With the title in the bag and the trophy to be presented after the game, this was to be a fun day as the scoreline did not matter.
With many players not available and those who were, it was decided to play the defenders up front and forwards at the back. Even Assistant Manager Dermot Butler played a whole game.
Being 2-0 down after 10 minutes, maybe 6-0 was not a bad result against last seasons champions.
3rd May (SSMFL Division Two Cup Final) Kent Athletic 3 AFC Dunstable 0
With the double in the bag, the chance of the treble was probably a game too far. With tired minds and heavy legs, the team just could not get going.With the final our 4th game in 12 days, this was Kents first game in 12 days and it showed.
This was our first game of the season, were we could not muster a shot on target as the players seemed to be just going through the motions.
Kent's were the better team on the night but all three goals were the result of mistakes. Saying that though, Kent's did create other good chances but Steve Watts was in inspired form.
Our only meaningful time of the game came at the start of the 2nd half. 2-0 down quality chances fell to Gary Capehorn, James McCarthy, Ikeme Ojulah & Craig Butler but unusally all missed the target.
With the season now nearly over, we travel over to Aston Clinton on Saturday for our last game and look forward to picking up the championship trophy for the 2nd time in 4 years.
With Flamstead withdrawing from the league, this was the chance to secure the title a week early and the team made no mistake in taking the championship.
Against a very young 61 outfit we should have taken a 2nd minute lead and relax the nerves but Ross Morrisey's strike was right at 61's keeper. Next chance was not far away as Richard Harker touch in front of goal let him down. We kept flowing forward but all our creation produced nothing. The opener came on 28 minutes, when a sliced clearance by 61's right back fell to Gary Capehorn, who came out best against the keeper to slot home. With half time looming James McCarthy beat the offside trap to slide the ball home to make it 2-0.
The 2nd half was more relaxed but it could have been different as on 61 minutes when Steve Watts made a priceless save and his clearance found McCarthy who made it 3. A fine move produced the 4th when a driving run by Gareth Seeley saw him up ended in the box. McCarthy stepped up to hit the penalty home to secure his 12th hat trick of the season and take him to 70 goals for the season. With time running out 61 scored a consolation with 60 seconds remaining. With the final whistle, the celebrations started in the changing rooms with champagne bubbling. Next up is a tough Division Two Cup Final versus Kent Athletic who beat us 4-0 three weeks ago.
With Kings Langley picking up 49 points out of 51 since we beat them at Lancot Park back in November last year, this was surely going to be a title decider as Langley's form has seen them become probable favourites for the title.
Much expectation was on the cards but in the end both teams under achieved as the game was a disappointment and maybe nerves took centre stage, but maybe we should not expect to play flowing football all the time though a professional job was undertaken.
To be fair to us though, we did play the better football and should have taken the lead on 14 minutes, when James McCarthy rounded Langley's keeper, only to see his shot come back off the bar.
A header by Ikeme Ojulah 6 minutes later seemed to have found the net but it crept over the bar. On 28 minutes we finally took the lead when a McCarthy cross was powerfully headed home by Ojulah. We continued to put pressure on the home sides defence but could not turn it into goals.
The 2nd half started in our favour as Langley's keeper brought down Ojulah on 48 minuts in the box. McCarthy stepped up and struck home the spot kick. The celebrations were cut short, as the referee deemed our players had encroached into the penalty area, so it had to be re taken. McCarthy made no mistake the 2nd time.
It seemed the points were safe but at last our hosts started to wake up but they did not test Steve Watts in our goal. They did pull a goal back on 82 minutes when a free header found the net, as it was their only meaningful chance of the whole game.
With referee adding on 7 minutes of injury time, we held out to take a 4 point lead at the top with 3 games left.
A tough week now awaits us, with The 61FC visting Lancot Park on Tuesday, then the Division Two Cup Final on Thursday and a visit to last seasons champions Aston Clinton next Saturday.
Looking to avenge our 5-1 defeat to Mursley earlier in the season, a workman like performance was delivered, to take all 3 points and see us top the league at the business end of the season. Taking a 1-0 lead into the break through Ikeme Ojulah, a 2nd by James McCarthy at the start of the 2nd half seemed to see us on easy street. Mursley though rallied and pulled a goal back with 15 minutes remaining.
Our 2 goal advantage was soon regained as a Richard Harker cross found its way into the net. Harker completed the scoring to make it 4. It is now all set up for Saturday when we travel over to 2nd placed Kings Langley, where the winner will surely take the title.
Finally we moved above Crawley Green into 2nd place and all but finished their interest in the league title. Having a strong line up available since our Senior Trophy success, we completely dominated the first half with goals by Gareth Seeley, Gary Capehorn & Craig Butler. Much the same could be said of the 2nd half but on this occasion top scorer James McCarthy had an off day. His striking partner Ikeme Ojulah was being more productive and he finished off the scoring with a blistering right foot strike.
With the question, is it a game too far, our main rivals for the league, Kings Langley, have mirrored our season by winning their County Cup but they have played 39 games to our 37. Surely then tiredness should not come into the equation as we make hard work of clinching the league title or not.
