17th December - Farnborough 2 AFC Dunstable 1
Having suffered their 7th league defeat of the season, for the 6th time it was by the odd goal for AFC. Travelling to Hampshire to take on leaders Farnborough, the visitors were without the services of influential defenders Danny Murphy (injury) and Bill Morgan (holiday). Also Leon Cashman had to be patched up, after having 7 stitches in a gaping leg wound 5 days previous. Then to lose Terry Griffiths at half time due to a groin strain, obvious replacement Kyran McGhan George picked up an injury in the pre match warm up, so he was unavailable to Steve Heath.
This disruption seem to affect AFC, as within 13 minutes they found themselves 2-0 down. Having won their 3 previous games, the AFC confidence was high.
The game opened at a fierce pace and it was easy to see, that the AFC defence was going to have problems with the hosts 2 strikers. Ricky Perks was called into early action to make a low save with only 7 minutes on the clock.
It was then Farnborough's keeper who was called into action, to tip over a James Bishop effort a minute later.
10 minutes had surpassed when the Boro took the lead. AFC were awarded a free kick 25 yards from goal. With the ball not clearing the first defender, from a quick break, they made their way into the AFC box. 3 efforts at goal were blocked, as the AFC defence put their lives on the line. They seemed to have survived that scare but then Bishop pushed Nic Cardini as he was going away from goal. From the resulting penalty, Sam Pearce tucked the ball away.
Licking their wounds, AFC soon found themselves 2-0 down. From a corner Pearce was unchallenged to head home.
Looking like it was going to be a long afternoon for the visitors, they responded with a Griffiths header that crashed against the Farnborough upright. From the rebound, Ollie Treacher cleared the ball off the line.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Boro should have put the game to bed. From a stunning pass from Denis Oli, he slipped in Sam Shaban. It seemed all he had to do was beat the advancing Perks, but somehow he missed the target.
Back came AFC. From a Newman Carney free kick, Cashman probably made to good a contact with the ball, as he headed over unchallenged.
The game was still end to end as Oli and Perry Coles movement was giving AFC all kinds of problems.
Half Time: Farnborough 2 AFC Dunstable 0
With Griffiths having to be replaced by Brandon Carney at the break, AFC had to tweek their formation. They knew they had to up their game to get back into it. They so nearly did that, when an Adiel Mannion effort was blocked on the line 10 minutes in. From the clearance, the visitors gave the ball away on the half way line. As Cardini bore down on goal, Bishop went toe to toe with him. The Farnborough midfielder rode a change from Bishop and got his shot away. The referee must have deemed as he did not score, there was no advantage so awarded a penalty. Bishop was booked for his challenge. It was a chance for Pearce to complete his hat trick but he blazed the ball over the bar on 55 minutes.
The game was well and truly open as both keepers had to be alert to keep their goals in tact. On 74 minutes a great shot from Boro's Joe Huggins struck the AFC bar and was scrambled away.
Then with 10 minutes remaining, AFC were thrown a life line. As a loose ball fell to BJ Christie 25 yards from goal, he hit the sweet spot of the ball and his strike gave Aaron Buffon no chance. Then Bishop picked up another yellow card and was dismissed, which made AFC's afternoon even more difficult.
Was there now a sniff that AFC could salvage a point. Some time wasting by the home side crept into their play but the visitors could not summon up another worthwhile chance.
AFC boss Heath was slightly perplexed by the comments of the Farnborough management that they dominated the whole game saying "while they probably deserved the points, I thought that comment was bit of an exaggeration. We just did not settle in the opening exchanges and showed great character to fight back. We had our chances as well you know and if we had taken one of them, then who knows what the outcome could have been"
Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Griffiths (B.Carney 45). Cashman. Bishop. Mannion. Olaleye. Christie. Humbert. Hall. Subs not used. Byron. McGhan-George. Hankins. Silvestri
Scorer: Christie (80)