their lead when Griffiths was once again in the right place to grab his 2nd on the half hour.
The visitors were now finding it hard to contain AFC wide men Jimmy Hartley and Griffiths. With half time approaching, a neat move resulted in Enzo Silvestri finishing off the move by lobbing the keeper.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 3 Haverhill Borough 0
Looking to push on and finish the game, AFC were awarded a penalty when Hartley was fouled. Simpson stepped up and put away the spot kick on the hour. If AFC thought it was all over, Haverhill had other idea's. They suddenly came to life and pulled a goal back on 65 minutes. They continued to press and when they made it 4-2 with 10 minutes left, an uneasy feeling started to creep in. As they pushed everyone into attack, from a corner AFC cleared the ball and as Olaleye rounded their keeper on the half way line, he released Marcus Campbell, who had the whole pitch to run unchallenged to make it 5-2 in the dying embers of the game.
AFC manager Steve Heath was happy to progress " to get through 3 rounds of a national competition in my first full season at AFC is very satisfying. To lose 2 very influential players like Carney and Francis late on was not the perfect preparation but hopefully I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel, with all the injuries I have had to cope with. He continued " apart for the 15 minute spell Haverhill had in the 2nd half, I thought we pretty much dictated the game and deserved to go through"
AFC Team: Head. Mills (Bishop 60). Warne. Biggadike. Cashman. Griffiths. Hartley (Campbell 72). Bufano. Silvestri. Olaleye. Simpson (Harvey 72). Subs not used: Cooper. Porcelli.
Crime Count: Head. Biggadike. Olaleye. Bishop. (All yellow cards)