We started the brighter against our opponents in the Division Two Cup Final in May and maybe should have been 2 up within 5 minutes. On this occasion James McCarthy for once did not have his scoring boots on.
After that Kent's completely dominated the rest of the 1st half and should have been well out of sight.
Hoping to compete after the break, it did not come about as our hosts carried on were they left off and ran in four 2nd half goals.
In closing we need to get back in form asap or the County Cup will be the only silverware in the trophy cabinet this season.
Team. Duncan. Hemmings. Ewins. Siddons. Kinloch. Butler. Capehorn. Harnaman. Taylor. McCarthy. Subs used. Doherty. Seeley. Morrisey. Sub not used. Cook Attendance 45.
An early kick off greeted us for this Easter Monday fixture against an improving Old Bradwell team, who have had an influx of youth players from Newport Pagnell FC.
After a 10-0 win earlier in the season, Bradwell were more organised this time but it still only took 5 minutes to open the scoring. Since being promoted from the reserves Kev Taylor who is having a purple patch, lobbed Bradwell's oncoming keeper. Only 7 minutes had past and it was 2-0 when Richard Harker hit home. Taylor was involved in our 2nd when he was up ended in the box. James McCarthy struck home the resulting penalty.
The 2nd half was just an procession as two more were added by Taylor to complete his hat trick.
Still having a long injury list, we put the disappointment of Thursday result behind us, to hit MK Scot for 6.
Kevin Taylor was promoted from the reserves and did not let the management team down by hitting a hat trick. James McCarthy matched Taylor with his 3 to take him to 58 for the season and his 9th hat trick of the season.
It was a case of "after the lords mayor show" as local rivals Caddington took the chance to catch us on the back foot after our success in the County Cup Final.
Bedford's strong arm tactics deprieved us of Michael Kinloch, Gareth Seeley, Gary Capehorn & Ikeme Ojulah of which all influential players we would agree. As for the rest, their minds were somewhere else.
With Crawley Green losing to Kings Langley on Tuesday, we had the chance of closing the gap on the leaders, but now Langley have a chance of the title.
Two sloppy defensive errors gave Caddinton a dream start as they took a 2-0 lead after 15 minutes. The turning point of the game came on the stroke of half time came when we were awarded a penalty. Lewis Doherty strike was saved by Craig Sanders.
Ringing the changes at half time, it made no difference as Caddington added two more before Ross Morrisey got our consolation. In the end we were well beaten.
3rd April. (Beds Senior Trophy Final) AFC Dunstable 4 Bedford Valerio United 1
Coming up against colleagues from the SSMFL although a division above us, we entered the game as underdogs.
With the players coming onto the pitch with a mascot each, we as a club tried to bring all ages together to enjoy the evening.
All our plans seemed to backfiring as Bedford came flying out of the traps for the first 5 minutes as we found it hard to compete. Settling down we started to match our opponents and our first attack resulted in taking the lead when Richard Harker hit home. Now realising Bedford's back four were not the quickest our strike partnership of James McCarthy & Ikeme Ojulah were starting to click.
Our 2nd was not far away , 3 minutes to be exact, when McCarthy annoyed Bedford's centre half and keeper which resulted in the ball falling to Ojulah who could not miss from 2 yards.
Our tail was now up and a snap shot from Gareth Seeley nearly made it 3 with only 12 minutes on the clock. We did make it 3 though 6 minutes later when McCarthy ghosted past the Valerio defence, to hit home a left footed strike.
Now we were in dream land. Bedford could just not contain us, as we pushed forward looking for the 4th. A Gary Capehorn shot come cross hitting the bar plus a stone wall penalty, when Harker was smothered by Bedford's keeper, many more chances came and went. The neutrals in the ground thought 5-0 at half time was a fair reflection of the half.
Disaster struck though when Gareth Harnaman saw red on the stroke of half time. As handbags insued after a nasty challenge by Bedords number 11, ref Cliff Campbell decided to send both players off.
The start of the 2nd half seemed to suit Bedford, as more space was available in midfield as Harnaman was bossing that area with Capehorn in the first half.
Saying that though, Bedford's slow back line was exposed again, as Ojulah outpaced them to bravely cross for McCarthy to tap home from 5 yards to make it 4 on 51 minutes.
Bedford did now have a bit of possesion but Chris Hemmings & James Siddons held firm in the centre of defence. Bedford's first meaningful strike came on the hour but it went wide.
Bedford did though pull one back threw a scrappy goal on 71 minutes. Still looking to hit them on the break, many more chances went begging to finish the game off completely. With time now running out for Bedford, we held on to pick up the trophy.
Another impressive 2nd half performance saw us come out on top to keep the pressure on the leaders.
Again, another windy day greeted both teams which spoilt the game. Two gilt edge chances fell to Ikeme Ojulah & Richard Harker but a glaring miss by Ojulah's head and a wind assisted shot by Harker, helped Risborough's keeper to make the save.
Looking to step up the pressure in the 2nd half,it took a sweet goal to open the scoring on 51 minutes. Neat interpassing released Harker whose left footed strike found the bottom corner. Still piling on the pressure, Rangers had no answer as they struggled to get out of their half.
