12th April - AFC Dunstable 6 Berkhamsted 1
After his team were labelled poor and lacking any heart by certain Berkhamsted's coaching staff after the 2-1 defeat back in November 2015, Steve Heath's men went looking for the Comrades heart tonight and proceeded to squeeze the life out of it. Into the bargain, opened up a 29 point gap between the 2 sides, when at the back end of last year was only a point after that game. It was also Berkhamsted's heaviest defeat of the season.
Heath thought the 15 minute periods either side of the break was the defining moment of the game saying " they just could not live with us in that period. We knew they have no pace at the back, so we got the ball to our forwards quickly. BJ gave them a torrid time and even though it was Leon Cashman who got the hat trick, his 2 penalty awards could quite easily could have been goals as he skipped by their keeper on both occasions only to be brought down"
With 5 games left in the title race, Berkhamsted were without doubt another tough challenge on paper and could put a severe dent in any aspirations. But in the end apart from their goal just after half time, did not get close to Ricky Perks goal to test the water.
AFC had to bide their time to wear down the visitors defence as they had to be thankful to Carl Tasker for keeping them in the game. The OD's have a great shout for a penalty in the first 5 minutes, when Jermaine Hall seemed to be fouled. The referee waved away the appeal. Then Tasker denied Hall when he saved from point blank range on 21 minutes. The Berkhamsted custodian was once again called on to save a long range effort from Christie.
The breakthrough was finally achieved on the half hour when Danny Jones won the ball and released Christie. As he rounded Tasker he was brought down. Up stepped Cashman to open the scoring. A yellow was shown to Tasker.
AFC were now on the front foot and 6 minutes later a rasping strike from Charlie Gorman was too hot for Tasker and Christie was on hand to fire home the rebound from a tight angle. Tasker was yet again called into action to rescue the visitors, when Jones broke clear but he stood up well and saved. From the resulting corner though he was powerless to stop a Cashman header to make it 3-0 on the stroke of half time.
Half Time: AFC Dunstable 3 Berkhamsted 0
With the half only a minute old, lack of concentration resulted in Josh Chamberlain pulling a goal back for the Comrades. Within a minute though the 3 goal lead was restored. Hall put pressure on Dan Weeks who put through his own goal to make it 4-1 to AFC.
Ten minutes later the game was over as a contest. It was going to end up a bad night for Tasker, as once again he was beaten to the ball by Christie and conceded another penalty. A 2nd yellow card was brandished and off he went. Cashman made no mistake from the spot.
The home side were now pretty comfortable and with the lorded pairing of Campana and Chamberlain upfront for Berkhamsted only feeding off of scraps, it was a case of keeping them in check and see if AFC could add to their tally. Sub Jake Kissiedu had a decent chance to make it 6 but fired just over.
Then with 90 minutes on the clock, another sub Nathan Frater set up a chance for himself. Stand in keeper Tom Carter saved with his feet but sub number 3, Roy Byron coolly slotted home the rebound to make it 6.
As news filtered through that Hoddesdon Town had gone down to a single goal defeat, it made the night even more pleasurable.
Heath was calm but happy at the end of the game saying " I was so proud of my players tonight. To have those comments levied on them hurt. I did not have to say too much and they responded quite superbly. They took it upon themselves to put the record straight and they did it in style"
AFC Team: Perks. Massay. N.Carney. Morgan. Cashman. Jones. Gorman. Olaleye. Christie. Humbert. Hall. Subs used. Frater. Byron. Kissideu. Subs not used. Griffiths. Silvestri
Scorers: Cashman (30p. 44. 58p). Christie (37). Byron (90)