19th December - AFC Dunstable 0 London Colney 1
In the top of the table clash, it was the leaders London Colney that came out on top in a very tight close game. A well taken goal by Jack Woods was the difference between the 2 sides, but AFC will rue the close calls they had late in the game, as they searched for the equaliser.
AFC made one change from the FA Vase win, as Taishan Griffith came in for Brandon Carney. In front of their biggest league crowd of the season. the OD's could just not send home their supporters knowing they would be top at Christmas.
The visitors settled quicker into the game, as their midfield were getting the better of AFC's. Saying that the home team created the first real chance of the game. As Ricky Perks launched one of his trademark goal kicks, it eluded both Colney's centre backs and BJ Christie latched onto the ball. As he was about to pull the trigger, he lost his footing and the chance was gone.
The first yellow card of the game went to Colney's Lee Close, who was unlucky to pick up. As the referee had set the standard, when he committed a tough challenge on the half hour, which was more of a booking than his first, he only got a talking too. What was more frustrating, is that AFC's Charlie Gorman picked up a yellow, for pretty much a similar challenge 5 minutes later.
With both teams giving everything, it was becoming obvious that chances were going to be at a premium. The visitors worked a lovely move which released Woods. Perks though was quick off his line to deny him on 36 minutes. With half time approaching, the only game of the game came, when Woods pulled the ball out of the air and slotted home in one movement.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 0 London Colney 1
With AFC needing to go all out to get back in the game, an early substitution was made when Brandon Carney came on for Griffith.
They started to exert more pressure and pushed Colney back. With the visitors giving away free kicks in dangerous positions, their defenders dealt with anything AFC could throw at them. A major decision on 57 minutes saw Colney's keeper Charlie May coming to pick up a loose ball. He did not see Jermaine Hall come in from his blindside and nick the ball away. As both players clashed and fell to the ground, a good shout for a penalty was heard. Somehow the official deemed Hall was in the wrong and awarded May a free kick.
AFC boss Steve Heath threw on Moses Olaleye and Josh Humbert trying to draw level and when Leon Cashman's header was directed wide on 75 minutes, you felt it was not going to be AFC's day. That was guaranteed, when good work by Hall saw him cross for Brandon Carney but he could not get his sliding shot on target.
The home side were now forcing a few corners, but as before, the Colney defence dealt with them and as they cleared their lines, were very dangerous on the break. So with AFC throwing everything at the league leaders, they just could not get the breakthrough and the final whistle was blown to the joy of the visitors.
A frustrated AFC manager at the end of the game wanted to heap praise on his opponents saying " you have to give London Colney their due. To lose only one league game in a calendar year is a fantastic achievement and showed today they have some skillful players and great resilience when needed. I still think we probably deserve something from the game for the late pressure we applied but it was not to be" He did not want really want to comment too much on the referee only to say " he made some strange decisions"
There was a sort of silver lining for AFC today though, as both title contenders Berkhamsted and Hoddesdon Town went down to surprise defeats, so they did not reduce the arrears on the OD's.
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Beck. Griffith. Frater. Gorman. Christie. Cashman. Hall. Subs used. B.Carney. Olalye. Humbert. Subs not used. Jones. Malone