27th January - Hayes & Yeading United 0 AFC Dunstable 2
An inspired 1st half performance by AFC's keeper Jamie Head, went along way for the visitors, by picking up all three points against one of their promotion rivals.
It was only 9 seasons ago, that Hayes were clinching promotion to the Conference National League and we were trying to get out of the SSMFL Division Two.
With the hosts having a nomadic existence over the past few seasons, they are finally playing at their new Skyex Community Stadium, which is currently a working progress, but you can see what a wonderful facility it will be once complete.
Back to the game. With Hayes and Yeading chalking up their biggest win with a 9-1 demolition of Arlesey Town the Saturday before and AFC having their 11 match unbeaten run ended against Chalfont St Peter, the home side would have been full of confidence to extend their winning run to 7 games and cut the points difference to one point with AFC and still have 2 games in hand.
It looked like that would be the case, as Hayes opened up very brightly. Head was called into action to make a one handed reflex save early on. He was earning his corn, when a great double save on 16 minutes kept the score at 0-0.
The visitors were finding it hard to make any in roads into the Hayes back line, but slowly they started to force some corners. On 22 minutes from one of these corners they took the lead. As the ball was cleared to Bill Morgan, his overhead kick went a bit wide but found BJ Christie. The strikers first effort was blocked on the line, but he hit home the rebound to give AFC the lead. The visitors then were forced into a change, when Ryan Frater broke down and was replaced by Danny Murphy. It was not ideal, as with a few regulars either suspended or injured, Steve Heath who could only name 3 subs, had to use one early.
So with the OD's having the lead, this did not seem to concern Hayes and again Head was forced to make another couple of saves to preserve the lead.
Half time: Hayes & Yeading 0 AFC Dunstable 1
It looked like the 2nd half was going to follow the same vein as the 1st, as Head was soon called into action again. With the wind at their backs for the 2nd period, AFC finally started to settle down and slowly but surely seem to be managing the game alot better. A brisk strike from Christie on 50 minutes was easily fielded by the Hayes keeper. They had a chance to double their lead on the hour, when Christie was found on the penalty spot but his effort was saved.
Head was still being kept busy up the other end, as he was earning his man of the match tag when he pushed away another effort.
With the game on a knife edge, Christie got his 2nd with 10 minutes remaining. A neat passing interchange between Christian Tavernier and Jermaine Hall, saw Hall slip in Christie who held off his marker to slot home.
The home side continued to push forward, but now their efforts were off target long range shots, that did not trouble the AFC goal.
AFC Team: Head. Tavernier. N.Carney. R.Frater (Murphy). Morgan. Griffiths (Bishop 83). Christie. Olaleye. Cashman. N.Frater (B.Carney 89). Hall.
Scorer: Christie (22. 80)