21st November - Stotfold 1 AFC Dunstable 3 (FA Vase 2nd Round)
Three well taken goals, saw AFC progress to the 3rd Round of the FA Vase for the 2nd season running. The scoreline could have been even more emphatic, as they had 3 more goals ruled out for tight offside decisions.
After 16 games apart, BJ Christie and Jermaine Hall were finally re united up front, as they shared the goals between them. Also added to the striking potential was Nathan Frater. He made his debut after his release from St Neots Town.
The visit to Roker Park was always going to be a tough encounter. The Eagles were on a 7 match unbeaten run and could have been deemed as slight favorites on current form. On a pitch that could be best described as sticky and uneven, it was going to be very hard to play any type of slick football on it.
The visitors came close to opening the scoring after only 4 minutes. From a Newman Carney free kick, it found Terry Griffiths at the far post. His strike at goal was scrambled away for a corner. Next up was a ping pong of headers at the Stotfold goal as 2 of them were blocked, then Brandon Carney put the 3rd attempt wide on 13 minutes. Five minutes later a slick move by the AFC strikers saw the home keeper save well.
The breakthrough came on 21 minutes, when Christie picked up the ball on the edge of the box and curled in a 20 yard effort. With Hall and Christie linking up well, when Charlie Gorman picked out Hall, he finished with aplomb to double AFC's lead. It nearly was 3-0 when a lovely slick move saw Newman Carney pick out Christie who slotted home. Carney though was six inches offside.
Stotfold were finding it hard to create any type of chances. When they did build up any play, their strikers kept being caught offside. There was still time for Hall to find the back of the net again, but up went the linesman's flag.
Half time: Stotfold 0 AFC Dunstable 2
If AFC thought the job was done, the home side made a couple of changes and started to cope better with the pitch. With Mark Ellis starting to express himself, his slick play though was not matched by his teammates in the box. With 55 minutes elapsed, Christie latched onto a loose ball and lobbed the advancing keeper to make it 3-0.
Christie thought he had completed his hat trick six minutes later, but again the man with the flag decided to deny him. With the home team going all out to get back in the game. They pushed 3 upfront and were rewarded from a corner when Ellis headed home unchallenged.
Stotfold thought they could get something from the tie as they continued to battle for everything. They nearly reduced the arrears with 12 minutes left on the clock. As the AFC defence failed to clear their lines, a chance fell to Louis Taylor but AFC's keeper Ricky Perks frame denied him. After that effort most their shots were long range, which did not test Perks.
With 4 minutes of added time, Christie came so close to securing the matchball. From 2 yards out, somehow Stotfold's keeper Adam Harpur kept out his shot.
A happy AFC manager Steve Heath was pleased with the players application saying " after a couple of defeats in the league, it was good to see the players apply themselves today. Stotfold have been on a good run and were probably pretty confident today to get a result. We had to match their endeavour on a pitch which did no favours for both teams" he continued " while Stotfold worked so hard, three clinical finishes by Christie and Hall is the reason why I am so happy their partnership is back"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Bufano. B.Carney. Frater. Cashman. Christie. Gorman. Hall. Subs used. Griffith. Jones. Ryan. Subs not used. Turney. Silvestri
Goalscorers: Christie (21.55). Hall (32)