FA CUP: AFC let lead slip as Swifts force replay

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FA Cup, first qualifying round: Heybridge Swifts 2 AFC Dunstable 2

AFC Dunstable were taken to an FA Cup replay by hosts Heybridge Swifts after a late equaliser at the weekend.

The visitors made the trip to their Ryman League North opponents without influential centre back Leon Cashman, who has suffered a double fracture to his ankle, as Steve Heath’s side contained just four players who started the final game of last season.

Heybridge had knocked out Royston Town 4-1 in the previous round and are one of the favourites in our league for promotion but AFC proved a sterner test.

After a first half that was pretty much devoid of any action, the second period more than made up for it, bursting into life once Adiel Mannion put AFC in front on 50 minutes with a cracking strike.

With the game ebbing and flowing, Jermaine Hall kept up his goal a game record when his strike matched Mannion’s for class.

The official appeared to begin losing control, dishing out a number of yellow cards, as the visitors’ Jason Beck picked up his second booking with 20 minutes remaining as AFC went down to 10 men.

It was now backs to the wall for Heath’s side as Heybridge started to bombard their goal, but it looked like they might add to the lead when a shot from Roy Byron was spilled by the keeper, as Mannion was just denied by the covering defenders.

However, on 82 minutes the hosts pulled a goal back through Lewis Dark and were then level in the closing stages as Michael Toner fired in.

With 10 minutes of injury time played, it looked like Swifts would go on and win it, but they too were down to 10 men when keeper Danny Sambridge saw red for dissent towards the official.

The two teams will now go again at Creasey Park on Wednesday evening, with the draw for the second qualifying round made this afternoon.

AFC: Hamilton, Massay, Murphy, Beck, Griffiths, Silford, Mannion, McGhan George, Hall, Humbert, Christie.

Subs used: B Carney, Byron, Subs not used: Darby, Hankins, Kissiedu.

Attendance: 103.