5th November - AFC Dunstable 2 Fleet Town 0
You could say AFC produced a perfect game today, as they looked good in the 1st half which saw them take a 2-0 lead into the break, then managed the 2nd half to get over the line. On top of that, jumped up two places in the table into a play off place.
With Josh Humbert and Leon Cashman serving suspensions, James Bishop was also missing with his injury, so the AFC squad was still not a full strength. Fleet came to Creasey Park on a decent run of league form, having only lost one of their previous 6 games. It was also stated they were missing 3 key players as AFC were, so an even contest was expected.
The home side did though welcome back BJ Christie to the starting line up, after his mid season break in the USA. He would torment the visitors defence all afternoon. It took him only 3 minutes to set up AFC's first chance. Out wide on the right, he whipped in a wicked cross which was just out of reach of Brandon Carney at the far post.
Three minutes later he was at it again, as Ryan Pyrce in the Fleet goal denied him. With 16 minutes on the clock, Christie was again involved as he was fouled on the edge of the box. Up stepped Newman Carney, who rifled in a low strike which seemed to elude everyone and found the back of the net.
The hosts continued to press the Fleet defence and to get the ball wide. A surging run by Courtney Massay down the right, saw him ride 2 tackles and pick out Christie at the near post for him to head home his 7th league goal of the season.
With AFC having the best of the opening exchanges, the visitors did press Ricky Perks into action, as he tipped over a speculative shot. Fleet started to work harder in midfield, as they realised if they did not, it would be a very long afternoon. They created a couple of half chances, that did not really threaten the AFC lead.
34 minutes had surpassed when Pyrce was called into action again. With the visitors pushing forward, their attack broke down and Newman Carney released Christie. As he bore down on goal, Pyrce saved well to deny him doubling his tally.
Half time - AFC Dunstable 2 Fleet Town 0
So looking comfortable with a 2 goal lead, it was needed, as Fleet changed their set up for the 2nd period. They competed a lot better but the hosts kept them at arms length for the majority of the half.
Looking to stretch their lead, a couple of decent headers from corners for Bill Morgan and Brandon Carney, just missed the target as AFC looked for their 3rd.
With Fleet introducing Danilo Cadette at the break, it looked like he could give the AFC back line some problems. Eventually, AFC came to terms with his pace and trickery as he faded late on.
Cadette though was part of a flowing move by Fleet, that saw Perks save with his legs from Simba Mlambo to keep the visitors out just before the hour.
With Fleet pushing for a goal, Perks and his back line coped with anything they could throw at them and saw out the game and the 3 points.
A pleased AFC manager Steve Heath commented after the game " I thought in the 1st half we had most of the game and the best chances. To be fair to Fleet, they changed their formation in the 2nd half, as they looked for a goal to get them back in the game. I thought though we managed the half very well and it was decent game for the watching faithful"
On moving into a play off place he continued "look, we have only played 15 games, but this is the 3rd time we have broken into the top 5. We are slowly coming to terms with the Southern League and today proved again what a tough league it is. If Fleet would have scored when they exerted some pressure, it could have been a different outcome. We are learning on how to manage games. Last season in the South Midlands, we would wear teams down and go on and win games comfortably, as the opposition would tire. Fleet never gave up and we had to be disciplined in the 2nd half to see out the game"
On the Southern League he said "you just have to look at a couple of results today. Who would have thought Histon would get their first win of the season away at 5th place Barton Rovers and score 6. Then one of the pre season title contenders Bedford Town losing at home to lowly Kidlington. Teams seem to go on a bit of a winning streak and look like they are contenders, then lose to lowly teams. That is why, we cannot get ahead of ourselves and think the hard work is done"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. Murphy. Morgan. Griffiths. N.Carney. B.Carney. Olaleye. Christie. Hall (Cox 84). Mannion (Kissiedu 86). Subs not used. Bailey. Silvestri. Cosmin.
Scorers: N.Carney (16). Christie (27)