AFC Unity held New Bohemians to a 3-3 draw at home to extend their undefeated run to four games.
Despite the red stars taking the lead – at 1-0, and again at 2-1 – the New Bohemians players responded, piled on the pressure and went 2-3 ahead in the 75th minute. However, AFC Unity fought back and grabbed an equaliser with three minutes to go.
Manager Jay Baker claimed these comebacks are becoming a signature trait of the underdog spirit that is both a blessing and a curse:
“It was no secret that almost everyone around the league didn’t even expect us to win a game all season, let alone win three in a row,” said Baker. “But we’ve battled back from behind in almost every single game we’ve had because of that underdog mentality, apart from when we beat New Bohemians at theirs – and that may have actually hurt us in the return fixture.”
Baker believes AFC Unity’s underdog culture was missing in this game as a result of their recent track record.
“Richard (Slattery, New Bohemians manager) has developed his team really well, and my coaches and I warned our players not to underestimate them, but I actually think the fact we weren’t considered underdogs for once threw them off a bit – and there were things I could have done differently – but ultimately, New Bohemians were really impressive and made it very difficult for us.”
Still, it was an achievement for AFC Unity to secure a draw and remain unbeaten in four consecutive games.
“We played some fantastic football and it was a great match to watch,” said coach Olivia Murray. “We dominated the first half and had plenty of opportunities – we have definitely grown as a team, everyone played really well and there was some great wing play.”
The impressive showing from the day’s “underdogs,” New Bohemians, was duly noted by all at AFC Unity.
“It was an excellent turn out from both teams,” added coach Jonny Hodgson. “It was some of the most exciting football played this season and our team played their hearts out; I’m proud of them all.”
Olivia Murray said: “We win as a team, we lose as a team, and we draw as a team. We were so unlucky not to win in the last minute – I felt we deserved it. If we keep the faith, we’ll be back to winning ways in no time.”
Jay Baker felt the result was healthy.
“We got a point, and it’s a good reality check,” he said. “We exceeded expectations recently, but must stay grounded. We’re back to being the bona fide underdogs next week (against second place Rotherham United Development), and we have to remain realistic, focus on fundamentals, and believe in the battle of it all – because nothing comes easy here.”
AFC Unity goals came from Lucy Strutt, Sophie Mills and Shanie Griffith.