Our 2nd was another neat goal as this time Lewis Doherty chipped in his right footed flick with 6 minutes left on the clock. Looking like 2-0 would be enough a Doherty corner found James McCarthy at the far post to head home on 89 minutes to register our 100th league goal of the season.
After a stuttering start to the game, we came on strong in the 2nd half, but it did seem many players had their minds on Tuesday's final.
With the inform team and reigning champions coming to Lancot park, it was obvious this would be our toughest test so far this season.
Aston Clinton, who had won 10 of their previous 11 league games and fielding a strong side, we had to be on our guard as Aston Clinton were up for the game to dent our championship hopes.
Against the wind, we took a 2-0 lead through James McCarthy his 50th & 51st of the season but after that, Aston dominated for the remaining 20 minutes of the half and pulled a goal back on the stroke of half time by Paul Alleyne.
Looking as it would be a tough 2nd half, we probably turned in our best 2nd half performance of the season.
Thinking Aston would carry on were they left off in the 1st half, we turned the tables and dominated the 2nd half by ripping apart a sluggish Aston back line. We made it 3-1 when a glorious strike by McCcarthy on 47 minutes seemed to relieve the pressure. There was still a twist in the tail, as Aston were awarded a penalty, but Alleyne, who scored 71 goals last season, struck the bar.
Aston were to rue that miss, as within 4 minutes, Craig Butler curled in a sweet left footed strike to finish off Aston.
More was to come though, as we turned the screw and once super sub Lewis Doherty, who is now mega sub, added two more in the final stages of the game to complete Aston biggest defeat for sometime.
We got back to league action after a 3 week absence due to cup ties. In that time we have dropped down to 4th place but the win over Pitstone saw us regain 2nd spot.
It could have been completely different, as we struggled to break down a determined Pitstone side, who did not want a repeat of the 8-0 thrashing we handed them earlier in the season.
With Gareth Seeley, Ikeme Ojulah, Gareth Harnaman & Richard Harker missing, it was chance for Matt O'Brien & Ross Morrisey to get a start and Craig Butler returned after injury.
The game was spoilt by the strong wind and we found it hard to come to terms with it. There was nothing much to report about until the last 10 minutes. Firstly Morrisey day was ruined, when he recieved his marching orders for retaliating to being elbowed. With time running out and looking like it was heading for a draw, a James McCarthy corner was headed home by Gary Capehorn on 88 minutes. Not content on settling for a 1-0 win, a delicious through ball by Lewis Doherty released McCarthy who slotted home from the tightest of angles 3 minutes into injury time. With close rivals Kings Langley drawing and Tring Corinthians losing, this result moved us back to 2nd.
10th March. MK Scot 0 AFC Dunstable 5 (Division Two Cup Semi Final)
We now have 2 cup finals to look forward to after this comfortable win over MK Scot, but we have to be satisfied with dropping down to 4th in the league. As reigning holders of this competition, we were determined to take the chance of defending it. With the tie being carried over from last Saturday, the pitch was still heavy but we had too much for our hosts. Saying that though, it took 26 minutes to open the scoring when James McCarthy hit home. It was 2-0 just 4 minutes later with Gareth Seeley scoring. The game was all but over by half time as Ikeme Ojulah made it 3.
The 2nd half was a canter with further goals by Gary Capehorn and super sub Lewis Doherty. Local rivals Kent Athletic await us in the final after they beat Tring Corinthians last Saturday 4-3.
24th February.(Match Sponsor. WDB Construction) AFC Dunstable 3 AFC Kempston Rovers 2 (AET) Bedfordshire Senior Trophy Semi Final.
It was 3rd time lucky, as we have bowed out at the semi final stage of this competition twice in recent seasons. Although after 78 minutes you would not have thought we would progress to the final as we were 2-0 down.
A repeat of last seasons quarter final which we won 1-0, Kempston were a different proposition this time round though, as this season they are 3rd in the UCL Division One.
Our fears were realised as our guests opened up the stronger and dominated the first 20 minutes, as we struggled to compete with them. Slowly we came back into the game as we kept trying to pass the ball around on an unusually muddy Lancot Park. Both teams were now cancelling each other out and what was to follow was not forthcoming.
Level at the break, Kempston took the lead 2 minutes into the 2nd half, when confusion in our 6 yard box, saw Craig Damon take advantage of our slack marking and scramble home the opener.
At least we woke up after that and started to get on top as now Kempston were finding it hard to come to terms with our passing game. Star man Gareth Harnaman and Gary Capehorn were now pulling the strings in midfield as the pressure built as we forced corner after corner. Open to the counter attack, we did fall for it on 78 minutes. From our own corner Kempston broke away and Damon hit a low powerful shot which hit both posts with the assistant referee deeming if had crossed the line.
It was now time to throw caution to the wind as we went to 3 at the back and threw on Lewis Doherty and Ross Morrisey. What was to follow could be said to be inspired substitutions. We pulled a goal back on 80 minutes when top scorer James McCarthy rounded Kempston keeper and rolled home. Now completely on top, we should have equalised 3 minutes later, when great work from McCarthy pulled the ball back for Capehorn who dallied on the ball and his shot on goal was blocked.
