After our cup expoilts on Wednesday, we returned to our sad bad old ways, as we let neighbours Totternhoe complete the double over us. With 4 players not bothering to turn up, the current management team have decided certain players will never turn out for the club again while they are in charge.
Again we led Totternhoe in a game we decided to lose and goals from Richard Harker and Felix Kyermeh could not fend off defeat.
We are now looking at finishing in 5th place at best, which is an embarrasment after claiming the title last season.
With all the recent up's and down's within the team, at last they all bonded to retain the Beds Senior Trophy.
With Caldecote, from The Bedfordshire League, this seasons final saw us as favourites on paper but as last years final when we were the underdogs, we had to be on our mettle to make sure we did not slip up.
The 1st half was a dour even affair, without many chances being created by either team. We did have the ball in the net after 24 minutes through a Ross Morrisey header, but he had been deemed to pushing a Caldecote defender. Our only other real chance came when a superb whipped in cross by Gareth Harnaman was only inches away from James McCarthy's left boot at the far post.
The 2nd half though was a complete different matter as Caldecote had no answer to our passing game as they had their backs to wall. With Richard Harker & Dan Aardi raiding down the left. They were complemented by Gareth Seeley & Craig Butler down the right, as cross after cross had Caldecote's back line struggling to cope as many balls flying around there 6 yard box but no one could turn the ball into the net.
The break through came on 68 minutes when a McCarthy corner was cleared only for Harker to put the ball on Chris Hemmings head. A powerful header resulted as he placed it in the bottom corner.
We continued to press to look for a 2nd and to be honest Caldecote's only real chance of getting back into the game was if our defence decided to go back to there old ways and gift them any chances. Thankfully apart from one slight mistake, they had a quiet night and Caledcote ran out of steam.
The final whistle came and for a mixed season it was good to pick up a 3rd trophy in a row for the 1st team. Also, who would have thought, that Chris Hemmings would be the hero, after his recent run in's with the management team.
Team: Cox. Seeley. Moloney. Hemmings. Harker. Butler. Harnaman. Morrisey. Aardi. McCarthy. Capehorn. Subs Used: Cooper. Taylor. Subs Not Used: Howells. Kinloch. J.Hutchings. Goalscorer: Hemmings Attendance 120. __________________________________________________ 29th March AFC Dunstable 2 Crawley Green 2
Our Jekyll & Hyde formed continued, as after the performance against Kings Langley a muched improved outing saw us all but end Crawley Green's championship hopes.
Having most of the game, once again poor defending allowed Crawley to leave with a point. They took the lead against the run of play when a near post corner was headed home by Merrick. We deservedly drew level through a Felix Kyeremeh penalty on 42 minutes.
The 2nd half we once again had all the ball and camped in the Crawley half. We took the lead with 12 minutes remaining when Richard Harker fired home. Looking to hold out, Crawley did up the pace but we seemed to be comfortably keeping them at bay. Then the defensive frailty popped up again as we hesitated to clear and Singleton gleefully put the ball into an untended net.
An injury blow to Tony Burgess, which will rule him out of the Cup Final on Wednesday, is sad for him as he missed last season's final through inury.
Where last season we could be up for these games, we had no answer to Kings langley's team ethic, as we had plenty of the ball but could not test there keeper as Kings Langley are overwhelming favourites to take our title.
Far play the team does look different from this time last term, but the squad has been added to but maybe retaining the title is not in our make up, as we could not rise to the challenge.
Kings Langley always looked dangerous up front and had that goal scoring threat, but without James McCarthy again our attacking play was toothless.
The management team once again gave the young lads their chance, but maybe this tough game did give them some idea of there futures and the players who have crossed them recently, might think they should knuckle down and secure a cup final place.
Langley took the lead when a Gareth Sealey own goal on 28 minutes gave them a dream start and when Lewis Pritchard beat the offside trap on the stroke of half time, the game was over as contest. Two changes at the break did not make any difference but we did have most of the possesion in the 2nd half without creating any chances. Kings Langley's 3rd came as Joe Cox had an abberation as he passed to Simon Conway to seal the win.
