AFC Dunstable 2-1 Newport Pagnell Town
FA Cup Preliminary Round, Replay
Tuesday 1st September 2015
Creasey Park Stadium, Dunstable
Newport had a tough task coming into the game, the influential Carney brothers returned to a Dunstable team that had won every match so far this season with the exception of the draw at the weekend that forced the replay. The Swans had to do two things to give themselves a chance of progressing to the First Qualifying Round away to Leiston. Firstly, they needed to improve upon a lack lustre performance in the first game and secondly, they had to try to stop AFC scoring sensation Bernie Christie.
An energetic start from the two teams saw Newport come out on top in the early exchanges. Both sides had half chances until a wild Dunstable clearance saw the ball ricochet back into the path of the on rushing Josh Crawley who’s shot went just the wrong side of the post. Shortly after, Crawley was in the thick of the action again, latching on to a smart through ball from Adam Pryke only to be completely wiped out by the Dunstable keeper, Ricky Perks. The referee awarded the spot kick but did not even speak to Perks when a caution should surely have been brandished. It was Crawley who dusted himself down to confidently slot home the penalty to give Newport a 24 minute lead.
Liam Smyth dominated the midfield and Fazel Koriya showed some fantastic ball control as the Swans comfortably dictated the game for the rest of the half until added on time when a Newman Carney free kick was ushered safely out of play. The same player drove in a fierce corner, Crawley got his head to the ball first only to see it divert into his own net. Newport will have felt aggrieved to have gone in at the break without their lead intact.
Where the first half belonged to Newport, the second belonged to Dunstable. They should have been awarded a free kick in the area when Keith Williams cushioned the ball back into the arms of keeper Mark Osborne, the referee and his assistants were the only people in the ground who thought otherwise.
The Swans gave away too many soft free kicks throughout the half and AFC attempted to utilise their height advantage by bombarding the Newport penalty area with long, high free kicks. With fifteen minutes remaining Jason Beck crashed a header against the post and for a moment it looked as if the ball would creep into the net but Scott Mulkern cleared the ball off the line to save the day. Before Newport had time to draw breath Terry Griffith thumped the ball onto the crossbar.
Newport offered occasional threats to the Dunstable goal, however, Newman Carney and Courtney Massey marshalled the defence well and the Swans were unable to break through.
The game was a tight affair and was destined for a dramatic climax. It was nearly the Swans who won the day when a brilliant defence splitting pass from the impressive Sam O’Neill gave Crawley a sight of goal, not for the first time Massey came to AFC’s rescue with a world class tackle and clearance. Deep into added on time a Dunstable corner was flung to the back post where Beck, desperate to make amends for his dismissal in the first game, managed to head the ball back for Leon Cashman to smash the ball into the back of the net with the last kick of the game.
AFC boss Steve Heath heaped praise on the visitors; “that was well and truly a great FA Cup tie. You have to give Newport enormous credit. I thought on Saturday they were quite average and had the opportunity to kill us off with 10 men but did not, tonight though they excelled especially in the first half”.
This was a vast improvement in performance by the Swans and even though they managed to shackle BJ Christie, this tie was balanced on a knife edge and could have gone either way. Ultimately Newport were made to rue their inability to see off the ten men from Dunstable in the original tie at Willen Road three days earlier. Although AFC won the tie with the last kick of the game to leave Newport heartbroken, the Swans will feel proud that they pushed a good side all the way.
0-1 24 mins Josh Crawley (penalty)
1-1 45+3 mins Josh Crawley (own goal)
2-1 90+2 Leon Cashman
AFC: N Carney, Cashman
1.Ricky Perks 2.Courtney Massey 3.Newnan Carney 4.Terry Griffiths 5.Danny Ryan (15.Jason Beck, 66 mins) 6.Taishan Griffith (17.Danny Jones, 59 mins) 7.Brendan Carney 8.Moses Olaleye (c), 9.Bernie Christie, 10.Johnathon Cooper 11.Leon Cashman
Unused subs: 12.Roy Byron 14.Joshua Humbert 16.Fabio Bufano
Newport Pagnell Town:
1.Mark Osbourne 2.Lewis Smith (12.Scott Mulkern, 26 mins), 3.Keith Williams 4.Stuart Smeathers (c) 5.Adam Pryke 6.Liam Smyth 7.Darryl Smith 8.Rob Tapp 9.Josh Crawley 10.Fazel Koriya 11.Sam O’Neill
Unused subs: 14.Matt Brady 15.Lukasz Filipiak 16.Josh McAdoo
Referee: L Scott
Assistants: J Campbell, J Giles
Photograph courtesy of Kelly Parsons.
© Andy Gunn
Praise from AFC Dunstable: