18th February - AFC Dunstable 3 Potters Bar Town 1
Defeat today, would have seen AFC's visitors, close the gap on them to 2 points with a game in hand. It was looking like both sides would share the points on offer, as with 10 minutes to go, there was nothing between the two teams as they were locked at 1-1.
AFC were forced into a change, due to Josh Humbert starting his 2 match ban for picking up 10 yellow cards. There was a welcome return for centre half pairing Bill Morgan and Terry Griffiths, who missed last weeks win at Ashford Town. Courtney Massay earned a recall, as he replaced James Bishop at right back.
With a lot at stake in the game, it was AFC who came close to opening the scoring. A rasping shot from BJ Christie, struck the Scholars upright. The game was becoming a midfield battle, as neither team would give an inch, as every ball was contested for.
A decent long range effort from the visitors Chris Doyle just cleared Garry Malone's crossbar on 22 minutes. It was looking like the 1st half would be scoreless, then in added on time the OD's took the lead. From a Leon Cashman long throw, the ball found Christie at the far post. He headed it back across goal and Jermaine Hall was on hand to squeeze the ball home.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 1 Potters Bar Town 0
With AFC looking to push on in the 2nd half, it was only 5 minutes old when the visitors drew level. Failing to clear their lines, AFC were punished when Tom Bennett did a Jermaine Hall and scored from the exact same position Hall did.
A massive decision by the referee happened on the hour. As the ball was released forward, Potters Bar's keeper Ravan Constable came flying out of his area. Being a good 23 yards from his goal line, he stopped the ball going towards goal with his hand. As his team mates hung their heads as an obvious red card should have been shown, amazingly he only received a yellow. The resulting free kick for AFC came to nothing.
It was looking like AFC were not going to get favourable decisions from the match officials. On 72 minutes Christie latched onto a loose ball. It looked like he had given AFC the lead. Up went the assistant referees flag for offside, even though a Potters Bar defender flicked the ball on. So that goal was ruled out.
It was now looking like, it was not going to be the home sides day.
Christie was not to be denied though. Four minutes were left on the clock, when Nathan Frater released Danny Murphy down the left. The weight on the pass was perfect for Murphy to deliver a teasing cross for Christie. He got his shot away on goal but Contstable did his best to deny him, as he partly saved his effort but the ball was over the line.
AFC and Christie were not finished though. With the game entering the 90th minute, AFC's number 9 beat the offside trap and finished coolly to make it 3-1 and wrap up the points.
So with Marlow suffering a defeat at the hands of league leaders Royston Town, AFC moved back into 3rd place in the league.
AFC boss Steve Heath was happy with his teams spirit saying "it was pleasing to see the team fight all the way until the final minute. With 10 minutes left, it looked like a draw was going to be the outcome. Fair play to the players, they went for the win and got their rewards" he continued "with the referee having to make some big decisions that did not go our way, I thought we knuckled down and got on with the job in hand"
Team: Malone. Massay. Murphy. Morgan. Griffiths. N.Carney. Hall (Mannion 87). Olaleye. Christie. Cashman. Frater. Subs not used. Bishop. Byron. Bailey
Scorers: Hall (45+1) Christie (86 & 90)
Footnote: There was more success for AFC as their Under 21 team made it to the Bedfordshire Intermediate Cup Final. In their first season, they defied all the odds, as the semi final was only their 6th game of the season, owing to the league they compete in being poorly run, as no fixtures being arranged since September and teams dropping out. The team which is mainly made up of 16-19 year olds, they completely dominated the whole game against Shefford and Campton Reserves and the 1-0 scoreline does not reflect the game. An early Alex Beasley goal secured the final berth against Potton United Reserves on April 12th.