AFC Dunstable 1 Hitchin Town 4 (Pre season friendly)
The OD's unbeaten run in pre season friendlies came to an abrupt end, as Southern League Premier Division outfit Hitchin Town turned in a very slick and impressive performance especially in the 1st half as they raced into a 3-0 lead.
Both teams were missing some regular starters and in the case of AFC, skipper Moses Olaleye and keeper Ricky Perks were unavailable. Also missing from last seasons title winning squad was Nathan Frater who has left and joined Royston Town, Charlie Gorman, who has decided to take a season off and Bill Morgan still struggling with an injury.
While the visitors were on top for nearly all of the 1st half, the home side did gift them 2 goals which did not help their cause. They opened the scoring on 25 minutes when a speculative strike from Ben Walster seemed to have no threat, but somehow slipped under the AFC keeper.
Their 2nd goal though had class written all over it. Neat one two passing eventually saw Robbie Burns curl his shot into the top corner on 38 minutes. It was looking like AFC would be able to regroup at half time only 2-0 down, but again a defensive lapse crept in. Somehow Lewis McBride was left completely unmarked 5 yards from goal and turned in a Lucas Kirkpatrick cross.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 0 Hitchin Town 3
With AFC manager Steve Heath trying some players in different positions in the 1st half, he reverted them back to their usual ones after the break and the home side looked at bit more organised. Saying that though, Hitchin extended their lead only 6 minutes into the 2nd period when McBride notched his 2nd.
AFC had a good shout for a penalty on the hour, when Jermaine Hall got to the ball before keeper Zake Barrett and was bundled over but the match official saw it differently and gave the decision in favour of Barrett. Hall was finally rewarded when he was blocked off and a penalty was awarded. He stepped up and stroked the spot kick home with 15 minutes remaining. This would be AFC's only consolation and the Canaries easily saw out the game and a well deserved victory. On a special note, 16 year old Sonny Newbury Barr was rewarded for his 300 games for AFC at youth level to make a substitute appearance and well deserved senior debut.
Heath after the game commented "so far in pre season we have made more defensive mistakes in 4 games than we did all last season. Hitchin today showed what a threat they will be for the coming season and we just could not compete with their movement and fitness in the 1st half. We now face Hemel Hempstead Town on Tuesday night and with them being a National League South side, it will be another stern test but that is what pre season is all about"