AFC Dunstable’s title hopes were given a huge boost on Saturday as they won 4-1 at Bedford – and the leaders slipped up.
This fixture was originally played over Christmas but Bedford had fielded an ineligible player, so AFC had to repeat the trip to McMullen Park to replay it.
First time out the teams shared an entertaining 0-0 draw, but this time Steve Heath’s side made no mistake in picking up the three points on offer.
With Hoddesdon Town losing 3-1 at Hertford the result meant AFC closed the gap on the table-toppers to just two points with two games in hand.
Selecting the same starting 11 from the 1-1 draw with Hoddesdon, AFC started on the front foot and dominated the game.
They could have been three goals up at half time but had to be happy with a 1-0 lead. The second half was pretty much the same, as the visitors doubled their lead but still squandered chance after chance.
With 10 minutes remaining, it looked like Bedford were going to spoil a decent performance from AFC when they pulled a goal back, but the visitors scored twice more late on to secure the win.
AFC thought they had opened the scoring on six minutes when Josh Humbert put the ball in the net but he was flagged offside.
They finally took the lead on 14 minutes when a Nathan Frater strike crashed against the crossbar and although Brandon Carney nodded home the rebound but the assistant referee deemed Frater’s initial shot had crossed the line.
The OD’s continued to batter the Bedford goal with BJ Christie determined to add to his 39-goal tally for the season, as firstly he was denied by an upright, then a great save from James Woolf.
A fine run from Christie was ended by Ollie Swan, who was lucky to escape with only a yellow card.
Carney, Frater, Christie and a Leon Cashman header should have made the half time drinks much more enjoyable for AFC fan, but they had to make do with a 1-0 lead.
The visitors’ domination did drop in the second half but anything the visitors could throw at Woolf, he was up to the challenge as he pulled off a couple of wonderful saves.
Finally AFC doubled their lead on 66 minutes, when Charlie Gorman released Christie who raced towards goal.
It was looking like he would be crowded out but somehow his determination paid off to clinch a 40th strike of the season.
The points were looking safe but on 80 minutes a neat move saw Bedford pull a goal back through Nathan Hilaire.
However, from AFC’s 20th corner of the game Woolf misjudged the flight and Bill Morgan was on hand to open his account for the club with four minutes left.
A minute later it was 4-1 from yet another corner, Bedford failed to clear and substitute Jermaine Hall took advantage to complete victory.
Afterwards, boss Heath said: “While we should have been out of sight by half time, Bedford should have no complaints about the scoreline.
“I was happy with the way we responded when Bedford pulled a goal back.”
AFC were due to host Hertford Town last night (Tuesday), then they are at home to Holmer Green on Saturday.
AFC: Perks, Massay, N Carney, Morgan, Cashman, B Carney, Gorman, Olaleye, Christie, Humbert, Frater.
Subs used. Hall, Byron.