23rd September - Hartley Wintney 1 AFC Dunstable 0
AFC's 2 week run at the top of the Evo Stik South East table came to an end with this narrow defeat. In a game that have precious few chances, a single goal for either side would be the likely winner and that's the way it turned out, as the hosts were the team that got it.
There were a couple of changes to the visitors line up. Lee Close's unavailability gave Christian Tavernier a starting berth. James Bishop was then moved to right back as Courtney Massay dropped to the bench. BJ Christie made his first start in the league.
It was Christie who forged out the first chance of the game early on, as he forced Paul Strudley into a smart save. As the game settled down, it was becoming obvious that chances for both sides were going to be at a premium. Both teams adopted the long ball option but defenders coped pretty easily with what came their way.
With the pitch having a pretty adverse slope in two directions, maybe this was the reason that neither side could create any meaningful chances in the 1st half.
Half time: Hartley Wintney 0 AFC Dunstable 0
With the sun still shinning at the start of the new half, it was easy to see that Hartley knew how to play the pitch. Kicking down the slope that existed length wise, they got the ball down much better and looked more of a threat. Their midfield stretched the game but saying that, still no chances were forthcoming, as both keepers were having a quiet afternoon.
What was to be the winning goal came just after the hour mark. AFC will be disappointed in the way it came about. Failing to clear the ball on three occasions, it finally came to Sam Argent whose shot went into the ground and looped over Jamie Head into the net.
The way the game was going, this looked like it would be the winning goal and it proved so. The visitors threw everything at Hartley for the final 10 minutes and came close in the 90th minute when a Danny Murphy free kick was turned around the post by Strudley.
A few corners were forced by AFC but the hosts held out to take the 3 points.
AFC Team: Head. Bishop (Massay 88). Murphy. R.Frater. Morgan. Carney. Tavernier. Olaleye (Campbell 88). Christie (Mannion 85). Hall. N.Frater