With Rangers drawing with The 61FC last Saturday, we were expecting a tougher encounter but our best performance for some weeks saw us run out easy winners.
With five teenagers in the starting line up, it did seem to freshen up the play and we produced a slick passing game that our guests could not cope with.
With Craig Butler running the game in the 1st half, he was encouraging the youngsters around him and a slick move saw us take the lead through Richard Harker. Rangers keeper kept his team in the game and 1-0 was the half time score.
With only 2 minutes gone in the 2nd half, Harker made it 2 for him and 2 for the team. It was not long to wait for our 3rd when Felix Kyermeh beat the offside trap to cooly slot home.
Richard Harker's day was complete when he registered his hat trick on 87 minutes. Not a bad performance for a left back. Risborough did pull a consolation in the dying seconds.
We now look forward to facing Champions elect Kings Langley on Easter Monday kick off 12pm.
After the excitment of our midweek County Cup success, we came slap back down to earth, as we lost out to a young and well oiled 61 side, who have a great chance of claiming the title.
We did not help our own efforts though, as once again some players turning up the worse for wear and injuries to key players.
61 took a 2-0 lead early in the 1st half and looked comfortable, but at least we woke up and pulled a goal back through Ikeme Ojulah.
The start of the 2nd half saw us have most of the game but could not convert our chances, then we fell for the sucker punch when ex AFC Under 18 player Hayden Wills broke away and made it 3-1. A 4th came with the last kick of the game. 61 deserved their win but 4-1 did flatter them.
We now have the chance to retain the trophy we won last season in a game we dominated for 70 minutes, but only to be hanging on for the final 20 minutes as we set up Arlesey's goal.
Without regular players James Siddons (injured), Richard Harker (holiday), Tony Burgess (working), Dan Aardi (holiday), Lee Loasby (cup tied), Felix Kyeremeh (cup tied) we were down to the bare bones to the fact we could only name 2 subs and played some players out of position.
The home team came roaring out the blocks and hit the bar after only 2 minutes. We slowly started to settle and came more into the game with a James McCarthy strike which just went wide. We now had plenty of possession and we took the lead on 23 minutes when Gary Capehorn put Ikeme Ojulah through who finished cooly.
It should have been 2-0 only 3 minutes later when a similar chance fell to Ojulah but this time he hit wide.
With half time approaching we did make it two when Capehorn rode 2 strong tackles and slotted home from close range.
The 2nd half should have been a walk in the park as we soaked up everything that Arlesey could through at us but stll looked dangerous on the break.
We hit the panic button when a loose Gareth Harnaman pass put in Adam Furness who pulled a goal back. With our hosts tails up and with us starting to go into our shells and making elimentary errors, we had to rely on Joe Cox to pull off 3 outstanding saves to keep us in the tie.
Again defeating a team that is a league above we now meet Caldecote in the final, which will be played at Cranfield United FC on April 2nd.
For the 2nd week in a row, a goalless draw has now all but seen the end of title ambitions and to rub salt in the wound, Kings Langley once again dropped 2 points at Kent Athletic. With Crawley Green winning, it was a good day for them.
It could have been all so different if a perfectly legitimate goal was allowed to stand when Gareth Seeley broke the offside trap in the 90th minute, only for the assistant to flag James McCarthy offside, who was not interferring with play.
9th February AFC Dunstable 0 Old Bradwell United 0
Against a team we beat 10-0 and 5-0 last season, we huffed and puffed and could not break down a well drilled defence. Old Bradwell with only 4 points on the board, in a way they did seem better than that. With plenty of possession, Bradwells keeper dealt with everything we threw at him and when he didn't, the crossbar came to his rescue. With all heads bowed at the end, in came from the results from Kings Langley and Crawley Green who both dropped points against lowly teams.
