6th January - AFC Dunstable 2 Aylesbury 0
AFC made it 25 points out of a possible 27 from their last 9 games, with this win over Aylesbury and in the process cut AFC Rushden & Diamonds lead at the top of the table to 3 points, as they could only draw 0-0 with mid table Marlow.
Opponents Aylesbury came into the game having won their previous 4 league away games, so were full of confidence they could make it 5.
AFC manager Steve Heath was forced into making 2 changes. He was without the suspended Nathan Frater and Brett Longden, so James Bishop came in at right back and fit again Bill Morgan was restored to central defence. News on other injured players is that Louis Bircham was on the bench and made a late appearance. Ryan Frater and Danny Murphy are still rehabilitating.
With all the recent rain about, there was concern about the pitch, as the Under 18 game was called off on Thursday night due to it being waterlogged. In the end fears were unfounded as the surface had dried out nicely.
It was plain to see that the game was going to be a tight one. AFC had a couple of slick moves in the opening 15 minutes but failed to gain any goals from them. Then on 19 minutes the hosts should have taken the lead. From a free kick, Drew Roberts fired in a low shot of which Aylesbury keeper Ashley Jenkins spilled. The ball fell to Terry Griffiths but somehow put the rebound over the bar from a couple of feet.
Down the other end the Moles had a couple of forays into the AFC box and had a good claim for a handball, which was waved away. They also tested Jamie Head in the AFC goal with a couple of long range efforts of which he dealt with quite comfortably. On 32 minutes the deadlock was broken. Jermaine Hall broke clear of his marker and coolly finished to end his goal drought of not scoring in his last 6 games.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 1 Aylesbury 0
The 2nd half followed in the same trend as the 1st, as both sides battled for every ball. With an hour gone, AFC were gifted their 2nd goal. A defensive mistake laid the ball on a plate for Hall to notch his 2nd of the match.
With the OD's now two goals to the good, it seemed to relax them and were able to fend off anything the visitors could throw at them. Three late substitutions were made by AFC and it was good to see 3 young players come on. Bircham at 21 showed glimpses again of what he is about, along with Ollie Cox (22) who had a couple of good surging runs and Brandon Carney (20) also got involved. Nearing the end of the game, there was a nice move involving all three that resulted in AFC coming close to extending their lead.
Now it's onto Tuesday night, to take on Northwood in the match that was postponed just before Christmas.
Team: Head. Bishop. N.Carney. Morgan. Cashman (Cox 82). Griffiths. Tavernier. Olaleye. Christie. Hall (Bircham 85). Roberts (B.Carney 85). Subs not used. R.Frater. Langston.
Scorer: Hall (32. 62)