Was that to be our last chance?. Still piling on the pressure, we deservedly pulled level when Morrisey reacted first in a goalmouth scramble to hook in the leveler with 5 minutes remaining.
Now entering extra time, we still kept moving the ball about but Kempston were still very dangerous on the counter attack and when Doherty had a carbon copy chance that fell to Capehorn earlier, it seemed penalties were on the agenda.
That was not to be, as another goalmouth scramble resulted in Doherty poking home on 116 minutes, which saw elation as he was submerged under the whole team. The game was not over though as Kempston had one more chance but this time we held firm.
As the final whistle blew, hysteria broke out as we realised we had pulled off the great escape.
Gareth Harnaman picked up the match sponsors Man Of The match but he was pushed hard by defender Lee Ewins. Next up is Bedford United in the final who thrashed Caddington 6-2 in the other semi final on April 2nd at Leighton Town FC, Kick Off 7.45pm.
To put the icing on the cake, Crawley Green were beaten 3-2 by Loughton Orient in the league. We are now 6 points behind Crawley with 5 games in hand.
17th February. AFC Dunstable 3 Tring Corinthians 1
Being 2-0 up after an hour on the clock, a dubious penalty decision to Tring with 15 minutes to go, brought them back into the game, when they did not have a sniff of getting anything from the game.
With Tring lying in 3rd place, a win would have seen them leapfrog us and take up 2nd spot. Both teams opened up confidently and passed the ball round crisply. The game was turning out to be of good quality. Early on a break by Ikeme Ojulah saw him put in a low cross but no one was in the box to tap home. We still had most of the pressure and Tring's keeper was the busier of the two.
We opened the scoring when a hand ball saw us having a free kick on the edge of the box. Jon Cook curled the ball round the wall and it sneaked in on 32 minutes.
Still looking the more dangerous, we seemed to put the game out of Tring's reach when Ojulah fired home from close range on the hour.
The game could have changed when a dubious penalty was awarded to Tring, which was converted by the impressive Luke Byrne with 15 minutes remaining. This gave Tring some belief as they punted the ball forward looking for the equaliser without testing Steve Watts in our goal. With 5 minutes left on the clock, man of the match Ojulah broke clear to set up James McCarthy to roll in his 46th goal of the season to break Tring's hearts.
Alot of credit must go to our visitors today, who have made massive strides this season and it was refreshing they came to Lancot Park and wanted to play football and not kick us off the park, which resulted in a quality game.
Getting back to playing on a decent surface, our form returned after last weeks reverse.
Loughton came to Lancot Park looking to make ammends for the 10-0 thrashing we gave them earlier in the season. They did hold there own for the first 20 minutes as they knocked the ball about confidently. A through ball by James Mccarthy set up Ikeme Ojulah to open the scoring midway through the 1st half. With 6 minutes remaining of the half the game changed completetly as we scored 3 more times. Ojulah added another, with McCarthy hitting a brace.
4-0 at the break, Ojulah completed his hat trick from the penalty spot on the hour. McCarthy also got his 3rd from the spot to get his hat trick. Our 7th was an unfortunate own goal by Loughton's keeper as he punched Jon Cook's corner into his own net.
History repeated itself when this time last season we beat Kings Langley in the Division Two Cup, then lost to them in the league the following week. This time it was Totternhoe's turn.
Looking like we were fielding a stronger side than last week, Totternhoe made at least 5 changes and on paper looked a weakened side. The first half beared that out as many chances went begging.
Confident we could up the pace in the 2nd half, Totternhoe had not read the script and completely dominated the half. Once again ex OD Scott Covington got on the score sheet to open Totternhoe's account. The 2nd was a delightful strike from Lee Froment who turned out for our under 16's last season. Ryan Bishop completed the scoring. On top of that, the home side also hit the woodwork twice in the 2nd half. All in all in the end it was damage limitation to keep the score at 3-0. There was some silver lining as Crawley Green were knocked out of the Division Two Cup by MK Scot, who we will now face in the semi final. Maybe Crawley are going through a tough time as well. Team: Watts. Ewins. Burgess. Siddons. Harker. Butler. Seeley. Morrisey. Capehorn. Ojulah. McCarthy. Subs Used. Cook. White. Hemmings. Subs Not Used. Harnaman. Kinloch Attendance 41.
20th January. AFC Dunstable 3 Totternhoe 2 (Division Two Cup) (AET)
A piece of Gary Capehorn magic, 5 minutes from the end of extra time, saw us sneak into the semi final of the cup we won last season.
With Totternhoe fielding many ex OD's, they will feel hard done by, as they probably deserved to take the game to penalties after coming back from 2-0 down.
A solid 1st half performance saw us take a 2 goal lead with a brace from James McCarthy. His first came as he nodded in with his nose on 16 minutes. Getting over the pain, he latched onto a Ross Morrisey through ball and cooly slotted home 12 minutes later.
With Totternhoe ringing the changes at the break, they took off some old legs replacing with younger ones.
That changed the game as they dominated the 2nd half. Ex OD Scott Covington and record scorer for the club had a big part in the comeback. Firstly a neat turn and shot on the hour he pulled one back. Totternhoe's 2nd was a bit controversial though. Steve Watts had pulled off a great save but as he scrambled to collect the ball, a slight touch on Covington saw him fall to the ground and the referee, who had a very poor game, awarded a penalty. The impressive Matt Myatt hit home the spot kick.
Totternhoe were now favourites to progress but they found Steve Watts in great form as he denied them.
Now we entered extra time and as penalties loomed up stepped Capehorn to lob Totts keeper Craig Linney with time running out. Totternhoe through every thing at us but we held out to make our 2nd semi final of the season.
We progessed to the semi final of the Bedfordshire Senior Trophy with a stuttering performance. Our guests turned up at Lancot Park looking at damage limitation as they lined up 4-5-1. The wind did spoil the game as it was a great leveler as we struggled to get into our usual rhythm.
A scrambled opener by Tony Burgess on 21 minutes saw us take the lead. Oakley should have drawn level when keeper Steve Watts and Burgess got into a pickle, but Oakleys striker could not take advantage. They paid for that miss as Richard Harker fired home just before the break.
The game now all but over now and we just went through the paces in the 2nd half. What did light up the half was our 3rd goal. Neat inter play between Chris Hemmings and Craig Butler resulted in James McCarthy hitting home a rasping drive on the hour. His strike was his 40th goal of the season.
Next up is a tough tie against AFC Kempston Rovers from the UCL who beat Kent Athletic 4-1.
For the 3rd time this season we have equalled our record win but we still cannot beat it.
We raced into a 3-0 lead after only 12 minutes, with James McCarthty hitting all three. To make the 1st half his own he converted a penalty on 36 minutes to make it 4 by the break.
With bright sunshine in the first half, the weather took a massive nose dive as the storms set in for the 2nd. Further goals by sub Kevin Taylor(2), Gary Capehorn, Anthony White, Tony Burgess and another by McCarthy made it 10, but the latter goals were getting hard to make out as the game finished in pitch darkness.
A lethargic win over local rivals Caddington kept the pressure on Crawley Green at the top.
Having the majority of the possesion, it seemed the opening goal was not going to come. A stroke of good fortune on 21 minutes though saw us take the lead, when a Gary Capehorn shot took a wicked deflection and wrong footed the Caddingon keeper. Still pushing forward, we did not look like adding a 2nd for the remainder of the half.
After the break the same trend continued and it looked like we would have to be satisfied with a 1-0 win. It all changed though when a brave James McCarthy went in where it hurt with Caddingtons keeper and right back and came away with the ball and rolled it into a empty net with 9 minutes left on the clock.
After the debacle of the Mursley game and having last Saturdays game called off, probably the last thing we needed was the visit of undefeated league leaders Crawley Green.
Our fears were realised as Crawley took an early lead through Dean Bull(12). We hit back straight away when James McCarthy hit home. We continued to cause the leaders many problems for the remainder of the half.
Crawley picked up the pace at the start of the 2nd half and started to get on top. The turning point of the game came when a bad injury to Gareth Seeley seemed to affect Crawley more than us. Ikeme Ojulah replaced Seeley and it only took him 6 minutes to change the game when he made it 2-1 on 81 minutes. The icing on the cake came when in the dying minutes when McCarthy made it 3. Now only 5 points behind the leaders with 4 games in hand, we enter Christmas in a strong position.
Team. Watts. Hemmings. Burgess. Siddons. Harker. Butler. Seeley. Harnaman. Cook. Capehorn. McCarthy. Sub used, Ojulah. Subs not used, O'Brien, Kinloch. Scorers; McCarthy(2).Ojulah. Attendance: 46
9th December. AFC Dunstable 1 Mursley United 5 (Match Sponsor: IAF Services Ltd. Matchball sponsored by Alex Butler)
Our championship hopes took an almighty bash as Mursley came to Lancot Park and fully deserved to take home the 3 points. Maybe it would have been a different story if we would have taken our chances early on, as Gareth Seeley hit the bar,James McCarthy's close range header was saved and Craig Butler some how missed from 2 yards. We would rue these chances, as when Mursley had their first attack they found the back of the net on 21 minutes. To make things worse, our guests made it 2 on 39 minutes. There was some conflict concerning this goal as a Mursley player was down injured and as we waited for them to put the ball out, they continued play and went on to score.
Now was the time to see what we are made of and could we get back in the game. Mursley though had different idea's and went 3-0 up 6 minutes into the 2nd half. We were now open to the counter attack and when Bob Nixon completed his hat trick, we had given up the ghost. Craig Butler did pull a goal back with 8 minutes remaining, but that was not the consolation as Mursley had one more attack and made it 5-1.
Too many players had an off day but that was to take nothing away from Mursley, who came with a game plan and executed it perfectly.
Another trip to a Bedfordshire League outfit saw us progress to the Quarter Finals of the Bedfordshire Senior Trophy. A contender for goal of the season by Michael Kinloch saw us take the lead early on. A 2nd by Gary Capehorn just before the break saw the writing on the wall for Sharnbrook. Many more chances came and went but we had to be satisfied with 2-0. The trend carried on after the break but we only added one more through James McCarthy. A home tie against Oakley Sports from the same league awaits us in January.
18th November. Old Bradwell United 0 AFC Dunstable 10
Having broken the 1st team record earlier in the season, we matched it again with this result. Again James McCarthy stole the show with hitting 5, to take him to 30 for the season already.
With the final score of 10-0, it was not the case in the 1st half as the scoreline was only 3-0 at the break. Richard Harker opened the scoring on 12 minutes, then Chris Hemmings scored his first goal for the club. McCarthy got the first of his 5 as the 1st half came to a close.
The fireworks all came in the 2nd half as McCarthy hit another 4, Ikeme Ojulah notched a brace and Gareth Seeley continued his customary goal.
After last weeks inept performance, we got back to winning ways with a solid performance against Kings Langley, who have given us problems in the past. The sad news is the loss of cenre back Marc Kefford. Marc has taken up a post in Dubai and will be away for 18 months.
As first thought, Langley did cause us some headaches early on, as they should have taken the lead on 12 minutes when they hit the post. They paid for that chance as within 2 minutes Gareth Seeley gave us the lead. 10 minutes later we had made it 2 when confusion in the Kings Langley defence saw James McCarthy head home. McCarthy was saving his best goal for his 3rd when a rasping 25 yard strike gave the keeper no chance.
The 2nd half opened up as the first ended. A sublime through ball by sub Michael Kinloch saw McCarthy latch onto it and lob the advancing keeper to complete his hat trick. He still was not finished as he rounded the keeper to make it 4 for himself and 5 for the team. In the dying minutes defender Tony Burgess came up for a corner and stabbbed home from close range. Now up to 2nd place, we are 1 point behind Crawley Green with 2 games in hand.
4th November. Aston Clinton 2 AFC Dunstable 1 (Challenge Trophy 2nd Round)
Coming up against last seasons Division Two champions, who have struggled in the league this season, proved that we are not invincible as maybe we thought we were. With only one change from last Saturday, Mutsa Magadah was promoted from the reserves as Ikeme Ojulah was not available. Magadah should have been an instant hero after only 20 seconds when James McCarthy robbed Aston's skipper. He put Magadah through but he blasted his shot over the bar. With some of the team struggling due to a late night as they celebrated Craig Butler's 21st the previous night, we did not get into our usual stride as our hosts started to dominate. They took the lead from a corner as defender Francis had a free header on 24 minutes. It was 2-0 when a Neil Roberts strike sneaked in as Steve Watts misjudge the shot. We pulled a goal back when in form Gareth Seeley headed home on 41 minutes. The 2nd half was quite an even affair but we could not find the back of the net to take the game into extra time. Our 8 match winning run has now come to an end and up next is a very difficult league game against Kings Langley.
After hitting Markyate for 9 last week, we returned this time in the league and what looks an easy win again, was not the story for the first half hour. Markyate opened up much quicker in this game and chased every ball, which resulted in them opening the scoring on 4 minutes, when Richard Harker put through his own goal. We could not get our game going as we got more & more frustrated but a piece of sublime skill by Gareth Seeley drew us level as he volleyed home on 31 minutes. It was 2-1 three minutes later when James McCarthy was up ended in the penalty box and he scored from the spot. Now we were on top and when Ikeme Ojulah scrambled home a Seeley cross to make it 3 at the break it was now how many shall we get.
Straight after the break it was 4 when this time Seeley hit another volley into the top of the net. It was now one way traffic as 2 quick goals from McCarthy and Marc Kefford made it 6-1. We could not match last Saturdays 9 but came close when McCarthy completed his hat trick and Ojulah secured a brace.
21st October. Markyate 0 AFC Dunstable 9 (Division Two Cup, 2nd Round)
Yet another massive scoreline was registered as we moved into the 3rd round of the Division Two Cup. It took 12 minutes to open the scoring, as Tony Burgess once again stood in as a striker and notched after great work by James McCarthy. A purple 8 minutes saw us hit 3 more, 2 by Gareth Seeley and 1 from Jon Cook. Seeley completed his hat trick on the stroke of half time. 5-0 up at the break we added 4 more through James McCarthy, Gary Palmer, Jon Cook and Richard Harker. Up next is a repeat of the final from last season as we will come up against Totternhoe for a place in the semi final.
14th October. Ickwell & Old Warden 0 AFC Dunstable 3 (Beds Senior Trophy 1st Round)
We travelled over to the north of county to face a new team that has gained entry into the Senior Trophy. Ickwell who play in The Bedfordshire League, unfortunately their facilities did not meet the usual standard we are used too. With no dug outs, technincal area and with the pitch not being roped off, it felt like a step back in time. Saying that though, it is not Ickwell's fault, as it is the Beds FA who make the rules.
The game was a complete one sided affair, as we dominated the possesion but could not turn it into goals in the 1st half.
The 2nd half though we finally turned the screw and took the lead through emergency striker Tony Burgess. With Gary Capehorn out through injury, Burgess was an able stand in and hit the back of the net after 48 minutes. Top scorer James McCarthy was having a frustrating afternoon, as by the time he hit our 2nd should have secured a hat trick with some easy chances. On the hour though he did convert our 2nd with his hardest chance.