Team: Cox. Burgess. Moloney. Hutchings. Butler. Harnaman. Seeley. Cooper. Aardi. Loasby. Kyermeh. Subs used: Harker. Capehorn. Morrisey. Sub not used: Kinloch Attendance 28. __________________________________________________ 2nd February AFC Dunstable 1 Aston Clinton 0
In a game, that turned out it seems, that both teams did not want to loose, usally most games against Aston Clinton has plenty of talking points, this was probably the most meek fixture since they came into the SSMFL.
With Aston still having a chance of the title, this game we needed to to win to get some breathing space between us and them.
Losing keeper Joe Cox and Felix Kyermeh to the County Under 18 team, Karl Fisher made the step up from the reserves to tend the goal and pulled off a great save early in the 1st half. Both teams seemed to cancel each other out in the first half as it ended goalless.
The 2nd half was much of a muchness but for a piece of James McCarthy magic as he broke clear on the hour and fired home what was to be the winner.
The scoreline could have been a bit more comfortable if good chances that fell to Gary Capehorn twice and Ross Morrisey had been converted. Saying that though Aston Clinton did have two efforts cleared off the line.
In the end this was a big result, as we increased our lead over Crawley Green, who were surprisingly beaten by Caddingon.
With Crawley Green not in action, it gave us the chance to move up to 2nd place and at last a decent performance was delivered as Tring were dispatched.
Giving debuts to Ryan O'Neil and Felix Kyermeh who was transferred from Kent Athletic in the week, they both had promising games and look like good prospects for the rest of the season.
We got off to a dream start by taking the lead in the first minute, when returning from a 35 day suspension, Craig Butler fired home. It was 2-0 6 minutes later when James McCarthy latched onto a Lee Loasby cross.
Tring were knocked for six but to their credit did get the ball done and started to threaten Joe Cox's goal to the extent they had a goal disallowed on 43 minutes for offside, so we will never know if it would have changed the course of the game and then the nail in the coffin arrived on the stroke of half time when Jon Cooper poked in our 3rd.
The start of the 2nd half saw us make it 4-0 when McCarthy broke clear and rounded the keeper and slotted home. Tring did pull a goal back on 58 minutes but now the time was right to introduce Kyermeh. Top scorer for Kents, he did not take alot of time to open his account with AFC, in fact his first touch made it 5-1.
Tring would not give up and again pulled another goal back but in the last minute Kyermeh scored a great individual goal to round off a solid performance.
What a roller coaster of a game, as we came back from 2-0 & 3-2 down to take all 3 points at a ground we always struggle at.
Kent's started the game the stronger and took the lead on 17 minutes with a dubious offside goal. They stretched the lead 6 minutes later with a slick move which resulted in their 2nd.
We pulled a goal back when James McCarthy put Richard Harker through to slot home on 38 minutes. Another fine move saw us draw level with 3 minutes left until half time. Ex Kent's favourite Lee Loasby got the final touch.
Poor defender from a corner saw Kents once again regain the lead on 63 minutes. The introduction of Jon Cooper saw us have more creativity in midfield and his first touch put through McCarthy to make it 3-3 with 9 minutes remaining. More was to come with 4 minutes left as McCarthy hit home his 2nd to wild scences on the bench and the pitch.
Defending the trophy that sits in our trophy cabinet, we went into the unknown against Meltis from the Bedford League. They surely were going to be an awkward opponent, as they knocked out last seasons runners up Bedford in the previous round.
Our fears were not realised, as quite a solid performance was delivered but we are still not at the level of performance we were putting in this time last season.
We took the lead on 32 minutes when James McCarthy struck a fine right footed bullet. Meltis could thank their keeper for keeping them in the game as he pulled off save after save. Meltis first strike at goal on 41 minutes saw them pull level. Joe Cox failed to hold a free kick and Matty McMahon was first on the scene to hit home.
The 2nd half saw us step up the pace and dominated the half with further goals by Richard Harker and a Ross Morrisey penalty after Kevin Taylor was upended in the box.
Next up is a visit to Division One outfit Arlesey Athletic in the semi final, the date is to be finalised.
This defeat has now seen Markyate concede 93 goals in all competitions this season (only 16 games) and does beggar the question, why are they allowed to stay in the SSMFL, as I am sure it does the league no favours.
