15th March - AFC Dunstable 1 Barton Rovers 2. Beds Senior Cup Final
AFC Manager Steve Heath had that shocked look on his face, as he wondered how his team did not pick up the trophy tonight.
Walking around in a daze he finally settled down to say " firstly I would like to congratulate Barton on their success but I am still coming to terms on what happened out there tonight and even some Barton officials are of the same opinion. It would be only fair to say we dominated most of the game, took a deserved lead and apart from their keeper making 2 great saves from BJ Christie, we could have been 3-0 up after 25 minutes. But and a big but, we gifted them the equaliser, as we did not clear our lines and the winner was just a fluke and we had no time to recover as in the 90th minute. They say major decisions and luck even themselves out throughout the season, well we have 11 games left and it is about time we started to see ours, as decisions are starting to pile up"
Going into the game at Kenilworth Road, the home of Luton Town FC, one change was made from Saturday's win. Leon Cashman came in for the ineligible Bill Morgan. With drizzle falling at the kick off, both teams sounded each other out for the first 10 minutes. The first half chance fell to Barton when Newman Carney denied Davis Jordan.
After that for the next 25 minutes were completely dominated by the team in red. They were on the front foot and the opening goal was well deserved. From a Newman Carney corner, Nathan Frater headed home on 12 minutes. Still pressing forward AFC nearly doubled their lead 5 minutes later. Christie unleashed a shot what seemed destined for the top corner. Somehow Kyle Forster pulled off a wonder save to deny him.
Forster was again to frustrate Christie midway through the half when he saved well from a low shot. It seemed it would only be a matter of time before AFC got their 2nd. This is when they hit the self destruct button. There seemed to be no danger but hesitance in the AFC defence, they failed to clear the ball and it look a couple of deflections before it fell kindly to ex AFC James Bishop, who slotted home from close range. The goal was timed at 37 minutes.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 1 Barton Rovers 1
If the 1st half was full of chances, the 2nd was not so much but again AFC had the better of what was created. Again they dominated possession. For the 1st 10 minutes, they bore down on Forster's goal but could not get the ball past him. The Barton strike force were feeding mainly on scraps, as AFC keeper Ricky Perks hardly touched the ball.
With 71 minutes gone, Josh Humbert had the chance to regain AFC's lead but he did not get enough power on his header to worry Forster. Within 4 minutes AFC had a good shout for a penalty as a Carney shot struck a hand but the official waved away their appeals.
So the game entered the final 10 minutes and both teams decided to go for it. With Rovers introducing Jason Blackett, at last Matt Nolan had a partner he could play off and they started to get behind the AFC defence. With penalties looming, disaster struck for the OD's. In the 90th minute, a strike at goal from the edge of the penalty box was going well wide. It hit a Barton arm and took a massive ricochet across goal and fell very kindly to an offside Nolan 2 feet out to tap the ball home at the far post.
With 3 minutes added, AFC went all out to take the game to penalties. They nearly succeeded when the ball dropped to Frater 15 yards out but his shot was saved by Forster.
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths. Cashman. Olaleye. Gorman. Hall. Christie. Humbert. Frater. Sub used. B.Carney. Subs not used. Beck. Kissiedu. Jones. Malone.
Scorer: Frater (12).
Source of action points from Bedfordshire FA Twitter feed.