2nd February - AFC Dunstable 2 Tring Athletic 0
With AFC's game being called off on Saturday, a Hoddesdon Town win saw them move into 2nd spot, so tonight was imperative to regain that position, against a dangerous opponent in Tring Athletic. The visitors have taken points off all the title challengers this season, having beaten Berkhamsted and Hoddesdon. They have also held leaders London Colney to a 0-0 draw.
It was 2 first half goals by defenders Newman Carney and Terry Griffiths that was the difference between the two sides in a tight contest. It would be fair to say, if Tring had a spearhead upfront, it could have been an uncomfortable evening for the OD's, as their approach play was very pleasing on the eye.
From the win at Wembley, Leon Cashman replaced the suspended Jason Beck and Jermaine Hall came in for BJ Christie. In the visitors ranks were ex AFC players Chris Mason and Lee Stobbs.
On a very chilly night, it seemed the locals decided to stay at home in the warm. The game though warmed up the sparse crowd that did turn up and were treated to a fabulous opening goal for the hosts. With 12 minutes on the clock, Carney curled in a superb free kick which found the top corner of Matt Evans net.
While Tring showed nice touches on the ball, they were finding it hard to make any impression on the OD's defence. The home side had a good shout for a penalty on 21 minutes when Hall was upended. The referee deemed the infringement was just outside the box. Tring defended the resulting free kick quite comfortably.
With half time approaching in 9 minutes, AFC doubled their lead from another set piece. This time a corner was swung in from Carney. Somehow Josh Humbert deviated the ball back to him and his 2nd attempt found a unmarked Griffiths who headed home.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 2 Tring Athletic 0
Hoping to capitalise on the 2 goal lead, AFC should have extended it on the hour. Good work by Nathan Frater saw him go by 4 Tring defenders. Instead of firing home himself, he set up Brandon Carney but his effort was well saved by Evans. That was Fraters last action of the game, as soon he was replaced by Christie.
The game was becoming pretty predictable, as the home side now seemed happy to see it out. Tring though upped the ante in the final exchanges and pushed for a consolation. The hosts defence though were in no mood to provide this and apart from a slight Ricky Perks fumble, he was able to clear his lines.
AFC's manager Steve Heath was pleased with the 3 points saying " tonight was always going to be a tough game, as on their day Tring can cause upsets. They are well organised but I was pleased that we gave them no hint of setting up an upset" he continued " we are now in the 2nd part of the season and coming into the business end. We just need to look after ourselves and keep working hard in training and take it onto the pitch"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Cashman. B.Carney. Gorman. Olaleye. Hall. Humbert. Frater. Subs used. Christie. Jones. Darby.
Scorers: N.Carney (12). Griffiths (36)