19th September - Oxhey Jets 1 AFC Dunstable 3
Top spot was consolidated, as AFC had to overcome a spirited Oxhey Jets side, who had changed their manager on Thursday and gave 6 new players their debuts.
After departing 2 cup competitions in a 3 day period, it was back to league action. With striker Jermaine Hall and Ricky Perks both out through injury, Gary Malone made a rare start in goal and BJ Christie returned upfront from last Saturdays FA Cup tie. Fabio Bufano came back into the starting line up as Leon Cashman partnered Christie. Danny Jones got a start in front of Roy Byron.
With so many new faces in the Oxhey line up, AFC started the game sounding them out. The home sides youngsters had plenty of energy as AFC tried to quell them. The first real chance came on 20 minutes, when a Brandon Carney header smashed against the crossbar from Newman Carney's corner. The next big talking point came 5 minutes later, as Cashman seemed to be dragged down in the box but the referee waved away any penalty claim.
The visitors were now exerting good pressure and from another Newman Carney corner, Danny Ryan's powerful header went just over. AFC were now looking for the lead and when a poor clearance from Oxheys keeper fell to Christie, he nipped the ball around their centre back but as his shot was rolling towards the goal, a foot race started and the ball was cleared off the line.
Finally AFC took the lead and once again the Carney brothers provided the goal. The younger Brandon headed home on 42 minutes from Newman's corner. It should have been 2-0 a minute later as another effort from Christie was cleared away. As half time approached, a net piece of Brandon Carney skill saw him burst into the box. He seemed to be clipped on his way to goal but once again the match official did not agree.
Half time: Oxhey Jets 0 AFC Dunstable 1
With all the pressure AFC put on the Oxhey defence in the latter stages of the 1st half, it seemed only a matter of time before they scored again. This was not the case, as within 2 minutes Jets were level. Slack defending saw their left back run 30 yards unchallenged. He slipped the ball into Adam Lowton who fired home.
To keep their challenge moving forward, good work by Christie saw him fouled in the box on 48 minutes. This time the referee awarded the penalty and Newman Carney coolly slotted home.
With the lead regained, surely AFC's experience would see out the game quite comfortably. This was not to be, Oxhey made 3 changes with more fresh young lads. They started to pull the strings in midfield and played some very attractive football. They were though open to the counter attack and when Danny Jones put in a great cross, Oxhey's debutant keeper made a great save from Josh Humbert on the hour.
The game was finally put to bed with 15 minutes remaining. Moses Olaleye, who was fast becoming man of the match trying to stop the young Oxhey players, robbed their centre back of the ball and unselfishly set up Christie to tap home for his 11th goal of the season. It was nearly 4-1 when once again the home sides keeper made a smart save from a deflected Christie strike.
AFC manager Steve Heath heaped plenty of praise on his opponents saying "you have to give credit to Oxhey today. Having to give so many young players their debuts, they represented the club brilliantly. For 20 minutes midway through the 2nd half they bossed the ball and looked dangerous without really testing Gary in our goal" On his own teams performance he said "we were not at our best today and had to work hard for the points. One part of the game I was pleased with though, was we still created a few good chances. I know you cannot compare this season to last but we dropped 4 points against Oxhey last season, so at least we are in credit for this term"
Team: Malone. Massay. N.Carney. Ryan. Bufano. Jones. B.Carney. Olaleye. Cashman. Humbert. Christie. Subs used. Griffith. Baird. Byron. Sub not used. Griffiths.
Scorers: B.Carney (42). N.Carney (48 pen). Christie (75)