WITHAM Town’s run in the Isuzu FA Trophy came to an end at the Simarco Stadium when they lost 1-0 to AFC Dunstable, writes JIM PURTILL.

The two teams had largely cancelled each other out and a draw followed by penalties had looked the most likely outcome, before the goal.

In a scrappy first half there was little quality from either side but Dunstable had looked most likely to score.

They were the first to settle with Max Hercules and Luke Beckwith putting the Witham defence under pressure on both flanks.

The Witham defence resisted well with Liam Whipps clearing Christian Tavernier's dangerous pass in the 12th minute and Luke Ige doing well to frustrate Beckwith's run.

Most of the first-half action took place in the Witham half as Dunstable’s control in the middle third allowed them the possession to put pressure on the hosts.

Robinson Wokoma and Joseph Alatise in the centre of the Witham defence were kept busy.

Kieran Southgate’s pace was the hosts’ most potent attacking weapon and he shot over the bar after 24 minutes, in Witham’s first good attack.

The home side went closer 15 minutes later when Whipps' excellent cross was headed just over by Adam Vyse.

Witham lacked composure; rushed clearances from the defence and misplaced passes were too common, with nobody able to out a foot on the ball and exercise control.

But Town were much more positive in the second half and the visitors had to defend a corner from Whipps and a long throw from Ramiah Mills in the first six minutes after the restart.

After 54 minutes, a good free-kick from Vyse from outside the penalty area went just wide as Witham committed more bodies forward, as they took the game to their opponents.

On the hour mark a good run on the right from Charlie Pattison and a cross into the penalty area was Dunstable’s first attack of any quality in the second half.

In the 63rd minute a clever pass from Witham’s Gaz Dauti found Vyse in a good position but his shot was blocked.

The home side’s attacking threat was increasing and in the 71st minute a long throw by Mills led to Dunstable goalkeeper Jamie Head fumbling the ball and conceding a corner.

But despite Witham’s pressure, it was the visitors who took a shock 73rd-minute lead.

A defensive clearance found Loiue Collier, whose strong run on the right culminated in a fierce shot.

Witham goalkeeper Rhys Madden did well to parry the attempt and the ball fell to Hercules, whose excellent first-time strike put the visitors ahead from the rebound.

The goal was against the run of play but the finish was a rare moment of quality on an afternoon of prosaic fare.

It was tough on the home side, who conceded when they were on top.

Witham lost their shape as the final whistle beckoned despite working hard to try to level the score.

And their frustration was compounded when Lewis Payne was shown a red card in the 83rd minute after an incident in midfield.

Witham return to league action on Saturday with a home match against Coggeshall Town, followed by another home local derby against Heybridge Swifts on Tuesday October 18.