It was a game when we did not really get into 2nd gear and to be honest, we were probably more disappointed than Markyate, as we did not score more.
Markayte could only muster 9 players, which in its self is a disgrace.
5-0 up at the break, it took until 78th minute before we added to it.
An unconvincing performance and some poor refereeing decisions, saw us pick up 3 welcome points against a determined Pitstone team. Starting with the same line up as Saturday, we struggled to compete with Pitstone's hard arm tactics. We took the lead right on half time when Jon Cooper slotted home from close range. Pitstone came out of the blocks in the 2nd half and equalised with a quality goal from the impressive Laurence Bunker. The first turning point came when Bunker and Joe Cox went for a 50/50. The ball broke to Semple who rolled the ball into an empty net. However the ref decided a foul was committed and disallowed the goal. Cox admitted after the game the goal should have stood. The 2nd and most important turning point came when the assistant official flagged for a foul to Pitstone. The referee decided to ignore it and Lee Loasby put James McCarthy through to put us 2-1 up. Pitstone's heads now started to drop and it was no surprise when McCarthy added his 2nd 10 minutes from time.
The scoreline in the end was satisfactory but after 55 seconds, it seemed we have carried on were we left off last Saturday. Tring came out the blocks and took an early lead. However we stormed into a 3-1 lead by 17 minutes. Recently released from Dunstable Town, Lee Loasby drew us level and James McCarthy hit a quick brace to put us on easy street. The 2nd half saw Tring pull a goal back through a Chris Hemmings own goal and panic nearly set in but McCarthy completed his hat trick to ease the nerves.
1st December. (SSMFL Division Two Cup 2nd Round) Kent Athletic 2 AFC Dunstable 1
Cup holders Kents ended our interest in this competition once again, as we lost to them in last seasons final. Knowing it would be a tight game as the league game was, our hosts ran out 2-1 winners as the winning goal came in the dying minutes as extra time was on the cards. Kents took an early lead but skipper Gareth Sealey drew us level only to fall to a late goal. __________________________________________________ 24th November. (Beds Senior Trophy 2nd Round) Cranfield United 1 AFC Dunstable 5
Once again, the management team are trying to fathom out their team, as they responded to last weeks poor performance against Crawley, with a super show, which saw a team, a league above us bit the dust. So much so was the performance we raced into a 4-0 lead at the break which took our hosts by surprise. Goals by Gary Capehorn (2), James McCarthy & an own goal saw the tie over by half time. We took our foot off the pedal in the 2nd half but a further strike by Richard Maggott and a consolation from Cranfield saw the game end 5-1.
As holders of the cup, it was a good day as main rivals, Bedford, Ampthill Town, Crawley Green and Brache Sparta all went out.
A massive set back was achieved, as Crawley made no mistake this time in gaining revenge for our Division Two Cup win last month. This defeat has now made it 3 for the season already and the management team are now talking about having decent cup runs to make up for what now looks like a very difficult league campaign.
The big disapointment was that the smallest player on the pitch scored with two headers for Crawley. We found it very hard to muster many chances, which saw us drop to 3rd place with teams now bunching up behind with games in hand. Craig Butler did not help the cause as he saw red.
A new look Padbury team arrived at Lancot Park as a new manager has been put in place. A 3-2 defeat to leaders Kings Langley the previous Saturday meant we had to be on our guard and not be the victim of a shock.
Our fears did not materalise, as we took the lead after only 6 minutes when Gary Ellerton finished off a fine flowing move. Like previous games we dominated the first half without adding to the scoreline, as Padbury's keeper was in inspired form as he denied us time after time.
Hoping not to repeat the Totternhoe 2nd half we made no mistake as further goals by Jon Cooper, Craig Butler & Kevin Taylor saw us stroll to an easy 3 points and consolidate 2nd place.
