8th April. AFC Dunstable 1 Wembley 1
Some controversial decisions by the referee and some back luck cost AFC Dunstable 3 points, against a very good Wembley side, which in the end the result suited neither club in their chase for runners up.
A win for either side, would have seen them both push for that allotted place in the league, as games are running out. AFC were without Grant Fryer, so Leon Cashman came back into the defence, as that was the only change from Saturday.
The home team got off to a wonderful start, as a slick move involving Jermaine Hall and Jonathan Cooper resulted in Enzo Silvestri heading home from close range on 6 minutes. Wembley started to up their game and had alot of possession without really having the killer blow. AFC nearly went 2-0 up, when Hall broke clear but he delayed with his shot at goal and was denied with a well timed tackle by Wembley's right back.
AFC seemed to be comfortable in the game but then a terrible mix up at the back saw Zaine Gangadeen nip in to draw Wembley level on the half hour. They nearly took the lead from a Joe Wright strike but Ricky Perks saved well down at his near post.
With half time approaching, the first piece of controversy happened. A great run down the left by Newman Carney, saw him get to the bye line and whip in his cross. In the process, he was unceremonially taken out. His cross though found an unmarked Cooper at the far post, who gleefully slotted home into an empty net. The referee in his wisdom decided to not award the goal but give AFC a free kick instead.
With the sound of the officials whistle for half time, the AFC boss questioned his decision and was to take no further part in the game from the dug out. As the teams trooped off to the changing rooms, it could be heard from the Wembley management team "we got out of jail there"
Half time: AFC Dunstable 1 Wembley 1
Hoping the man in the middle would improve in the 2nd half, it was not to be. Within 7 minutes he was again centre of attention. When Josh Humbert did push a Wembley player in the back, it was a nailed on yellow card. Not according to the man in black. He decided it was a red and what he "saw" was an elbow on the back of his head.
So down to 10 men for most of the 2nd half, it was backs to the wall. In a strange way, Wembley seemed to lose their way. Where they popped the ball around against 11 men, they seemed to find it harder against 10. They did though have the best chance of the 2nd period. A great pass found Wright on the edge of the box. In one movement he controlled it and struck the ball but it hit the AFC upright.
It was now 9.50pm and the ref has added 10 minutes. It was a corner to AFC. Carney swung in the corner deep and his brother Brandon rose highest at the far post to head home from a yard out. At last some luck but no, the assistant gave Cashman offside somehow.
So the spoils shared as a frustrated Steve Heath said " firstly I would like to congratulate my players for the effort they put in tonight. Wembley are a very good side and to keep them out in the 2nd half was superb. I just thought for 2 teams to deliver such an exciting game with alot riding on it, its a shame that someone out there could not match them"
AFC Team: Perks. Bishop. N.Carney. Biggadike. Cashman. B.Carney. Cooper. Humbert. Silvestri (Mills 69). Olaleye. Hall (Francis 85). Subs not used. Bufano. Griffith. Porcelli