16th September - Aylesbury FC 1 AFC Dunstable 2
There are a lot of cliches in football and today it seemed AFC used up most of them to secure 3 more points.
Coming up against Aylesbury at the SRD Stadium, the hosts had only registered one point from their first 5 games and they say "when your down the bottom, luck does not go your way". That was the case, as they had the majority of the play with some very good chances to get their first win and were mighty unlucky not to get anything from the game.
AFC boss had the luxury of naming an unchanged starting line up from last Saturday's win over Marlow. It was the home team though that settled quicker into their stride and knocked the ball around very well. Their midfield had plenty of movement to it, as their AFC counterparts found it difficult to compete with. Even in the 1st minute, they should have taken the lead when an unmarked Ben Stevens at the far post headed wide with the goal on offer.
Jamie Head was then called into action on 17 minutes to keep out a Jonny Montgomery effort but no Aylesbury player was on hand to put away the rebound.
AFC finally carved out their first attempt on the Moles goal. A surging run and cross by Courtney Massay found Nathan Frater but he headed his effort wide.
Then on the half hour, how Aylesbury did not take the lead, only they will know. A great cross by Anton Goss was met by Montgomery. Again Head was there to make a wonderful reaction save but this time an Aylesbury player was on hand to pick up the lose ball. From only a yard out Morlese blasted the ball over the bar.
Then the "sucker punch" was felt by the home side. A strike at goal by Jermaine Hall hit Stevens arm and the man in the middle pointed to the spot. Hall converted the penalty to give AFC the lead.
Half time: Aylesbury 0 AFC Dunstable 1
Surely AFC could not put in another 45 minutes like the first and it seemed not, as they forced a corner early on. Then 4 minutes into the half, Aylesbury finally got the breakthrough. With his back to goal, Ty Deacon turned and shot but the ball took a wicked deflection and left Head helpless to stop the ball crossing the line.
It now seemed like Aylesbury would go on and claim a victory. Head was again on hand to keep them out, when a fine shot by Goss was turned onto the AFC post to keep the scores level.
Now it was time for a change for the OD's, as BJ Christie was introduced. With a three pronged attack now, Heath was hoping a bit more pressure could be put on Aylesbury's back four. The desired effect seemed to work, as Hall forced a save from Aylesbury's keeper Weathers in the 77th minute.
As the game was entering it's final stages, the visitors at last were showing a bit more character. They were rewarded for it on 83 minutes. While Head was having a storming game keeping Aylesbury at bay, he now had a partial assist. His free kick from just inside the AFC half, was headed on by Bill Morgan and Christie was on hand to finish off the move.
So with 7 minutes of normal time left and a good chunk of added on time, could the Moles get back into the game once more. They threw everything at AFC but they held on and an unexpected win was registered. They say luck comes in mysterious guises and that bore out, as last season AFC did not have any when a perfectly good Hall winning goal in added on time was chalked off for offisde, when the video evidence clearly showed it was not. Today it was AFC's turn to have fortune on their side.
One more cliche to report, it's a mark of a good team, when to turn in an indifferent performance but still get the win. Also in a strange way, credit must go to the AFC players. Looking second best for most of the game, they still hung in there and competed till the end and were rewarded for that.
A mighty relieved Heath said " even though that was not our greatest performance of the season, on occasions like this you have to give credit to your opponents. I thought they were very good today and how they have not won a game yet on that performance, is beyond me. They looked sharp and if luck was a bit more on their side, who knows what might have happened. On our efforts today, even though we were not really at the races, when you have 3 proven goalscorers in your team, you always have a chance and that was the case"
Team: Head. Massay. Carney. R.Frater (Christie 65). Morgan. Bishop. Murphy. Olaleye. Hall (Mannion 85). Close (Tavernier 74). N.Frater. Subs not used. Silford. Campbell.
Goalscorers. Hall (37p). Christie (83)