After last weeks inept performance, the management team decided to bring in new players to the squad and against a very good Kents team it seemed to bring its reward. Tom Moloney and Paul Stanley were the players in question and with Moloney making his debut for the club, many players had to make the sacrifice on the back of the Totternhoe result. Out went Craig Butler & Ikeme Ojulah (unavailable) Gary Ellerton was dropped to the bench. In came Moloney, Gary Capehorn & Chris Hemmings. A new formation was introduced but the watching public were confused by it and Kent's took advantage as they dominated the early stages. An injury to Gareth Harnaman did not help things and Stanley had to be brought on after only 12 minutes. Once again a re-gig was forced upon us and we still took time to settle. We held out till the break, without any real chances falling to either side. To say last Saturday's 2nd half performance would not be repeated, far play to the team as they were the better team in this period. The defining moment was when James McCarthy broke clear on 79 minutes and cooly slotted home. Many other chances came and went, but our 2 most useful ones were when Capehorn turned in a bit of skill and hit the bar and a stonewall penalty was turned down. With out doubt, this was a great result, versus a very good team, which should see at least 5 quality teams up for the title.
27th October. (Match Sponsored By Flexi Staff UK Ltd) AFC Dunstable 2 Totternhoe 3
A massive dent was inflicted on us by neighbours Totternhoe as we look to pick up back to back title's. At the break this scoreline looked like an impossibility. We only lead 1-0 at the interval but we completed dominated Totternhoe and chance after chance went begging as we camped in their half. Only a James McCarthy goal seperated the teams though. Totternhoe came out a different team in the 2nd half and competed a lot more effectively as we struggled to match their blood and guts. Totternhoe drew level through Gary Simpson early in the 2nd half but when Ikeme Ojulah gave us the lead 7 minutes from time, it seemed it would be enough. This was not to be a Totternhoe drew level 2 minutes later. With time running out Glen Sizer secured all three points in the dying seconds to take the points home. To retain the title, we cannot afford many more defeats.
Caddington came to Lancot Park on the back of 4 straight defeats and their run continued, as a blistering 2nd half performance ran them off the park.
With old names on their team sheet from Dunstable Town a few years ago, they did compete valiantly in the 1st half but ran out of steam as the old legs found it hard to compete with young ones.
AFC welcomed back James McCarthy, who was the target for Dunstable Town in the week and Jon Cooper. Out went Kevin Taylor and Jay Hutchings.
The 1st half was an even affair with both sides coming close on a few occasions. We finally broke the deadlock when Caddington's keeper failed to hold a Cooper shot on 44 minutes.
The 2nd half was one way traffic as we dismantled Caddington with ease.Further goals by James McCarthy (2), Gareth Seeley, Ikeme Ojulah & Craig Butler. We even handed Caddington their goal through a Gary Ellerton own goal. More should have been scored, with double figures a possibilty but poor finishing and inspired keeping by Craig Sanders denied this.
We started the defence of the Senior Trophy today, against the same opponents we faced in the 1st round last season but this time at home.
Wholesale changes were forced on us. James McCarthy missed his first game for the club due to injury (has missed one due to suspension), also Chris Hemmings & James Siddons were unavailable and Jon Cooper had an unfortunate incident on Friday night out on the town.
In came Michael Kinloch, Jay Hutchings, Kev Taylor, Craig Butler & Gary Ellerton. Rohan DeRoses dropped to the bench.
AFC started the stronger as Ickwell found it hard to keep up with pace of the game. We had plenty of the ball without really testing Ickwell's keeper. Disaster struck though when on 16 minutes an almighty cock up between keeper Joe Cox & Michael Kinloch presented our guests with their first goal.
We drew level on the half hour mark when a well placed Jay Hutchings header found the net. We got a piece of luck ourselves when Ickwell's centre half Alan Turner put through his own goal on 44 minutes.
With Lewis Doherty replacing the injured Gareth Harnaman, the midfield had to be re-jigged for the 2nd half.
Doherty's input was a instance success as his corner found the head of Gareth Seeley to put us 3-1 up. Ickwells heads could have gone down but they bounced back straight away when the very impressive Danny Fox struck home a crisp right footed shot on the hour.
