25th April. Hadley 2 AFC Dunstable 0
The curtain came down on AFC Dunstable's season, with a defeat against inform Hadley. The home side went into the game on a 5 match winning run and it was not the day for AFC to travel to Potters Bar with only 9 fit players plus 3 sort of fit players. With injuries and suspensions hitting AFC boss Steve Heath's plans, he could not call on any reserve players, as they were in the same boat as they blooded 8 players under the age of 17.
In the end, the game was decided on Hadley taking their chances as AFC squandered theirs. Heath had to start with Fabio Bufano, whose season was over due to injury, but he was patched up to help out his team mates. Brandon Carney was also carrying an injury but needs must as he had to start.
With the opening half pretty much even, AFC should have taken the lead when Leon Cashman lashed a strike on goal over the bar. Jermaine Hall also came close. The deadlock was broken when Hadley were awarded a dubious free kick on 41 minutes. Dan McAteer curled his strike round the wall to put Hadley 1-0 up.
Half time. Hadley 1 AFC Dunstable 0
The 2nd half followed the same vein as the first, but with Heath re jigging his formation on a few occasions, what ever he tried against the Hadley defence, they dealt with their efforts quite comfortable.
Bufano's help for his team came to an end and was replaced by Marcus Campbell. Hadley stretched their lead with 15 minutes remaining, when great work by the impressive Nick Chrysanthou drew a fine save from Ricky Perks but he could only push the ball out to Ivan Machedo, who tapped the ball into a empty net.
So the end of another season and a very commendable 3rd place secured.
Heath reflected on the season and the final game " I knew today was going to be a very tough game, as Hadley are a good footballing team under Micky Hazard. It would have been a challenge with fully fit squad but I thought we competed well with what I had available and it was a close game" On the season he said, "I have to be pleased with 3rd place, which on a personal note is my best season at this level. I now have to look to next season and if we are to make an assault on the title again, I will need to strengthen in certain positions. I know I sound like a broken record, but too many draws have cost us dear this season and we have not put teams away when on top"
AFC Team: Perks. Bishop. N.Carney. Biggadike. Fryer. Mills. B.Carney. Olaleye. Cashman. Bufano (Campbell 70). Hall.