25th October. Berkhamsted 0 AFC Dunstable 2
Jamie Warne will take all the plaudits with 2 fantastic first half goals but the whole team played their part in great performance against league leaders Berkhamsted and registered AFC's first ever points at Broadwater, which blew the chase for the title wide open.
With the home team having 6 ex AFC players on their books, 4 started against there old club and on the whole did not really contribute much to the game, which will dare say disappoint them.
AFC boss Steve Heath threw a couple of curve balls in his selections. With skipper Moses Olaleye unavailable, he promoted Jake Hansard from the reserves to make his 1st team debut and centre half Fabio Bufano lined up in midfield. He welcomed back Wayne Mills at right back after a long lay off with injury and with Louis Porcelli still not quite right with his injury, Jamie Head took his place in goal.
The home side offered a couple of strikes at goal in the opening 5 minutes, with one going wide and the other being well saved by Head. After that AFC mainly dominated the rest of the half and a wonder goal from Warne opened the scoring. He picked up the ball on the half way line and unleashed an unstopable shot from 35 yards that flew into the top corner with 10 minutes on the clock. With Chris Francis and Leon Simpson causing the Comrades back line all types of problems, Francis nearly made it 2-0 with a turn and strike. Another Warne shot shaved the post and when Leon Cashman headed over, the leaders were just not in the game. Bufano was excelling in midfield, as he broke up everything Berkhamsted's midfield could muster and with Hansard impressing next to him, the shape of the team was holding firm.
With half time approaching, Warne again picked up the ball in his own half and this time sprinted passed all the home defence and cooly slotted home. A 2-0 half time scoreline was no more than AFC deserved and probably should have been out of sight.
Half time: Berkhamsted 0 AFC Dunstable 2
Expecting the Comrades to come at AFC all guns blazing, they did flatter to deceive and did have a lot more of the ball but did not really threaten the AFC goal, as many passes were over hit, with ex AFC BJ Christie getting frustrated, he found his way into the referee's book. Berko nearly pulled a goal back on 73 minutes, when a point blank header was brilliantly saved by Head. That save seemed to confirm it was not going to be their day.
AFC rallied in the final 15 minutes, as they caught Berko on the break on a few of occasions. Simpson and Jimmy Hartley came close to extend the lead and a Courtney Massey handball on the goal line was missed by the man in the middle. Warne also had the chance to complete his hat trick but blasted over the bar. With time running down, they kept a clean sheet to take home all 3 points.
A joyful AFC manager said after the game " what an all round performance. I thought the 1st half we were irresistible and Berko had no answer to our game. I thought long and hard about my formation and I also had to remind myself that Leon Cashman played for the Royal Navy yesterday, so I had make sure he was ready for today. I still have quality players out injured and with Moses unavailable today, the team turned in a fantastic stint, I am proud of everyone of them" he continued " I sat them all down after the game and instilled in them, that they have now set the standard today and we need to reach it more consistently, we now don't play in the league for another 2 weeks, as 3 cup games are up next. We have a tough tie at St Margaretsbury on Tuesday in the Premier Division Cup, then a massive FA Vase game next Saturday, when we entertain Eastern Counties team Haverhill Borough"
Berkhamsted Team. Tasker. Massay. Gavin. Hawes. Baldry. Mannion. Jowle. Frederick. Christie. Turney. Chamberlain. Subs used. Towell. Rodrigoe. Gittens. Subs not used. Farrelly. Sears.
Crime Count. Christie (yellow card)
AFC Team: Head. Mills. Carney. Biggadike. Bufano. Warne (Silvestri 71). Griffith (Campbell 81). Hansard. Simpson. Cashman. Francis (Hartley 71). Subs not used: Harvey. Porcelli
Scorer: Warne (10 & 44)
Crime Count. Bufano (yellow card)