This did give Ickwell confidence and they showed they can play decent football but they were still very square at the back.
This was exploited, when left back Richard Harker found himself in the centre forward position as he sprinted clear and lobbed the keeper with 14 minutes remaining, to kill off Ickwell.
In the next round we travel to SSMFL Division One outfit Cranfield United.
Team: Cox. Ellerton. Burgess. Kinloch. Harker. Butler. Harnaman. Seeley. Hutchings. Taylor. Ojulah. Subs used: Doherty. DeRoses. Goalscorers: Hutchings. OG. Seeley. Harker. Attendance 42. __________________________________________________ 6th October. (SSMFL Division Two Cup 1st Round) AFC Dunstable 3 Crawley Green 2
Looking not to make another early exit from a cup competition after Tuesday night, AFC progressed to the 2nd round of this cup, but it could have been so different, as we went 2-0 down with 35 minutes on the clock.
3 changes were made from Tuesday. Tony Burgess came in for the unavailable Michael Kinloch, Rohan DeRoses reclaimed his berth due to an injury to Craig Butler and Ikeme Ojulah replaced Jay Hutchings who was on the bench.
We started very brightly and dominated the early exchanges against a team who have scored 17 goals in their last 3 games. We should have taken the lead on 12 minutes when an Ojulah strike hit the post. Having all the possession we did not turn it into goals and Crawley's confidence started to grow.
Crawley took the lead on 33 minutes when a howler by an assistant referee gave a corner when no AFC touch was evident. From that set piece, failure to clear our lines saw Luke Singleton hit home.
Only 6 minutes later it was 2-0 when Joe Cox finally proved he was human, as he made his 1st mistake of the season, when he failed to hold a Josh Welch strike as he palmed it into the net.
Not well known for coming back from behind, we pulled a goal back on 41 minutes when Ojulah stabbed home from close range, which was priceless to raise our confidence. On the stroke of half time Ojulah drew us level after neat footwork by Jon Cooper saw his pin point cross headed home.
We now were on top as we pushed for the 3rd at the start of the 2nd half and it came when a Richard Harker cross was headed home by James McCarthy on the hour. The rest of the game saw both teams huff and puff without any real chances coming. Next up is a repeat of last season's final, when we travel to Kent Athletic looking for revenge.
Team: Cox. Burgess. Siddons. Hemmings. Harker. DeRoses. Seeley. Harnaman. Cooper. Ojulah. McCarthy. Sub used. Ellerton. Sub not used. Hutchings. Goalscorers: Ojulah (2). McCarthy. Attendance 62. __________________________________________________ 2nd October. (Challenge Trophy 2nd Round) St Margaretsbury 0 AFC Dunstable 0 (AET) (Lost 3-1 on penalties)
Looking to take a 3rd Premier team in this competition 3 years in a row, we could not have come any closer, as we failed to convert our penalties. The boys put in yet another superb performance against illustrious opponents, as it just shows, if their systems are clean of the amber nectar, they can compete with any team in the Spartan South Midlands. The only change from Saturday was the return of Gareth Harnaman, who replaced Rowan DeRoses, who was relegated to the bench. Yet again playing a Premier Division side, we were disapointed to see them use the long ball on many occasions, as we played the passing game of which gave our hosts alot of problems. With Harnaman bolstering the middle of the park, he and skipper Gareth Seeley put in a solid performances and outplayed St Margaretsbury's central midfielders. The big worry was maybe we would be found wanting at the back but James Siddons, Chris Hemmings, Michael Kinloch & Richard Harker dealt with anything thrown at them. Of course keeper Joe Cox was once again safety personified. The game, as the scoreline suggests was dominated by the defences but we did have our moments and our best was when James McCarthy had a snap shot which just crept wide. With time running out, we went to penalties and unfortunately it was not to be our night.
Team: Cox. Siddons. Kinloch. Hemmings. Harker. Butler. Harnamam. Seeley. Cooper. McCarthy. Hutchings. Subs used. Wilson. De Roses. Sub not used. O'Brien. Attendance 40. __________________________________________________ 29th September. Padbury United 1 AFC Dunstable 4
With an unchanged starting line up, great expectations was on the cards after last Saturday's wonderful performance. Maybe too much was expected to repeat it but 3 points were secured against one of the whipping boys in the league.
