Southern League Division One Central: Beaconsfield SYCOB 0 AFC Dunstable 1
A battling draw on Tuesday night was surpassed with a vital three points on Saturday when ten-man AFC grabbed an 84th-minute winner from Adiel Mannion.
Josh Humbert had picked up his second yellow card 10 minutes earlier to make the task an uphill struggle.
Unfortunately, the game will be remembered for the performance of the referee, which took away the spotlight from keeper Ricky Perks, who made three excellent saves and was a big reason why OD’s were able to move into a play-off place after this victory.
The visitors found it hard to get going as SYCOB, who have only one league win so far this term, looked the more dangerous.
Perks was called into action as early as the 17th minute, when he kept out a fine strike .
With AFC finding it hard to build any cohesion, Perks again kept his side in it on the 21st minute.
On 31 minutes the first officiating flash-point surfaced as Brandon Carney broke into the Beaconsfield box and appeared to be pushed. The home side seemed resigned to a spot-kick but the ref disagreed and gave it the other way before brandishing three yellow cards to AFC players.
Both sides tried their hardest to play the game but stoppages and petty decisions ruined the flow.
Chances were at a premium for the visitors and their best opening to that point came ten minutes after the break when striker Jermaine Hall, surrounded by three defenders, put his shot just wide after a delightful Newman Carney through-ball.
The yellow cards continued and AFC found themselves a man down when Humbert picked up his second booking with quarter-of-an-hour still left.
A point now looked a good result and Perks was at his agile best to keep it level.
Then, out of nothing, AFC took the lead. The ball found Mannion who wriggled around two defenders to find the net. It was a similar position to his 90th-minute equaliser on Tuesday night.
Undeterred by one of their own players also being shown red, Beaconsfield went all out for the draw but stout OD’s defended saw out the win.
AFC manager Steve Heath said afterwards: “While I am delighted, the victory seems a bit hollow. Myself and my compatriots on the Beaconsfield bench are still trying to come to terms on what happened out there.”
AFC Dunstable: Perks, Massay, Murphy, Griffiths, N Carney, B Carney, Olaleye, Hall, Humbert, Mannion.