SSML Premier Division: AFC Dunstable 6 Berkhamsted 1
Leon Cashman bagged a hat-trick as AFC Dunstable took a huge step towards the SSML Premier Division title with a crushing victory against Berkhamsted on Tuesday night.
With five games now left in the title race, Berkhamsted were without doubt another tough challenge on paper and could put a severe dent in any aspirations, but that never happened and news that Hoddesdon had lost 1-0 to Welwyn, saw AFC open up an eight point gap to second.
Third-placed London Colney can still have a say, as they are 16 points behind, but still have four games in hand, starting with a trip to Hadley this evening.
AFC had to bide their time to wear down the visitors defence at first as they had to be thankful to Carl Tasker for keeping them in the game.
The OD’s have a great shout for a penalty in the first five minutes, when Jermaine Hall seemed to be fouled, but nothing was given, while Hall and BJ Christie were both denied by Tasker.
The breakthrough was finally achieved on the half hour when Danny Jones won the ball and released Christie, who was brought down as he rounded Tasker.
The keeper was shown yellow, before picking the ball out of the net, beaten by Cashman’s spot kick..
AFC were now on the front foot and six minutes later a rasping strike from Charlie Gorman was too hot for Tasker to handle and Christie was on hand to fire home the rebound from a tight angle.
Tasker was yet again called into action to rescue the visitors, when Jones broke clear but he stood up well and saved, although from the resulting corner though he was powerless to stop a Cashman header making it 3-0 on the stroke of half time.
With the second half only a minute old, lack of concentration resulted in Josh Chamberlain pulling a goal back for the Comrades.
However, within a minute the three goal lead was restored as Hall put pressure on Dan Weeks who put through his own goal to make it 4-1 to AFC.
Ten minutes later the game was over as a contest, with Tasker beaten to the ball by Christie and giving away another penalty, before receiving his second yellow of the game.
Tom Carter took the gloves, but Cashman made no mistake from the spot, while sub Jake Kissiedu had a decent chance to make it six but fired just over.
However, the sixth did arrive when Nathan Frater saw his effort saved by Carter only for Roy Byron to coolly slot home the rebound.
AFC boss Steve Heath said: “We knew they have no pace at the back, so we got the ball to our forwards quickly. BJ gave them a torrid time and even though it was Leon Cashman who got the hat-trick, his two penalty awards could quite easily could have been goals as he skipped by their keeper on both occasions only to be brought down.
“I was so proud of my players. To have those comments by Berko levied on them earlier in the season hurt. I did not have to say too much and they responded quite superbly.
“They took it upon themselves to put the record straight and they did it in style.”
AFC: Perks, Massay, N Carney, Morgan, Cashman, Jones, Gorman, Olaleye, Christie, Humbert, Hall. Subs used. Frater, Byron, Kissideu. Subs not used. Griffiths, Silvestri.