It might be a advantage to have so many young talented players, but when they have a late night up Cubes, it shows up alarmingly on a Saturday afternoon.
At least James McCarthy had seemed to have found his scoring boots again after last weeks off day as he hit his first hat trick of the season. The goal of the game though belongs to Jon Cooper, who hit our 2nd goal with a 25 yard screamer.
This win saw us move up to 3rd but harder games are looming on the horizon, that will test us to the full.
Bouncebackability was acheived after last weeks awful performance. The average age of the team was radically reduced as out went Ikeme Ojulah (34), Gary Capehorn (30) & Tony Burgess (32) all unavailable and in came Chris Hemmings (24), Jay Hutchings (19) & Gareth Seeley (23). The only close age gap was Michael Kinloch in and out went Daniel Liddon, who failed to appear, both 22. Average age of team was only 23.
If we knew what was to follow, Sky Sports Andy Gray would have been speechless with his stats of the game, as we had at least 25 shots on goal, with James McCarthy having half of those. He did though give us a 2 goal lead at half time.
The 2nd half was one way traffic as we consently opened up Mursley but kept missing the target or their keeper making easy saves. Even though we dominated, Mursley still had the odd attack and once again we had to be thankful to Joe Cox for yet another one on one save.
Surely we could add a 3rd, as chance after chance came and went until Jay Hutchings scored with 90 seconds remaining.
Team: Cox. Hemmings. Siddons. Kinloch. Harker. DeRoses. Butler. Seeley. Cooper. Hutchings. McCarthy. Subs used. Hewitt. Ellerton. Scorers: McCarthy(2). Hutchings. Attendance. 61 __________________________________________________ 15th September. Aston Clinton 4 AFC Dunstable 0
A mixture of clinical finishing by Aston Clinton and giving the ball away cheaply, saw our first defeat of the season registered. You could not wish for a more inept 1st half performance and as reigning champions, our hosts must have thought all there birthdays had come in the first 45 minutes. Many were trying to blame attending a birthday party the night before, but still we do not learn from this. Even Chris Hemmings could not get out of his pit to attend the game. James Siddons returned to replace him and that was the only change from last Saturday.It was a shame we could not repeat the result.
The 2nd half did improve but it could not get any worse, as we at least did camp in Aston Clintons half trying to pull back a couple of consolations but to no avail. If we are to retain our title and if we continue with performances like this, we won't even finish in the top half.
We progressed to the 2nd round of the Challenge Trophy, after coming through a potential tough tie against fellow Division Two opponents. Changes made from last Saturday saw Craig Butler come in for the unavailable James Siddons, Rohan DeRoses replacing Jason McGann who moved down to the reserves and starts for James McCarthy & Ikeme Ojulah. Once again we started slowly and had to again be thankful to Joe Cox for keeping us in the game. The lead was taken when a fine move resulted in DeRoses scoring at the far post, which was a carbon copy of his goal against Pitstone on 21 minutes. 8 minutes later Cox was called into action when he thwarted Tring's Steve Smith. Tring then decided to gift us 2 goals, as first James McCarthy then Ikeme Ojulah benefited to see us go 3-0 up with 35 minutes gone. Our host's pulled one back 6 minutes from the break, which gave them a glimer of hope. That hope was dashed though, when an injury to their keeper saw him leave the field of play and now we went for the jugular. 62 minutes had surpassed when Daniel Liddon headed home our 4th and when McCarthy hit our 5th we were cruising. Too much showboating in the dying minutes saw us loose possesion and Tring pulled one back. St Margaretsbury or Kings Langley await us in Round 2.
