Heath pays tribute to his AFC team after title-winning campaign

AFC Dunstable's superb title win last season wasn't just a flash in the pan according to triumphant boss Steve Heath.

AFC Dunstable celebrate winning the SSML Premier Division
AFC Dunstable celebrate winning the SSML Premier Division

The former Leverstock Green manager took over at Creasey Park midway through the 2013-14 campaign and after securing a ninth place finish, went on to lead them to third place the following year.

However, last campaign, Heath masterminded AFC to the top of the pile, as they finished on 102 points, 13 clear of nearest rivals London Colney, to take their place in the Southern League.

He said: “To win a league, it takes a lot of effort from the coaching staff and the players and it’s quite an intense campaign to be honest.

“There was a lot of good teams in the league last year, we were one of the fancied teams, which sometimes makes it harder because a lot of teams are coming to try and beat us.

“But I think our record spoke for itself, we scored the most goals, we conceded the least goals and we only lost four games.

“So for us, it was an accumulation.

“Everyone always looks at it and says what a fantastic run, but it all started 18 months ago, trying to rebuild the team, to get the things put in place as it doesn’t just happen overnight.

“We always knew we had a chance of winning the league with the players we’ve got but early on it was a case of trying to win as many games as we could and then to be fair to the players they came good when it mattered.”

AFC more than just came good too as after a run of four losses in seven league matches around Christmas, their only league defeats of the season, they then went on a superb sequence, unbeaten for the final 22 games of the campaign winning 19.

Heath continued: “We had a little sticky patch at Christmas, but the four games we lost were all within a two week period, although we did have some injuries at the time, so I wasn’t too concerned.

“Others teams like London Colney and Hoddesdon were winning, so going into February, we were sitting third in the league and for some reason, people wrote us off.

“We always felt within the camp we’d be okay, we got the players back when we needed them and I think it was a credit to the players really.

“If you’re going to win a title it’s all about when you go on that run, and we went on a run at Christmas knowing we had to as we couldn’t afford to lose any games.

“Those players had to play under pressure, knowing we had to keep winning and they did, and that’s a sign of a good team.”

The stats behind AFC’s stunning season made for some reading too, as from their 42 games, they won 32, drew six, lost four, scoring 118 and conceding 33.

BJ Christie was the club’s standout performer, bagging more than 50 goals in all competitions, although Heath was quick to pay tribute to the entire squad for their efforts.

He said: “I think we work hard as a group as it’s very difficult to do both, not concede goals and score.

“A lot of teams are either very good attacking and not very good defensively, or the other way around.

“That’s the one thing we took a lot of pride on last year, that defensively we were very strong and that we had goals in us as well.

“Brandon Carney from left midfield scored 18 goals, but he didn’t play the last six weeks as he injured his knee ligaments.

“Between the front four, Nathan Frater, Jermaine Hall, BJ and Brandon, they scored 100 goals which I think is quite good as a partnership.

“It wasn’t just about BJ, we had other lads chipping in with important goals as well.

“It’s nice to finally get to where we wanted, as a club, we feel we really should be in the Southern League and that’s the most pleasing thing for us now.”