Ickwell's main threat was the long ball game, this was easily dealt with by messer's Hemmings, Siddons, Kefford & Harker. Our 3rd goal put the icing on the cake as Marc Kefford fired home a right footed drive. Next up is an away tie against Sharnbrook who also compete in The Bedfordshire League!!!!.
Its 5 wins on the bounce now, as we defeated much improving MK Scot, who have held leaders Crawley Green and beat 3rd placed Kent Athletic in recent weeks.
Hoping to continue our pleasing on the eye football, this outing was not as flowing as usual, as Scot's did not give us a minute's peace, as they chased and closed us down at every opportunity. The weather conditions (wind) did not help but we still tried to keep the ball on the ground. With the scoreline at the break looking goalless, Craig Butler changed all that when he unleashed a 25 yarder which gave MK's keeper no chance with 5 minutes remaining. Previous to this Gary Duncan did pull off 2 smart saves, to keep out our opponents lively forwards.
The 2nd half we controlled as we looked to consolidate our lead. With an hour on the clock we put the game out of reach of MK as James McCarthy headed home. Keep ball was now the order of the day as we saw out the win.
Team. Duncan. Burgess. Siddons. Kefford. Harker. Butler. Seeley. Harnaman. Cook. McCarthy. Capehorn. Sub used. Ojulah. Subs not used. Huntly. O'Brien. Scorers: Butler. McCarthy. Attendance 32.
30th September. AFC Dunstable 3 Kent Athletic 0
A polished performance, saw off 2nd placed Kent Athletic, as we leapfroged them into 2nd spot in the league. The only change from last weeks win, saw Tony Burgess replace Matt O'Brien who reverted to the bench.
A fine first half performance had Kents chasing shadows and a glorious opener by Richard Harker capped the half. Great work by James McCarthy out wide delivered a stunning cross for Harker to volley home. More chances came and went but Paul Yeomans in the Kents goal kept the score down.
The 2nd half was a bit more even, but we had the cutting edge up front and on the hour McCarthy made it two. Kents still did not really threaten our goal and when sub Jason Huntley made it 3-0 in the dying seconds, a great win was secured.
23rd September. Pitstone & Ivinghoe 0 AFC Dunstable 8
After smashing a record last Saturday, it was again on the cards to repeat the feat as we roared into a 5-0 lead by the break. Once again we scored early doors as James McCarthy finished off a flowing move. McCarthy was the supplier for our next 2 goals as Gary Capehorn & Jon Cook benefited. More was to follow as Carthy hit his 2nd and when Gareth Seeley got in on the act a superb 1st half performance was complete.
Pitstone stepped up the pace after the break and did have the ball for the first 15 minutes of the 2nd half, but we hit them on the break when McCarthy completed his hat trick. Another from Capehorn made it 7-0 and McCarthy finished off the scoring to make it 8.
Its now 22 goals in our last 3 games with only conceding the one. With leaders Crawley Green dropping 2 points we closed the gap and consolidated 3rd spot.
16th September. Loughton Orient 0 AFC Dunstable 10
A new 1st team record was set as we stormed to a stylish win. It should have been a bigger scoreline, as we hit our 9th goal with still 17 minutes remaining and all this was achieved with 10 men for the 2nd half, as keeper Gary Duncan was dismissed on the stroke of half time for hand ball outside the penalty area, even though the ball struck him on the chest. We stormed to a 4-0 lead at the break with goals from James McCarthy, Marc Kefford & Gary Capehorn(2).
Maybe looking to consolidate in the 2nd half with a man down, Capehorn donned the gloves, we continued to press forward and McCarthy completed his hat trick. We changed keepers again to give Capehorn a chance to get his hat trick as McCarthy went between the posts. More goals kept coming as Capehorn hit 2 more and subs Ikeme Ojulah & Chris Goulding completed the scoring. With Loughton lying in 3rd place before the game, we did expect a tougher game, but turning on the style they had no answer to our passing game.
12th September (Challenge Trophy 1st Round) Royston Town 1 AFC Dunstable 4
Hoping to field a strong side, we fancied our chances against Premier Division strugglers Royston Town. With Ikeme Ojulah the only 1st choice player missing, we had the chance to go all guns blazing at Royston and took the lead after only 3 minutes. Slack defending by Royston's captain saw James McCarthy nick the ball of him and cooly slot home. With the forwards of McCarthy and Gary Capehorn not giving the home defence any peace, the two linked up to double our lead on 21 minutes, when Capehorn feed Mcarthy who volleyed home. Royston did not know what had hit them and did not really test Gary Duncan in our goal until 2 minutes before the break. Before that though we had made it 3-0 when a Jon Cook free kick found it's way into the corner of the net.
Expecting Royston to up their game, they did pull a goal back through a Marc Kefford own goal only 90 seconds after the break. Royston now had the belief they could get back in the game and they had plenty of possession but did not test Duncan. We finally put the game to bed when Gary Capehorn hooked in from close range to see us progress into the next round. The only down side of the evening was the red card for sub Lewis Doherty, who was only on the pitch for 2 minutes.
