23rd December - Hadley 0 AFC Dunstable 3 (Challenge Trophy 3rd Round)
With Christmas fast approaching, AFC's squad was to pushed to the limit, as 6 starters from Saturday were unavailable due to injury and festive functions. Promoted from the Reserve Team, Ben Darby made his full debut for the 1st team and put in a good shift. Three more players from the clubs reserves were on the bench in the shape of Lewis Crowys, Glenn Thompson and Kane Axten. They all made 2nd half appearances and Axten had the added pleasure of setting up AFC's 3rd goal.
The tie that was postponed from last week, was squeezed in between the deluge of rain and on the only dry day forecast for the week. In the end, the 2 teams were very evenly matched, but it was a combination of AFC's finishing and Hadley's wayward shooting that won the day for the visitors and saw them progress into the Quarter Finals.
A quick salvo, of 2 goals within a 4 minute period just before the half time break,was the probably the defining part of the game, as it looked like both teams were cancelling each other out. Jermaine Hall picked up a loose ball 25 yards from goal and chipped the advancing Hadley keeper to put the OD's 1-0 up. On 40 minutes AFC had doubled their lead with a bullet of a strike from Jason Beck from 20 yards.
Half time. Hadley 0 AFC Dunstable 2
With 2 goals in the bag, the visitors took their foot off the gas for the first 15 minutes of the restart and let the hosts have a lot more possession. Jernade Mead came close to reducing the arrears on the hour, when his shot clipped the crossbar. This woke up AFC and they started to compete again and forced a few corners moving into the final third of the match. When Hadley did get into decent positions, their shots at goal threatened the supporters behind it more than the net.
With the game coming to its conclusion, there was time for AFC to put the icing on the cake, when Hall broke clear again from an Axten pass to slot home on 85 minutes.
So in to the latter stages of another cup competition, as AFC wait for the outcome of Codicote or Hoddesdon Town to see who they will face.
AFC Team: Malone. Massay. Jones. Griffiths. Beck. Griffith. Darby. Olaleye. Cashman. Humbert. Hall. Subs used. Crowys. Thompson. Axten. Subs not used. Ryan. Silvestri
Scorers: Hall (36, 85). Beck (40)