19th March - Hoddesdon Town 1 AFC Dunstable 1
The long awaited top of the table clash unfortunately did not live up to the billing, as both sides knew there was alot at stake. Knowing defeat for either team would severely dent their title hopes and in the end the only winner was 3rd placed London Colney who closed the gap.
Even though the game was very competitive, tension probably paid a large part, as chances were few and far between. AFC boss Steve Heath though was pleased with his teams attitude saying " I thought the lads showed great character after the massive disappointment of losing the County Cup final in the 90th minute on Tuesday night. We knew Hoddesdon have a great home record only losing once in the league and if they would have opened up a 8 point lead, that would have been very hard to pull back"
From the Cup Final, Heath made two changes. Back came Brandon Carney for Jermaine Hall in attack and Bill Morgan was restored at centre back in place of Terry Griffiths.
In front of a crowd of more than 200, both sides found it hard to settle. A few misplaced passes were creeping in, as the defences held the upper hand. The dangerous pairing of Mark Summers and Tommy Wade for the Lilywhites were slowly getting into their stride. It was Summers who broke the deadlock on 26 minutes. He got round the back of the AFC defence and fired home a sweet strike that gave AFC keeper Ricky Perks no chance.
The visitors responded straight away, as from a free kick a minute later, Nathan Frater struck the home sides crossbar. AFC continued to press and when Brandon Carney had a snap shot at goal, Lee Robinson was a match for it as he tipped the ball over the bar.
Half Time: Hoddesdon Town 1 AFC Dunstable 0
Like the 1st half, the game was still to deliver any type of cohesion. It started to become quite niggly and where the referee tried to keep a lid on it, he started to brandish a few yellow cards. AFC were now seeing quite a bit of possession but could not really penetrate the Hoddesdon defence. The home side were looking to slow the game down and using tactics to use up the clock. A couple of long distance strikes failed to find the target and it was looking like Hoddesdon would hold out.
Then on 81 minutes, Wade gave away a silly free kick 25 yards from his goal. Up stepped Newman Carney who delivered a pin point cross for his brother Brandon to rise the highest to head home.
So with AFC back on level terms, Hoddesdon decided to up their game and pushed for the winner. The visitors gave away a couple of soft free kicks in dangerous areas but held firm. A decent chance fell to Summers again but his shot at goal only went straight into Perks arms.
It was a surprise the official only added on 3 more minutes but he probably thought he'd better keep everyone happy and in the end a draw was a fair result.
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Morgan. Cashman. B.Carney. Gorman. Olaleye. Christie. Humbert. Frater. Subs used. Hall. Beck. Subs not used. Byron. Jones. Griffiths.
Scorer: B. Carney (81)