AFC Dunstable go out of the FA Cup after narrow defeat

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FA Cup first qualifying round: Leiston 1 AFC Dunstable 0

AFC Dunstable came within a whisker of forcing a replay against Ryman Premier Division high-fliers Leiston at the weekend, although ultimately saw their FA Cup adventure ended for another season.

Whereas in the last round, AFC had the fortune of scoring in the 45th and 90th minutes, this time lady luck was not on the visitors’ side, as they were denied by two goal-line clearances.

Boss Steve Heath was forced to make a couple of changes from last week as BJ Christie (wedding) and Jon Cooper (unavailable) missed out, meaning Roy Byron and Billy Baird came in.

After 10 minutes, Newman Carney’s free kick was narrowly wide and Byron fired over the top, but Leiston then picked up the tempo forcing Ricky Perks into a smart save.

Moments before the interval, the hosts were in front as a soft free kick was given away and from the delivery, an unmarked Joe Jefford headed home.

AFC should have been level on the stroke of half time, but Leiston keeper Ashlee Jones somehow kept out Brandon Carney’s flick and the defence cleared the ensuing goalmouth scramble.

After the break, Perks was soon called into action again, making a flying save, while there was controversy on 50 minutes when Courtney Massay’s strike was flicked home by Brandon Carney, but disallowed for offside.

Heath pushed more players forward in search of an equaliser, taking off the already booked Josh Humbert, bringing on Terry Griffiths and Taishan Griffiths, with Leon Cashman partnering Jermaine Hall upfront.

With the game entering the closing stages, AFC fashioned one last chance when Massay’s shot from 20 yards was arrowing into the bottom corner only for Jones to make an outstanding save and Leiston’s back-line slice the loose ball off the line.

AFC are back in action tomorrow evening as they visit Cockfosters in the Dudley Latham Memorial (Premier Division) Cup.

AFC: Perks, Massay, N Carney, Ryan, Cashman, Baird, B Carney, Olaleye, Byron, Humbert, Hall. Subs used: Taishan Griffiths, Terry Griffiths, Jones. Sub not used: Bufano.

Attendance: 161.