10th September - AFC Dunstable 3 Northwood 1
The difference between two very evenly matched sides was the quality of the AFC finishing. The home team went into the game with yet again a raft of changes. While last season only around 16 players pulled on the shirt, AFC boss Steve Heath has used 25 already after only 9 games.
New signings Ollie Cox and Jack Waldren took their places on the bench, Cox though was called into the starting X1 when Adiel Mannion broke down in the warm up. That is now 6 players seeing more of the treatment table than the pitch.
The opening half an hour saw nothing between the two teams. It took another great finish from BJ Christie to break the deadlock. A clearance from the half way line from Terry Griffiths saw the ball make its way into Northwoods penalty area. Waiting was an unmarked BJ Christie who swept the ball home.
With half time approaching, the visitors drew level. Failing to clear their lines, AFC were punished when the ball came back into the box and Ryan Debattista headed home at the far post.
Half time: AFC Dunstable 1 Northwood 1
With driving rain welcoming the players at the start of the 2nd half, Northwood looked the more likely to get the next goal. They had possession of the ball for the opening 15 minutes. Heath decided to make 2 substitutions and that seemed to do the trick. It nearly bore fruit within a minute, when a Christie cross found sub Waldren at the far post but he fluffed his lines.
The OD's only had to wait another minute though to double their goal tally. When Jermaine Hall collected the ball on the edge of the visitors 18 yard box, he looked up and curled a beautiful strike into the bottom corner.
This goal seemed to settle down AFC as they went all out to get a third. It arrived on 81 minutes when Josh Humbert rose the highest to head home a Waldren corner. The game was now put to bed and the 3 points lifted AFC up to 9th in the league.
Heath was happy with the players character in the 2nd half saying "Northwood are a well established Southern League side and will win more games than they lose" On the injury crisis he faces at the moment he commented " in my managerial career, I have never known to suffer so many injuries to key players. Today just summed it up, when Adiel Mannion broke down in the warm up. On the injury front I am hoping to have my captain Moses Olaleye back soon and Newman Carney is back training, so should not be too far away"
Team: Perks. Massay. Bishop. Bailey. Griffiths. B.Carney (Waldren 60). Cox. Byron (McGhan-George 60). Hall (Hankins 85). Humbert. Christie.
Scorers: Christie (31). Hall (62). Humbert (81)