28th October. St Margaretsbury 2 AFC Dunstable 1 (AET)
A long night which started so promisingly, ended in disappointment by an offside goal and a dubious penalty that decided this Premier Division Cup game.
Yet again, AFC Dunstable with the 1st team and reserves, have had to make the trip to Stansted Abbotts for a midweek game in recent years. This being the 1st teams third on the trot. Saying that though they got off to a flyer as Enzo Silverstri headed home on 5 minutes to give AFC the lead. For the remainder of the half, both teams cancelled each other out in a very tense affair. With chances at a premium. Fabio Bufano almost gifted the home side an equaliser, with poor headed back pass but Jamie Head bailed him out. A couple of long range efforts from both teams did not test the keepers and AFC went into the break a goal to the good.
Half time: St Margaretsbury 0 AFC Dunstable 1
The 2nd half was not much different from the first. Bury threatened on a few occasions but the AFC defence handled everything and the same could be said for the home side. With the game entering added on time, Taishan Griffith gave away a needless foul, which gave St Margaretsbury their last chance to get the ball in the box. In went the resulting free kick, which Head made good contact with his punch but it hit a St Mags player on the head. The deflection went straight to Joss Lillis in an offside position and he gleefully poked the ball home from 4 feet. You could excuse the assistant referee's mistake, as the amount of bodies in the 6 yard box he might have got confused.
So onto extra time and it is a shame a very good competitive game was decided by a penalty. As Wayne Mills ran alongside the home teams winger, both fell to the ground as the ball was going out for a goal kick. You could understand the referee's decision from the position he was in and he awarded the spot kick. Kevin Ashwood stepped up with 7 minutes left to give Head no chance. 2 minutes later AFC had a good shout for a penalty, as Jimmy Hartley was bundled to the ground but no luck on this occasion. With time running out the visitors were awarded a free kick 20 yards out. Newman Carney's effort struck the bar. So with the time at 10.20pm the referee blew the final whistle.
AFC manager Steve Heath remarked "I was so pleased with the teams attitude and effort tonight and I thought we at least deserved a penalty shoot out. Not hanging on in normal time was disappointing and coming here midweek is a bit of a trek for us" he continued " going out on dubious decisions does hurt but sometimes you just don't get the rub of the green. I now need to pick them all up for Saturday for the FA Vase game. Some of the lads picked up some knocks, so Bianca our Sports Therapist will be busy on Thursday"
AFC Team: Head. Mills. Carney. Bufano. Cashman. Warne (Griffiths 71). Hartley. Olaleye. Francis. Silvestri (Campbell 65). Simpson (Harvey 71).
Scorer: Silvestri (5)
Crime Count. Silvestri. Griffiths. (Both yellow cards)