9th February - AFC Dunstable 3 Bedford 2
An 85th minute headed winner by sub Brandon Carney, got AFC over the line to pick up all three points as lowly Bedford gave the hosts a fright. It was looking like AFC would rue the dominance they enjoyed in the 1st half, as two BJ Christie goals and further chances that were squandered, saw them go into the break 2-0 up. Throw into that, the visitors keeper Ross Tompkins made two wonderful saves from Newman Carney and Christie.
One change was made from the win over Tring seven days earlier. Christie was recalled as Carney Jnr reverted to the bench. AFC enjoyed the majority of the possession, as Ricky Perks in the OD's goal was mainly undisturbed.
In the Bedford ranks were ex AFC's Marcus Campbell and Tom Silford. Battling relegation, they proved in the 2nd half they will have a decent shout to avoid the drop.
With most of the ball, AFC were finding it hard to break down the visitors defence and the breakthrough finally came on 38 minutes. Christie took the ball on the edge of the box and fired home. It should have been 2-0 a minute later. From a Carney free kick, Tompkins did well to tip the ball over his bar. He was called into action again as he denied Christie.
With half time looming, Christie secured his 35th goal of the season, when he got on the end of a goalmouth scramble.
Half time. AFC Dunstable 2 Bedford 0
If AFC thought their work was done, they were in for a shock. As Bedford upped their performance levels, it seemed AFC dropped theirs.
The visitors started to ease into the game and were seeing more of the ball. They got back in the game, when Perks misjudged a long range strike from James Hilsdon to score. The visitors now had their tails up and a strike from Silford smacked against AFC's crossbar with 70 minutes on the clock. They deservedly drew level 2 minutes later. Failing to clear the ball, Silford was on hand to strike a low shot into the bottom corner.
From seeming very comfortable, it was looking like AFC might not just drop 2 points but all 3. Then an appalling foul on Moses Olaleye saw Bedford's Cole receive a straight red card.
With time running out, the home side knew they had to compete with Bedford's competiveness. They were finally rewarded as they forced a corner. From the older Carneys delivery, younger Carney rose highest to head home with 5 minutes remaining.
A relieved AFC boss Steve Heath said " I think last season, we would have lost that game or dropped the 2 points. Fair play to Bedford, they had nothing to lose in the 2nd half and came out a different team. They were a lot more aggressive and that showed with the red card. Another tackle earlier could have also had the same result. For a period in the 2nd half we were all over the place and Bedford capitalised on that"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Cashman. Olaleye. Gorman. Hall. Christie. Humbert. Frater. Subs used. B.Carney. Darby. Subs not used. Jones. Crowys.
Scorers: Christie (38.44) B.Carney (85)