20th September. Holmer Green 1 AFC Dunstable 3
After the inept performance against Harefield on Wednesday, AFC Manager Steve Heath decided it was time to freshen up the squad, so he put out his feelers to introduce 3 new players. He secured the signatures of defenders Newman Carney and Leon Cashman to shore up that part of his team. Also adding Jimmy Hartley from London Colney, he gave all 3 their debuts with the desired effect.
Holmer Green, who caught AFC at the right time last season when all the changes were happening, came up against a much more organised outfit. The hosts did go out of their way to disagree with every decision the referee made, as AFC tried to play the football.
Louis Porcelli once again in the AFC goal, had to get down to a low shot from Dean Allen to push it around the post. Both teams were carving out some decent chances but it was AFC who took the lead on 25 minutes. A Jonathan Cooper corner was headed back across goal by Fabio Bufano for Jermaine Hall to get the final touch to see the ball cross the line. Unfortunately for Bufano he fell awkwardly and took no further part in the game. Looking like they would hold onto the lead upto the break, a speculative Allen strike from 40 yards out nearly caught out Porcelli.
Half Time. Holmer Green 0 AFC Dunstable 1
The start of the 2nd half saw AFC having the chance to increase their lead, when Cashman was grabbed around the neck and rightly so a penalty was awarded. Sure footed Hall, who has scored all his spot kicks this season, had this one saved. Luckily for Hall it was not soon before AFC doubled their lead with a Cooper header 20 minutes into the half. The confidence was now high, as AFC played some neat football but Holmer Green still tried to put them off track with some crude challenges.
With the game now coming to a conclusion, another crunching tackle on Moses Olaleye was rewarded with a free kick. Up stepped debutant Carney to swing in the resulting free kick as it evaded everyone and found its way into the back of the net. A 3-0 scoreline seemed fair but Holmer pulled a goal back with the last kick of the game, when Andy Shed lobbed Porcelli deep into injury time.
Manager Heath felt he needed to bring in some new faces " our defence has changed so much this season with injuries and I just cannot work with the same players week in week out. Newman Carney and Leon Cashman fitted in well but now I have lost Fabio Bufano with a groin injury and Kyle Lincoln is struggling with an injury to his calf as is Jack Lauder. Also I am still missing my skipper Wayne Mills" he continued " I think the back four has not been the same in all the games we have played so far this season"
Holmer Green Team: Craven. Forbes. Weedon. Stone. Cahill. Dixon. Fifield. Lines (c). Allen. Powles. Shed. Subs: Budd. Marshall. Benning. Williams. McLaughlin.
Scorer: Shed (90+3)
AFC Team: Porcelli. Pickering. Carney. Bufano (Langston 26). Cashman. Hartley. Griffith. Olaleye (c). Silvestri. Cooper. Hall. Subs not used: Harvey. Owolabi. Biggerstaff. Campbell
Scorers: Hall (25). Cooper (65). Carney (85)
Referee: Mr Harkin. Assistants: Mr Shacklock & Mr Aylock