28th July - AFC Dunstable 2 Luton Town 0 (Bedfordshire Premier Cup Final)
Another County Cup was added to the clubs haul, to make it 6 with this fine win over a Luton Town X1.
This game comes about, when the Beds Senior Cup winners (AFC), take on the senior club of the county, which is the Hatters. The visitors were looking to make it 5 wins on the trot in this competition.
Luton, who usually field their Under 18 team for these games, made their 2nd trip to Creasey Park in 3 days. On Tuesday, the same squad that was named earlier in the week for the Premier Cup final , came away with a 4-0 win over Dunstable Town in a pre season friendly.
The youthful Hatters were looking to build on that performance, as AFC prepared to face the same line up. The Luton management team though decided to bolster their starting line up with a bit more experience with three 1st teamers. New signing Harry Isted donned the gloves, whilst longest serving player Jonathan Smith took his place in midfield and Josh McQuoid was up front. Local youngster Arthur Read, who turned professional in November 2016 also started as he did on Tuesday. Another ex scholar in Kavan Cotter, who signed a professional contract in 2016, was in the starting line up. 1st team manager Nathan Jones was also in attendance, to run the rule over his young charges.
AFC manager Steve Heath gave debuts to new signings Ryan Frater, Lee Close and Christian Tavernier. Another new signing for this season, Jamie Head was between the sticks, but he has worn the blue of AFC in the past.
With the teams being greeted by a fine drizzle, it was Luton who started the brighter as they zipped the ball about on the slick surface. The first real chance of the half fell to Corey Panter but his effort went just wide of Head's far post. The visitors were still having the majority of the ball, but not really turning the possession into chances.
With the home side starting to grow into the game, they forced a couple of corners of which Isted comfortably dealt with. Then a mis-placed pass by Isted was seized upon by BJ Christie and he set up Nathan Frater to fire home on the half hour.
With half time approaching Isted was again called into action to keep the score at 1-0, as he made a double save to deny Jermaine Hall, then Frater as the Luton defence got in bit of muddle.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 1 Luton Town 0
The opening exchanges of the 2nd half were evenly matched and when Christie set up Hall at the near post, he just failed to find the target. AFC though did double their lead on the hour. This time Hall was the provider, as his low cross was met by Adiel Mannion. He strike was deflected past Insted to make it 2-0.
The visitors nearly pulled a goal back with the game coming to an end. A cross from Kavan Cotter was heading for McQuoid at the far post. As the forward was about to head the ball goal wards, Courtney Massay intervened to clear the danger.
There was still time for Insted to be called into action on the corner of his penalty box, as he blocked 2 efforts from Mannion then Frater.
So another trophy for the cabinet, in which has been an unbelievable period for the club. AFC's boss was happy with his teams performance saying" Even though tonight was about getting more miles in the players legs, there still was a trophy at stake and both teams wanted to win it. Some might say we only beat a team full of Under 18's but they decided to play 5 full time professionals who were on the pitch from the start and we can only play what is put in front of us. I thought Luton really knocked the ball around well in the early stages of the game, but our work rate was first class to match them, as I felt if they scored early their confidence would have grown and it could have been a difficult evening"
Speaking on his new signings Heath said" they are all settling in well, unfortunately Ryan Frater picked up a knock tonight and he will be assessed over the next few days"
AFC Team: Head. Bishop. Carney. Griffiths. Frater (R). Close. Tavernier. Olalye. Christie. Hall. Frater (N). Subs all used. Campbell. Byron. Mannion. Massay. Silford.
Hatters Team: Isted. James. Palmer. Swindells. Mead. Jones. Smith. Shamalo. Read. Cotter. McQuoid. Subs all used. Belgrove. Neufvile. Byron. Tomlinson. Stead.