8th August - FC Broxbourne 0 AFC Dunstable 1
A tough encounter saw AFC leave the Borough of Broxbourne with all 3 points. The hosts who came up last season from Division One after 3 seasons away, looked like they had something to prove. AFC went into the game without Ricky Perks, Josh Humbert and Jason Beck who were all suspended. Jonathan Cooper, who picked up the man of the match award against Chalfont St Peter last Saturday, reported in injured.
It was a eventful day for AFC's Leon Cashman, as he could have notched a couple of headed goals in the 1st half, then ended up only playing an hour, when he denied Broxbourne's Ryan Wade a goal scoring opportunity and seeing red.
The visitors welcomed back some old faces into the starting X1. The clubs record goalscorer BJ Christie was back in the ranks as was Courtney Massay and Dale Turney. Debuts were given to keeper Gary Malone, centre back Terry Griffiths and midfielder Danny Jones.
AFC opened up by having the majority of the ball and a great strike by Jones was superbly saved by the home keeper. He was in action again as he denied Christie. As mentioned before, twice from corners Cashman ghosted in at the far post but could not get his headers on target.
With the defence of AFC looking pretty firm, Malone was having a comfortable half, as he only had to watch long range efforts sail either high or wide. The deadlock was finally broken, when Newman Carney released his brother Brandon down the left wing. He swung in a dangerous cross and as the home side failed to clear their lines, Jermaine Hall was on hand to slot the ball home on 22 minutes.
Both teams continued to battle for every ball, but the hosts just could not turn their possession into goals.
Half time. FC Broxbourne 0 AFC Dunstable 1
The 2nd half opened up as AFC seemed pretty comfortable and denied anything Broxbourne could throw at them. That was to change on the hour with Cashman's red card. AFC had to reshuffle their defence, as Jones dropped back into left back and the older Carney slotted in at centre back.
To be fair to the new back line, they coped very well with everything thrown at them. Even up the other end, chances were being created to stretch their lead, as Hall came mighty close to making it 2-0.
With giving away silly free kicks in their own half, AFC had to defend right up to the end and they nearly paid for them. One more free kick was chipped in and Boro's skipper struck the crossbar with his header in the last minute.
So an opening 3 points on a hot day and AFC boss Steve Heath was happy with his teams attitude, he said " we had to grind out the result in the end but it would have been a different story if we would have taken our chances in the 1st half" he continued " we have had an unbeaten pre season and the confidence was high, but it just goes to show when you play a competitive game what a difference it can be. I felt we were pretty comfortable for most of the game, as Gary in goal was not really tested"
AFC Team. Malone. Massay. Carney (N). Griffiths. Cashman. Carney (B). Jones. Olaleye. Hall. Turney. Christie. Subs used. Bufano. Byron. Subs not used. Griffiths. Ryan. Baird.
Scorer: Hall (22)