10th January - AFC Dunstable 0 Salisbury 3 (FA Vase 4th Round)
AFC's history making FA Vase run came to an end, at the hands of a very clinical and well organised Salisbury side form the Wessex Premier League. In front of a crowd of 512, it was the 3rd best AFC have attracted to Creasey Park after the 1100 for a Luton Town friendly and 565 against Dunstable Town when the development was officially opened. The visitors swelled the gate by bringing near on 350 supporters.
Three 1st half goals killed off any hope of the OD's having a say in the tie, but AFC boss Steve Heath thought at least 2 goals were avoidable.
Heath had some important decisions to make with his line up before the game. From the Biggleswade outing, he decided to bring back in Charlie Gorman, Brandon Carney and Nathan Frater. The unlucky players that dropped to the bench were Josh Humbert, Danny Jones and Ben Darby. On paper the team looked very strong and for the opening exchanges competed well against one of the favourites for the competition.
Only 6 minutes was on the clock, when a neat Frater strike was tipped over by Charlie Searle. The visitors were starting to show their calibre as they started to mount some attacks. Their forward line were very busy and you can see why they have scored 63 goals in only 18 league games.
With 17 minutes on the clock Salisbury took the lead. From a right wing cross Sam Wilson's quick feet in the box saw him coolly slot home. Their 2nd came 6 minutes later and was pretty much a carbon copy. This time though AFC should have cleared their lines, but the usual very dependable Jason Beck miscued his clearance and Wilson was on hand to secure his 2nd.
With half time approaching the killer 3rd goal came. From a corner, an unmarked Steve Walker headed towards goal. The ball seemed to slip through AFC's keeper Ricky Perks hands and into the net.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 0 Salisbury 3
Looking down the barrel of a gun for the 2nd half, at least AFC started to create some chances. The 2nd half was only 9 minutes old when Frater should have pulled a goal back. He was found at the far post unmarked but screwed his effort wide. Next BJ Christie came close but Searle denied him. Then on 59 minutes a flashing cross was just out of reach for the late arriving Jermaine Hall. A big talking point came on 62 minutes when Calum Brockway brought down Christie as he was about to break clear. Already on a yellow card, he escaped with just a free kick awarded against him.
The game was marred at the end when AFC's Beck received his 2nd yellow card and Salisbury's sub Tauren Roberts a straight red for man handling him. The game did have a few flash points, as Salisbury players harangued the referee at every opportunity from the 1st minute until the 90th.
Heath was dignified in defeat by saying " without doubt Salisbury are a very good side and deserved the win. What is frustrating for us, is that what a time in the season to be going through a loss of form and confidence. We have faced Luton Town and Dunstable Town in big cup ties and came through playing good football. At the moment we just cannot get going. On paper our team looks very very strong, with players who have won championships at Southern League level but at the moment cannot put my finger on the problem"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Beck. Cashman. B.Carney. Frater. Olaleye. Christie. Gorman. Hall. Subs used. Humbert. Crowys. Subs not used. Griffiths. Jones. Darby.