4th October. AFC Dunstable 5 Leverstock Green 0 (FA Vase)
For the first 35 minutes of this 2nd Qualifying Round of the FA Vase, no one would have envisaged that the scoreline would end up 5-0 to AFC. Even manager Steve Heath said " I would have been happy at 0-0 to get to half time to re organise" Then goals on 42 and 44 minutes changed the whole complexion of the game as they go into the hat for Monday's draw.
With the 2 sides, who had only just met in the league 4 days earlier, AFC started the stronger on Wednesday and Leverstock Green had the better of the 2nd half, it was roles reversal this time around. Levvy came roaring out of the traps and tested Louis Porcelli a couple of times as AFC could not come to terms with their game. The home team went into the tie without a recognised striker as Jermaine Hall had a groin pull and with Louis Austin still 3 weeks away from fitness, Heath signed Chris Francis, but he was admitted to hospital on Friday, so wide player Jimmy Hartley plied a lonesome furrow upfront.
They say goals change games and this was proved when good work down the left by Jamie Warne saw his cross turned in by James Bishop. Looking to hold the lead up to the break, it was doubled 2 minutes later when a undefendable free kick from Newman Carney was prodded home at the 2nd attempt by Fabio Bufano.
Half Time. AFC Dunstable 2 Leverstock Green 0
How bad AFC were for 35 minutes of the first half, it changed completely as they settled down and competed a lot better in the 2nd period. Leon Cashman marshalled the defence superbly as the dangerous Billy Smith was nullified to the extent he was replaced midway through the half. Also Heath made a tactical change, moving Hartley wide and putting Warne upfront and it had the desired affect.
AFC should have extended their lead on 72 and 76 minutes when again Warne put in a dangerous cross for sub Marcus Campbell to miss from 2 yards, then Enzo Silvestri had the same scenario after a good team move. Luckily for AFC they would make amends, as firstly Campbell blasted in a 20 yarder which seemed to have a lot of frustration in the strike on 82 minutes, then Silvestri had the same result in the final minute. Sandwiched in between, a Carney penalty was converted after Taishan Griffith was tripped in the box.
Heath was happy with the result against one of his former clubs " I know they came to the game pretty confident and this showed for the first 35 minutes as they continued where they left off on Wednesday. Just when I think I am getting a settled team, the defence is more solid now but then all of a sudden I have no fit strikers" he continued " we have a couple of tough games coming up away to London Colney on Tuesday and Hoddesdon Town at home on Saturday. I will need to assess my forward's options but all due credit to Hartley and Warne, they worked tirelessly in unaccustomed positions. I would also like to put on record how good the referee was today. There was a bit of handbags at the end and he handled it superbly. If that would have happened with Wednesday nights ref, he would have brandished red cards all over the place"
AFC Team: Porcelli. Biggadike. Carney. Bufano. Cashman. Warne (Harvey 81). Griffith. Olaleye. Bishop. Silvestri. Hartley (Campbell 66). Subs not used: Langston. Pickering. Maci.
Scorers: Bishop (42). Bufano (44). Campbell (82). Carney (88p). Silvestri (90)
Crime Count. Silvestri (Yellow card)
Leverstock Green Team: Bailey. Mubama. Cruickshank. Smith. Wright. O'Keefe. Bircham (Wooley 74). Lake. Smith (Talbot 72). Hind. Sobers (Gardner 62). Subs not used: Warner-Ely. Salako
Crime Count: Hind (Yellow card)
Referee: Mr Duffy. Assistants: Mr Moore & Mr Hari