What looked like an easy 3 points against bottom of the league Padbury, could have resulted in a shock defeat.
United took a 3rd minute lead when a wind assisted freekick found its way into the net. Numerous chances came and went as we tried to draw level, but with Padbury's 2nd attack on 23 minutes they went 2-0 up after a poor clearance. We continued to pepper the Padbury goal, but found their keeper inspired or other chances not hitting the target. We finally pulled a goal back through Marc Kefford and when James McCarthy drew us level on 38 minutes, it should have set us up after the break.
The 2nd half was a closer affair as Padbury started to make chances. We should have taken the lead on 65 minutes when a McCarthy curler struck the upright. We finally took the lead when a Jon Cook freekick tricked Padbury's keeper and flew into the net with 6 minutes remaining. Thinking we had won the game, poor defending from a corner 2 minutes later saw Lloyd Alara poke home. It could have got worse with seconds remaining, when Karl Fisher got us out of jail keeping out Alara when he was one on one.
Losing out to Risborough on Saturday, we needed to get back to winning ways against next door neighbours Totternhoe.
Looking at the starting line up, many 1st choice players were missing which would have filled a good team. Those who were absent included captain Tony Burgess(work), Gary Duncan(suspended), James Siddons(injured), Marc Kefford(?), Gareth Seeley(in Newquay), Richard Harker(in Bulgaria), Gary Capehorn(in Brighton, but made the 2nd half), Jason Huntly (?) Ikeme Ojulah(on tour) & Steve Armstrong(suspended).
With Totternhoe missing some experienced players, thankfully we had the stronger squad to come out with all 3 points. Making ex Totternhoe James McCarthy captain for the day, he didn't let down his team, as he latched onto a Aaron Smith flick to chip Craig Linney in the Totternhoe goal after only 4 minutes. Looking to take an advantage of our early strike, Totternhoe upped there game and drew level on 16 minutes through ex youth AFC Joe Wilmott. Not much happened for the rest of the half.
The 2nd half was open to who wanted it the most. With Gary Capehorn replacing Peter Hallam at the break, his experience boosted the team. Playing at centre half, not his usual position, he settled the team down and we had the better of the 2nd half. With 62 minutes gone a superb McCarthy goal saw us take the lead. With the chance of it turning into the James McCarthy show, Lewis Doherty decided to get into the act by making it 3-1 on 81 minutes. The only down side was the sending off of 18 year old Christopher Golding in the dying seconds due to comments at the referee.
After two resounding wins, we came crashing back down to earth with this disappointing result and performance. With injuries to James Siddons and Ikeme Ojulah, we also lost the benefit of midfield stars Gary Capehorn, Gareth Seeley and Richard Harker. Into the team came Marc Kefford & Jason Huntly. Our hosts took the lead after only 4 minutes when a shot from Craig Fraser slipped under Gary Duncan in our goal. To make things worse, poor marking let in Mark Williams who made it 2-0. We now had to step up the pace and to our credit we did. Many shots on target were fielded well by Risborough's keeper, as everything we threw at him he confidently dealt with. The one mistake he did make though resulted in our goal. Instead of catching a Jon Cook corner, he decided to punch clear. The ball fell to Gareth Harnaman who hit home on the stroke of half time.
The 2nd half saw us dominate with James McCarthy coming close on two occasions. He should have scored at least one but it was not to be our day. More chances from Aaron Smith and Tony Burgess came and went, so we left Risborough with nothing.
With the rain pouring down, we took all 3 points, in what looked to be a tough game, after our hosts only lost to the new look Caddington on Saturday. We took an early lead when Jon Cook struck home from close range on 6 minutes. We continued to boss the game and when Gareth Seeley sprung 61's offside trap 32 minutes in, Ikeme Ojulah picked up the lose ball to fire home. Poor defending 3 minutes later let 61 back in the game, but we soon regained our 2 goal advantage when James McCarthy struck the 3rd. With Ojulah being replaced by Steve Armstrong at the break, he made it 4 with his first touch. The subs now started to take control and Aaron Smith made it 5-1. Our hosts pulled another one back with 4 minutes remaining, but Armstrong had the last laugh when he notched from close range to complete the scoring.
What looked like a tough opener against the team who did the double over us last season, we cantered to an easy win.
Last term saw Tring having the advantage of facing us on both occasions with very under strength teams, but this time we fielded a stronger side but was still missing last seasons top scorer Steve Armstrong and Player Of The Year Lee Ewins. Making there debuts for the club was James McCarthy and Gary Duncan. Welcoming back Gareth Seeley after a long injury from last season and Gary Capehorn returning from Dunstable Town, we came roaring out of the traps and took the lead after only 3 minutes when Ikeme Ojulah broke clear and was clipped by Tring's keeper in the penalty box. Lewis Doherty stepped up to hit home the spot kick. Ojulah was proving to be a thorn in Tring's side and when he latched onto a Craig Butler through ball on 22 minutes, he held his nerve to slot home.
Waiting for our hosts to come at us after the break, we made it 3-0 six minutes into the 2nd half. A defence splitting Capehorn pass put McCarthy through and he made no mistake.