United vs AFC Dunstable – FA Trophy Preview

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Hastings United vs AFC Dunstable – FA Trophy 1st Qualifying Round – Preview

On Saturday 25th September, Hastings United welcome Bedfordshire’s AFC Dunstable for an FA Trophy first qualifying round tie. A reverse of the same fixture in October 2019 when the ‘U’s travelled away and triumphed with an emphatic 4 – 0 win.

United’s six-game form – LWWWWW

At the weekend, the ‘U’s took their winning streak to five games albeit they left it late against Broadfields United in the FA Cup, turning around a 1 – 2 deficit to win 3 – 2 courtesy of two Gary Elphick headers. The first on 84 minutes and the winner deep into added time.

United’s first goal on Saturday was something even rarer than Ollie Black’s strike against Burgess Hill the previous Tuesday evening, in that it was Ollie Black scoring in consecutive games. The roof may come off the main stand if he scores for a third game running. Good on him I say.

The FA Cup draw seems to have something against The Pilot Field as United have been drawn away again! This time we travel to Chippenham Town after they defeated Poole Town 1 – 0 in their replay on Tuesday evening. More to follow on our opponents in next week’s preview.

Who are AFC Dunstable and what’s their six-game form? WWWWDW

Nicknamed The OD’s (Old Dunstablians) AFC Dunstable are, like United, a Step 4 club. They are resident in the Southern League Central Division and lie fourth in the table after six games. They have won four, drawn one and lost one.

Also like United, Dunstable have progressed to the third qualifying round of the FA Cup having won three away ties. Unlike United, they have been given the benefit of a home draw this time around.

FA Trophy

The FA Trophy is a competition open to Step 1 to 4 clubs and this is the first of potentially three qualifying rounds, after which comes the first-round proper. The reward for reaching the final is a visit to the national stadium for ‘Non-League Finals Day’ next May. With the exception of the final, if a match is drawn after 90 minutes, the winner shall be determined by penalties.

Any recent previous meetings?

Yes! As mentioned above this was a first qualifying round fixture in 2019, played at Dunstable’s Creasey Park. League position and form suggested two evenly-matched teams however the ‘U’s proved too strong and controlled the game from start to finish. Leading 1 – 0 at half-time through a Dunstable own goal, United put their dominance onto the scoresheet with three second-half goals from Sam Adams, Ben Pope and Davide Rodari.

Bottom line

After four successive away games it’s a welcome return to The Pilot Field and a pitch not made of plastic. Worth mentioning the current AFC Dunstable team looks somewhat different from the side of two years ago. Being a cup game, there’s prize money to be won with the winners receiving £1,500 while the losers receive £400.

Match information

Saturday 25th September, 3pm kick off at the Pilot Field, Elphinstone Road, TN34 2AX. Get Tickets.

Can’t attend? You can follow live game updates via Twitter: @hastingsufc

Bob Quinn
Twitter: @BobJQuinn