Two extra time goals, saw AFC get past a stubborn and well organised FC Clacton side on Sunday, to progress to the second round of the FA Vase.
AFC boss Steve Heath made a three changes for the tie against opponents from the Eastern Counties Premier Division, with Danny Jones, Josh Humbert and Terry Griffiths coming in to be replaced by Brandon Carney, Roy Byron and Danny Ryan.
New signing Charlie Gorman, who has played for the likes of Hemel, Welling and St Albans, was named on the bench.
Both teams found it hard to create any chances of note in the first half as Clacton’s Jordan Brazitis screwed an effort wide.
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Midway through the period, AFC thought they were in front when visiting keeper Luke Avenell spilt Newman Carney’s free kick while put under pressure and Leon Cashman poked home.
However, the goal was chalked off as the referee deemed Avenell had control of the ball prior to the challenge.
Josh Humbert’s effort was deflected for a corner, but in the second period, a mazy run by Clacton’s Jon Cooper saw his drive fly just wide.
AFC then pushed for a winner with 10 minutes to go as Courtney Massay’s cross flashed across goal and just out of reach of Brandon Carney.
Cashman then broke clear but Avenell was quick off his line to deny him, while the keeper made a wonderful save at full stretch to keep out BJ Christie’s thunderbolt to ensure extra time.
The home finally the lead on 94 minutes and it was route one with a classy finish at the end as Ricky Perks’ long ball was flicked on by Cashman for Christie to lob the advancing Avenell.
AFC then had a second three minutes later as Christie’s shot was saved by Avenell and Cashman netted the rebound.
After the break, Clacton found a second wind and piled forward, as Ricky Perks saved from Charlie Thompson’s header and then collected Kevin Coyle’s free kick.
Cashman thought he had made it 3-0 only to be denied by the linesman’s flag once more as AFC went through to visit either Stotfold or Nemarket Town in the second round.
AFC boss Heath said: “One thing we did not want was a replay as we would have been severely hampered if we had to make the trip to Clacton on Tuesday night.
“There was really nothing between the two teams but on chances created I think we just deserved to go through.
“Their keeper made some top class saves to keep them in the tie, while on the other hand they did start the second half well but without really testing our keeper.”
AFC Dunstable host Hadley in the league on Wednesday night.
AFC: Perks, Massay, N Carney, Bufano, Griffiths, Jones, Cooper, Olaleye, Christie, Humbert, Cashman.
Subs used: B Carney, Gorman, Byron. Subs not used: Ryan, Griffiths.