6th August - Uxbridge 1 AFC Dunstable 2
With their first ever game at Step 4, AFC took the field at Honeycroft to compete in the Southern League Division One Central. The club have come a long way in a short period of time, to go from Step 7 to 4 in 8 years.
It has though not been all plain sailing for the OD's boss Steve Heath as he commented " I was not expecting to only have 8 of my squad from last seasons final game to be available today. So much has happened in the summer, of which I did not see coming"
On a sweltering hot day just a few miles from Heathrow Airport, the visitors had the better of the 1st half but Uxbridge upped the ante in the 2nd half, as AFC held on for the win.
The visitors opened up the brighter as Jermaine Hall drew a good save from Paul McCarthy after only 5 minutes. Next up AFC's Ricky Perks was called into action push away a strike from Thomas Anthony. The opening goal of the game came with only 10 minutes on the clock. Good work from Brandon Carney saw him pick out Tom Silford, who cut inside and found the back of the net.
Perks was once again called into action, as he needed to be at his agile best to save from Wayne Carter. AFC still felt they could get a 2nd as they looked dangerous on the break. They did double their lead when Hall picked up the ball just inside the box to finish well on the half hour.
Half time: Uxbridge 0 AFC Dunstable 2
With Uxbridge making a couple of changes at the break, they settled quickly into the 2nd period and looked alot more dangerous. AFC though could have extended their lead, when Hall tested McCarthy again who saved well.
The home side reduced the arrears on the hour. With AFC failing to clear their lines, the ball came back into the danger area and Carter had a free header to score.
It was now time for Heath to make his first substitution, as Uxbridge were starting to get the upper hand. He took a chance on naming Leon Cashman on the bench, as he was nursing an injury. Knowing his experience would be invaluable, he took off Hall, who had been clattered by McCarthy in the 1st half and picked up a knock on his hip.
AFC started to give away silly free kicks in dangerous areas, as they tired and that gave the home side impetuous as they searched for the equaliser. On a few occasions Courtney Massay and Jason Beck made great last ditch tackles to deny them.
With players finding the heat too much, Heath then threw on fresh young lads in Joe Hankins and Jake Kissiedu to try and put pressure on the Uxbridge defenders. It might have been a baptism of fire for the two 17 year olds, but this is what they need at the start of their senior careers.
With time running out, one more chance fell to AFC when Cashman got round the back of the home defence to only put his header wide. With 90 minutes on the clock, the OD's defence still had to put their necks on the line, to repel a couple more Uxbridge attempts to see out the game.
Heath was a relieved man at the end of the game saying " I thought we should great character in the 2nd half to keep out Uxbridge. I was extremely pleased with the 1st half, as we showed glimpses of what we are about. You need to remember, I was missing some influential players from my squad today, hence only being able to name 4 on the bench and that included two 17 year olds" he continued "games will be coming thick and fast and we move onto Tuesday as we open our home campaign to Histon"
Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Beck. Byron. Silford (Kissiedu 82). Olaleye. Hall (Cashman 65). Humbert. B.Carney (Hankins 75). Sub not used. Darby.
Scorers: Silford (10). Hall (31). Yellow cards: Beck. N.Carney