FOR the second successive Tuesday evening, WGC slipped to defeat, but unlike the rumbustious seven goal thriller of last week, when Dean Barker’s young Clarets were overpowered by promotion-seeking Corby, this was poor fayre for a sparse 93 strong crowd, for most of the 90 minutes.
This re-arranged fixture from a waterlogged pitch five weeks earlier, saw a physically powerful AFC Dunstable, unbeaten in eight games after this victory, prove just too strong and experienced for the youthful Citizens, but it won’t be a game that lasts long in the memory.
A lot of the first-half action was crammed into the opening five minutes and none of it was good for WGC, who had new central defender Jack Humphrey making his debut, but were lacking the midfield guile of skipper Dave Keenleyside, unavailable.
Inside two minutes of the start, the home side were awarded a penalty when new winger David Manu was crashed into by AFC’s Drew Roberts inside the box and referee Mr Donaldson immediately pointed to the spot.
Elliot Bailey’s spot-kick was too near Dan Green, who had begun the season between the WGC posts and the big keeper threw himself to his left to push the effort away.
Three minutes later, Jesse Walklin, back in the line-up after missing two games through a hamstring, clearly aggravated the injury with a solid tackle on the by-line and had to be replaced by Ivan Agyaakwah.
Agyaakwah, who has had his loan from Barnet extended for a further month, came on in the unfamiliar position of central midfield, having played all his previous WGC games in defence, but went on to be one of the sides’ best performers on the night.
After all this early activity, the game lapsed into a very scrappy affair.
WGC keeper Lewis Todd had to look sharp to save at AFC winger Martel Powell’s feet in a rare attacking foray and then the dangerous Jermaine Hall slipped inside his marker and crashed a powerful effort wide for the Beds side.
The Herns Lane side’s best came from a defender. Jon Sexton making a good interception and racing through for 30 yards, only to shoot straight at Green.
Manu cleverly made room for a shot, cutting in from the left, but skied his effort badly wide, as the half predictably closed goalless.
Ten minutes after the restart, AFC fashioned the only goal of the game. The powerful Bernie Christie outmuscled young WGC full-back Dan Carr down the left and pulled the ball back for Christian Tavernier to net with a fine effort past Todd and just under the bar, for 1-0.
Minutes later Christie struck a stinging drive, but Todd held on well and the keeper made another sharp save from Powell, when new boy Humphrey miscued a clearance in the WGC defence.
It took some time for the Clarets to muster much in reply, but they were only inches away from an equaliser, when Carr put over an excellent cross from the right, but neither WGC strikers Da Silva and Bailey couldn’t force home at full stretch.
Matty Campbell-Mhlope was looking WGC’s most dangerous attacker and twice he wriggled free of the Dunstable defence, once to blaze over the top and then to strike just wide with a powerful effort.
WGC pressed until the final whistle in a late rally and good strength from Da Silva enabled him to pull the ball back for Bailey to fire goalward, only for the effort to be blocked by AFC Dunstable’s mass defence, as the Beds side held out for the points.
WGC: Todd, Carr, Rolfe, Humphrey, Sexton, Pattison (Griffith 81 mins), Walklin (Agyaakwah 5 mins), Manu, Campbell-Mhlope (Carrington 83 mins), Da Silva, Bailey.