Four games into the season and we top the table already. Saying that though, teams below us do have games in hand so we are there for the taking. With suspensions and injuries hitting us hard we lost James McCarthy, Gareth Harnaman & Ross Morrisey to suspension. With Craig Butler injured & Gareth Seeley unavailable, it was a chance to blood some of the youngsters. Nick Cole made his debut, as he has stepped up from the Under 18's and we had an unfamiliar looking forward line as Daniel Liddon partnered Gary Capehorn, two midfielders, as Ikeme Ojulah was stuck on the M1. We had to be thankful to Joe Cox, returning to his ex club Pitstone for 2 smart saves early on. We looked a bit disjointed in the 1st half but did play some decent football but no goals for either side at the break. With Ojulah finally making the ground, he replaced Cole, which saw Liddon moving back to midfield. Another debutant was 19 year old Rohan DeRoses who replaced Jason McGann on the right. Now the team had a more balanced look to it. We took the lead on 54 minutes when Ojulah headed home a Jon Cooper cross from close range. Pitstone though equalised 6 minutes later when we failed to clear our lines. Our 2nd was not far away when Michael Kinloch curled in a superb free kick with 72 minutes on the clock. The best was yet to come though, as a slick move involving Richard Harker & Cooper saw them put in DeRoses who finished with aplomb. The game now seemed over but a failed headed back pass by Kinloch saw our hosts pull a goal back in the dying minutes.
A tough fixture over at Princes Risborough awaited us, as we were beaten over there on the same weekend last season. This time we made no mistake with an emphatic win. Lee Loasby, who has returned to the club, made his first start for 7 years and joined James McCarthy up front.
McCarthy seemed to enjoy his new striking partner as a brace from him saw us take a 2-0 lead at the break. Gary Capehorn completed the scoring in the dying minutes to see us move into 2nd place in the league.
On a dreadfully rainy night, we were held to a draw by a very committed Mursley team, which has seen us draw 2 games already this season, compared to only one all last season.
The starting line up saw Gary Capehorn replace Jason McGann from Saturday, but the bench had a stronger feel to it, which McGann being joined by Gareth Seeley, Tony Burgess & Gareth Harnaman.
Playing on a slick pitch, again we squandered many chances early on and was to regret this as the result confirms.
Brave work by James McCarthy saw the ball break to Jon Cooper who rounded Mursley's keeper to give us the lead on 31 minutes. They say games can turn on a sixpence and when Cooper was through again with 90 seconds until the break, this time their keeper read his mind and saved well. From that Mursley went up the other end and Matt Price headed home a bullet.
The 2nd half saw us camp in Mursley's half but were still open to the counter attack and when McCarthy missed a gapping goal only to strike a post, it seemed it was not to be our night.
Two bright spots, Mursley did beat us 5-1 at home last season and keeper Joe Cox had another fine game.
Team: Cox. Siddons. Kinloch. Hemmings. Butler. Capehorn. Cooper. Morrisey. Harker. Ojulah. McCarthy. Subs used: Seeley. McGann. Burgess. Sub not used: Harnaman. Goalscorer: Cooper Attendance 12. __________________________________________________ 18th August. Kings Langley 1 AFC Dunstable 1
A tough opener to the season, as we as reigning champions, took on runners up Kings Langley at a rainy Gaywood Park.
Giving debuts to 17 year old keeper Joe Cox and 18 year old Jon Cooper, the bench also saw two 18 year old's there as well. The starting line up was denied of the two Gareth's Harnamam & Seeley, with also regulars Gary Capehorn and now fit Tony Burgess unavailable. With the team having a young flavour to it, veteran Ikeme Ojulah was given the captains armband on his 120th appearance for the club.
The game opened up with us having the better exchanges and we took an early lead through James McCarthy, who had just stepped of a plane 4 hours earlier. Langley started to put their mark on the game and when Jason McGann tangled with Steve Conway, a penalty resulted. Conway stepped up to take the spot kick but Joe Cox pulled off a great save. The home sides equaliser was on the cards and on the half hour Conway beat the offside trap and at the 2nd attempt got the ball past Cox.
Expecting an onslaught after the break, both teams seemed to be happy with a point and not to lose the first game of the season. In the end it was a point well earned, against a team who will once again challenge for the title.