Rovers beaten but battled well
With both sides out of the FA Cup this fixture, originally scheduled for New Years Day 2018, was brought forward and enabled both sides to keep their run of games going at this early stage of the season. AFC were first to settle into their game and were commanding more possession in the early stages of this match. The first time AFC made serious inroads into the Rovers back four came in the 12th minute when Jermaine Hall pounced on a loose ball and drove past at least two static Rovers defenders to fire AFC into the lead. Barton quickly threatened an equaliser on 18 minutes but Josh Oyinsan fired straight at Jamie Head when it looked easier to score. Nathan Olukanmi was prominent on Rovers left and was being well supported with some sterling football by Ryan Haugh but, as with recent home games, Rovers were failing to find that elusive final scoring touch despite some good lead-up work. Ryan Haugh did come closest for Rovers in the 35th minute with a powerful shot that smacked back off a post. Local derbies come hand in hand with some committed tackling and both Salam Amoaki of Rovers and James Bishop of AFC were cautioned for over-zealous and late tackles in the 20th and 40th minutes respectively.
HT Barton 0 AFC Dunstable 1
Rovers came out after the re-start looking a little more determined and took the lion's share of possession with Amoaki and Charlie Payne a little more prominent in midfield. However, as in the first half, Rovers real threat was coming from Haugh on the left side and he sent in any number of telling crosses which, other than Oyinsan, no Rovers player seemed able to get on the end of and,consequently, Rovers tab remained at zero. We had a rash of substitutions with both Marcus Campbell and Tom Silford replacing Mannion and Bircham for AFC plus the introduction Jet Esso for Salam Amoako before Head in the AFC goal was called into action in the 84th minute when he touched over a good headed effort from Odofin. Shortly after the resultant corner was cleared AFC raced to the other end of the pitch and a right wing cross was fired home by Tom Silford to clinch the match and three points for AFC Dunstable. Without a win in three home games, Rovers surely have to lift their performance levels and build some confidence but are faced with a difficult one away to Moneyfields FC a week today in their next fixture.
FT Barton 0 AFC Dunstable 2