8th December - Dunstable Town 0 AFC Dunstable 1 (Beds Senior Cup, Quarter Final)
A Jermaine Hall goal, on the stroke of half time, was enough to send AFC through to the semi final of the Bedfordshire Senior Cup. In a very tight and cagey game, it was his sniffer instinct that separated the two teams, as he prodded the ball home from close range.
As in the 1st Round against Luton Town, the OD's went into the game as major underdogs, seeing their fellow tenants play 2 levels above in the Southern League Premier. Also with the Town having the enviable strike force of Connor Calcutt, Gary Whalton and ex AFC youth player Chris Vardy, the visitors thought they would be in for a busy night. But to be fair, they kept them pretty quiet for most of the game.
AFC welcomed back Leon Cashman into the side, whose combative performance pushed him close to man of the match. Hall also returned to the starting line up, as Josh Humbert and Nathan Frater, who both picked up knocks on Saturday, rested themselves on the bench.
With the hosts being on a decent run in the league, which has seen them hovering just below the play off places, they opened the more brighter. They knocked the ball around confidently, with Adam Watkins pulling the strings. Even though they enjoyed having the ball, they could not carve out any decent chances, as the AFC defence kept them at bay.
This seemed to give AFC hope and they slowly started to get into the game. Chances were still at a premium though, as both keepers were mainly spectators. Long range shots were the only threat on the goals but most went wide. A great chance though did fall to AFC, but from a goal mouth scramble, the ball was cleared off the line.
The breakthrough came a minute into added time. AFC centre back Jason Beck, who was giving Cashman a run for his money as MOM, burst into the box and forced a corner. From the resulting delivery, the ball bounced around the Blues box and Hall was on hand to open the scoring.
Half Time: Dunstable Town 0 AFC Dunstable 1
Having taken the lead at an important time of the game, AFC came out for the 2nd half a lot more confident. The competed well against their illustrious opponents and matched them all over the pitch.
As the half wore on, Dunstable decided to throw on more strikers as they tried to take the game to penalties. This of course gave AFC the opportunity to hit them on the break. A couple of strikes by Brandon Carney and Hall just went wide of the post. As the home side pushed everyone forward, with 82 minutes on the clock, Gary Malone pulled off a smart save to deny any chance of Dunstable drawing level. Also the AFC defence quelled any thoughts of the hosts progressing to the semi final, as they defended a couple of late corners well.
So onto the semi final for the 2nd time in 5 attempts since promotion to the SSMFL Premier Division. AFC Steve Heath manager said after the game " with the big FA Vase game coming up on Saturday, I was in a quandary about team selection tonight. I was thinking about resting a few but on the other hand keeping the momentum going would be an advantage. In the end I took the latter decision and I am pleased I did"
AFC Team: Malone. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Beck. Griffith. B.Carney. Cashman. Christie. Gorman. Hall. Subs used. Humbert. Frater. Subs not used. Bufano. Turney. Perks (GK)
Scorer: Hall (45+1)