27th February - Harefield United 1 AFC Dunstable 4
AFC made the trip to Preston Park with some trepidation. Having thrown away a 2-0 half time lead in the Challenge Trophy midweek to exit the competition to Division One Codicote. Coupled with dropping 2 points last Saturday, they were facing a team fighting relegation who had picked up 7 points from their last 3 games.
Apart from a 10 minute period when the Hares pulled a goal back on 55 minutes, the visitors mainly controlled the game. They had the perfect start after 6 minutes when a slick move resulted in BJ Christie heading home a Newman Carney cross. The OD's continued to press and Nathan Frater nearly doubled their lead with a fine header which was well saved.
A minute later AFC forced a couple of corners and a Josh Humbert poke at goal was cleared off the line. The home side were finding it hard to penetrate the visitors defence and nearly conceded again on 35 minutes. A sweet strike from Frater tested the home keeper who kept it out.
With AFC needing a 2nd, it finally came 5 minutes before the break and it was well worth waiting for. Christie and Humbert linked up as they set up Jermaine Hall to volley home.
Half time: Harefield United 0 AFC Dunstable 2
With another 2 goal lead at the break, AFC were hoping history would not repeat itself. Well on 55 minutes it was looking like it might. A superb strike from 20 yards gave Ricky Perks no chance as the ball arrowed into the net. This gave Harefield hope and started to apply some pressure. AFC had to tweek their back line, as Jason Beck suffered a dead leg and was replaced by Danny Jones. The home side forced a few corners but the visitors dug in to keep them at bay.
Quelling what the Hares could muster, Hall broke clear on the left and rode 2 hard tackles to cross for Humbert to bundle the ball home from close range on 75 minutes. This eased the nerves and when Courtney Massay sprung forward from right back 6 minutes later, he fired home to make it 4-1.
So with the top 3 all winning, the result kept AFC in 2nd spot with Hoddesdon still top.
AFC Manager Steve Heath was happy to get the midweek result out of the teams system, he said " while we needed to get back to wining ways, today was not going to be an easy affair. Like midweek, we pretty much dominated the 1st half and when Harefield scored 10 minutes into the 2nd half, I thought, "oh no here we go again". He continued " to be fair the lads dug deep when needed which was missing on Tuesday. We really need to be focused for every game now, as we have some tough ones coming up in March"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Beck. Griffiths. Olaleye. Gorman. Hall. Christie. Humbert. Frater. Subs used. Jones. Darby. Byron. Sub not used. Cashman.
Scorers. Christie (6). Hall (40). Humbert (75). Massay (81).