21st February - Kempston Rovers 0 AFC Dunstable 3 (Bedfordshire Senior Cup Semi Final)
For the 2nd successive season and 3 out of the last 5 finals, AFC progressed to the final at Kenilworth Road on March 20th.
Standing in their way in the semi final was fellow Southern League Central outfit Kempston Rovers. The Walnut Boys were favourites going into the game, as they had won both the league games this season. Both teams were missing key players on the night, to the extent AFC could only name 2 subs while Rovers named 3. Even keeper Ricky Perks had to be recalled out of retirement, due to Garry Malone being ineligible.
With the league games being fierce affairs, tonight was meek by comparison, as neither team really cut out any credible chances in the 1st half. This was a surprise, as out on the pitch there were 3 players that have shared 67 league goals between them.
Half time: Kempston Rovers 0 AFC Dunstable 0
Hoping the 2nd half would improve, it was looking more and more that the tie would be decided on penalties.
Finally on the hour the game had its first real chance and it fell to Kempston. From a corner, Robbie Goodman rose unchallenged but could not get his header on target.
Suddenly the game sprang into life four minutes later. A neat pass by James Bishop released BJ Christie on the half way line. He strode towards goal and from 20 yards unleashed an upstoppable strike that gave Martin Conway no chance. One more minute had elapsed, when a Christie shot was cleared off the line.
Rovers knew they had to push forward to get back into the game and relied heavily on their top scorer Danny Watson to do so. With Leon Cashman having a good season in midfield, AFC boss Steve Heath requested he did a marking job on Watson and moved him into defence. It worked perfectly, as Watson was on the periphery of the game, as Cashman kept him in check all night.
Ten minutes of the tie remained when AFC doubled their lead. Christie took full advantage of a mix up between Conway and Goodman. While the 2 Rovers players left the ball for each other, Christie nipped in, took the ball and rolled it into an empty net. Conway slightly made up for that error, when he denied Christie his hat trick moments later.
With the game entering stoppage time, the best goal of the night was scored by Courtney Massay. From a fully 40 yards, he struck the ball cleanly and it flew into the net with Conway off his line.
So for a game that was so dull until the hour mark, AFC were more clinical in front of goal and set up a final with fellow tenants of Creasey Park, Dunstable Town. Hopefully it promises to be a cracker and fingers crossed 3rd time lucky for AFC.
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. Murphy. Morgan. Cashman. N.Carney. Hall (Byron 83). Olaleye. Christie. Bishop. Mannion. Sub not used. Griffiths.
Scorers: Christie (64, 78). Massay (90)