March 11th - Fleet Town 1 AFC Dunstable 4
The OD's kept up their play off push with a sound win over in form Fleet Town. Travelling down to Hampshire, a very tough game was expected, as it has gone without notice, that on social media, the visitors are going through a tough time off the pitch but the majority of the players have been loyal to their manager and stayed put at Calthorpe Park and have registered some fine results, which have been heralded on that platform.
AFC boss Steve Heath was under no illusion how tough today was going to be saying "they got a great result last Saturday beating Northwood 7-0. So it shows what a fine result it was. My only gripe is, that I heard after the game from certain circles they were missing quite a few players today. I don't understand that comment, as the team that smashed Northwood 10 out of the 11 started today. Actually out of the 16 players named, 15 were on the team sheet and apparently last Saturday was their best performance of the season"
AFC themselves were without the services of Nathan Frater and Adiel Mannion, so Tom Silford was recalled from London Colney to take his place on the bench. Brandon Carney was also back on the bench after his injury, but was only part of the warm up and was not expected to take any part in the game.
The visitors got off to the perfect start. From a free kick, Newman Carney delivered a pin point cross for an unmarked Jermaine Hall to head home on 3 minutes. AFC continued to push for a 2nd and a BJ Christie effort was easily cleared.
With the AFC defence pretty much in control, they quelled any threat that Fleet could muster. Then on 21 minutes Hall secured his 26th league goal of the season. From a Garry Malone goal kick, Leon Cashman flicked the ball on and Hall smashed in a volley from 20 yards.
The visitors still looked comfortable and even when Fleet did have a sight on goal, a long range strike from Ben Toye did not threaten it. It was looking like all was rosy coming up to half time. Then in added time, Courtney Massay lost possession of the ball near the AFC goal line. Danil Cadette crossed for Toye to fire home.
Half time: Fleet Town 1 AFC Dunstable 2
That late goal for Fleet seemed to give them confidence and they started the 2nd half quite brightly. Saying that, they were still finding it hard to penetrate the AFC back line. A decent header from James Scott looked like it might test Malone but it was off target.
Hall, who was hunting his hat trick, wriggled away in the box but his effort only found the side netting. Then on 62 minutes AFC made it 3. Craig Davis was caught in possession on the half way line by Christie. The striker strode clear of the Fleet defenders. His first attempt was partially saved by Ryan Pryce but Christie put away the rebound.
The visitors continued to press all over the pitch and they got their rewards with a carbon copy of the 3rd goal. With 20 minutes remaining, this time Scott was robbed by James Bishop. He outpaced the home defence to finish coolly.
With Hall still looking to take home the match ball, he came so close as the game was nearing the end. 20 yards out, he noticed Pryce off his line. His chip though came back off the cross bar, so he was denied his 30th goal in all competitions this season.
So this amazing first season in the Southern League continues, lying in 5th place and only one point off of 3rd. First objective secured, do not get relegated. 2nd objective, win more than we lose, done. Next objective, who knows!!
Team: Malone. Massay. Murphy. Griffiths. Morgan. Olaleye (Humbert 71). Cashman. N.Carney. Christie (Silford 73). Bishop (Byron 79). Hall. Sub not used. B.Carney
Scorers: Hall (3,21). Christie (62). Bishop (70)