BLUES STRAIN THE GREENS
Holmer Green 3-5 Dunstable Town (HT1-2) attendance 49
There is, it seems always plenty of goals to enjoy at Airedale Park this season, but not so much for the home side who have been conceding far more than they would wish so far in this campaign. Curiously, tonight’s score replicated that of last season, and there was a converted home
penalty in that game as well. And, yes, once more we had a picturesque sunset as the players strode onto the pitch.
Dunstable made one change from Saturday and recalled Graeme Buchanan, with Damen Pickering placed on the substitutes’ bench. Given Holmer Green’s predilection to concede, the Regiment were looking to see if a more impressive start could be made and without conceding a goal before the team really got into its stride. This was the case as after repeated forays forward the Duns were one-up after seven minutes. It was a curious goal as Shane Wood’s long throw landed almost on the goal line and it required not much more than a token effort from Lee Roache to ensure he added one more to his growing tally for the team.
In truth, the Blues ought to have commenced adding to their goal difference even earlier than this , but Fabio Bufano headed over the bar within two minutes with an unchallenged cross and Frater did the same after some artful work by Lee Roache. A little later Roache was away on one of his artistic runs in possession but he hit his pass across the goal with no-one there to toe-poke it home; and then Tony Burnett missed unaccountably from close range.
Danny Mead noticed that his long passes were causing a few problems and so he sent in a good few and it was from one of these that Leon Cashman virtually ran in the second, adding a touch to ensure he made the list of scorers. Nathan Frater wanted to join in the fun but had a shot well blocked by goal keeper Derek Lewis. A cross from Frater was well set for Jonathan Barnett to try one from range, which he did without success. All efforts from the home side to ease the pressure and get forward were quickly nullified. A following combination from Mead and Roache saw Barnett fouled whilst shaping up for another one from range.
Yet despite this bombardment it was the Greens who scored next after Bufano handled in the area and he was cautioned before Dean Allen blasted in a penalty that gave Lewis Kidd little chance. This was just before the half hour mark and it seemed to have its effect on the Blues who seemed to lose a little sharpness in their moves even if attacking play was undiminished. Holmer Green brought one fine save from Kidd shortly after their penalty boost, but some magic from Roache culminated in a shot straight at Lewis and the best chance fell to Buchanan after a pass from Moses Olalaye, via Jonathan Barnett, but this one cleared the bar.
Upon resumption it was clear that the Blues meant business and after five minutes of the half Graeme Buchanan let rip with a scorcher of a shot to make it 3-1. With this comfort zone established the Blues employed all three substitutes with Warren Plowright, Chris Francis coming on. But this was not before Tony Burnett netted following a corner with a headed goal, and Nathan Frater was rewarded with a goal after seventy minutes. The replaced players for the last twenty minutes were Cashman, Olalaye and Frater.
Trailing 5-1, the home side rallied as they did last season and set about some serious damage limitation. First they had a free kick from about twenty-five yards which saw Dean Allen hit the post. They then won two corners and from the second of these Paul gilbert scored from close range to make it 5-2 after seventy-five minutes. Chris Francis sent in a cross that was neatly gathered by Lewis, but the hosts were quick to break and on seventy-eight minutes Kieran Webb scored to make it 5-3. He was down to wear the number two shirt and baffled us all by wearing a number twelve. The explanation was simple from the home officials. They simply could not find the number two garment….oh the joys of non-league football!
Dunstable did recover their composure and really ought to have increased their tally, particularly when Cooper’s neat little dink forward gave Roache the task of just putting it beyond Lewis but the keeper saved well from the point blank range. Similarly Burnett had a wonderful opportunity that he conspired to spurn and Cooper hit the pitch instead of the back of the net after an awkward bounce made it more difficult for him. Holmer Green had chances themselves and Dean Allen very nearly scored at the far post and a further effort brought a similar result. Kidd also had to punch clear another promising move.
For the last few minutes Dunstable settled themselves and began to attack again as if sensing that the hosts were played out, but they had played with commendable spirit from being 5-1 down. Other results were pleasing from a Dunstable point of view with London Colney drawing 2-2. Even so it makes for a great match in prospect as these two remaining unbeaten teams meet at Creasey Park on Tuesday 18 September.
Dunstable stay top and they now have six wins and ne draw from their seven league games and face Ashford Town (Middlesex) in the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Saturday.
Derek Lewis, Billy Fraser, Sam Pettyfer, Paul Gilbert, goal, 75 minutes, Steve Nott-Macaire, Ian Robertson, Gary Lines, Eliot Derby, Dean Allen, Captain, penalty goal, 29 minutes, Darren Crane, Stuart McLaughlin. Substitutes- Kieran Webb, goal, 78 minute Ed Seymour, Gareth Williams, Richie Wallace, Nick Little.
Lewis Kidd, Shane Wood, Captain, DANIEL MEAD, this reporter’s Blues man of the match, Fabio Bufano, cautioned, Graeme Buchanan, goal, 50 minutes, Jonathan Barnett, Moses Olaleye, Leon Cashman, goal, 19 minutes, Nathan Frater, goal, 70 minutes, Lee Roache, goal, 7 minutes, Tony Burnett, goal, 67 minutes. Substitutes – Chris Francis, Jonathan Cooper, Warren Plowright. Not used –Damen Pickering and Jamie Head GK.
Referee- Stephen Bates, St Albans, assisted by Dave Aylott, Flitwick and Sean O’Neal, Cranfield.