The home side went in to the match sitting second in the table, whilst the run of form for United had pushed them in to the top half of the league. The only change from the side that had beaten Chalfont St Peter 4-1 three days earlier saw Tom Ashworth come in to midfield for the unavailable Adam Morris.
The match started much as it finished, with both sides working hard to gain the upper hand in midfield and with chances at a premium. Indeed, if ever a match had 0-0 written over it, this was it. Whilst the home side enjoyed the majority of the early possession, the first real opportunity fell to United on 21 minutes when Goss was put clean through but a combination of pushing and pulling from the retreating defender went unpunished and Goss was unable to get his shot away. Then, shortly before the break, the home side had a great opportunity when BJ Christie went through but, with the angle narrowing, his pull-back across goal went behind both attacking players and United were able to clear.
The second half was equally tight, with Craig Hill pulling off an impressive save from Terry Griffiths on 54 minutes. The only goal of the game arrived at the mid-point of the half when neat inter-play between Christian Tavernier and Nathan Frater saw the latter cross (perhaps with a hint of the use of the arm) to BJ Christie who poked the ball home from close range.
United were unable to make any real impression in the final third of the pitch, with the defence well-marshalled by Cashman. With five minutes to go Luke Ricketts collected the ball in his own half and set off on one of his trademark runs only to be chopped down just inside the Dunstable half by Brett Longden. After consulting the Assistant Referee Longden was shown a red card and United immediately pushed Ben Gray up front and reverted to a back three – a change that was probably in the process of happening in any event.
This was the catalyst for United to press forward and, on 87 minutes, a long throw in to the box by David Lynn was volleyed goalwards by Ben Gray but Jamie Head comfortably saved the effort. Two minutes later and Ellis Hercules connected with a Goss corner, but his volley went wide. United continued to press and numerous corners, free-kicks and throw-ins were launched in to the box but the home defence held firm and, in the end, the home side edged the game and probably deserved the victory on the balance of play.
United: Hill, Evans (Gray) Lynn, Hercules, Essex, Ashworth, Connelly, Goss, Sturgess, West Mepham (Ricketts)
Updated 13:49 - 30 Dec 2017 by Jake Collinge