BLUES STRAIN THE GREENS
Dunstable Town 11-0 Holmer Green 0 (HT 4-0) Att 79
This remarkable result brought memories of the Blues’ best ever league win, some three seasons ago when they beat Welwyn Garden City 12-0 at Herns Lane. One enduring recollection was the Welwyn player, who after the tenth goal went in announced to all and sundry ‘sod this for a game of soldiers’ and then walked off the pitch, out of the ground and drove off in his car. The slightly perplexed referee held a yellow card in the car’s direction.
A win over second bottom Holmer Green might have been expected but not by such a margin. Indeed the Blues have scored five times in the last three meetings but the Greens also found the mark, losing 5-3 twice at Airedale Park and 5-2 at Creasey Park. They always gave it a good go and with the prospect of facing Aylesbury United at Bell Close in their next game, they might well be thinking about damage limitation.
But in my view it is right and proper to win by the highest margin and not ease off. When Tom Alabaster of Holmer was given a straight red after conceding a penalty, the Regiment pleaded for clemency, but it is much easier to be generous when you are rich in goals.
It was important to win this game in hand since it puts the Duns six points clear of the Ducks, and they have played eighteen games each. It might well be important in terms of goal difference, since there is a long way to go yet. As a preparation for the tough Vase game at Peterborough, this was not perhaps the most testing of times, but I am pleased that after securing an interval lead of 4-0 there was no easing off. Holmer Green were indeed woeful from the get-go and were duly punished for remarkably poor defending throughout. They only managed two attempts on goal and these came from free-kicks, which ensured that Paul Taylor was not a total spectator. As a game it was of course, far too one-sided but we must give the Greens some credit. They kept going and even disputed a few decisions that to my mind showed they were still focused despite the debilitating score-line.
Immediate attacks were witnessed and after three minutes, goal keeper Dan Little had made two splendid saves, one from a Tony Burnett header and another from a Jonathan Cooper shot. Dunstable seemed to intrude in their opponents’ penalty area with a dangerous freedom, and Francis skipped by the defence to open the scoring unchallenged, after ten minutes.
Francis turned provider for the second his cross was swept in by Cooper, and it was noted what pace and work was displayed by Francis throughout. Newman Carney scored the third after the half hour mark – following a Hutchins corner and the midfielder finished with a sumptuous volley. It was all looking very good – the utilising of space, some broad and sweeping moves, energetic runs in possession and fine finishing. But it was made easier for the Blues since the resistance offered was merely token and it is unlikely that they will be granted such freedom by other teams. It was not willingly offered of course and often poor results are aided and abetted by the demands of evening matches and travel; it affects us all to some extent.
Carney then repaid the compliment to Hutchins and it was a fine, measured pass to Danny Hutchins that saw him score goal number four. Last season, when Hutchins was predominantly a full-back he was in the business of preventing goals but tonight he bagged a hat-trick, which may make us all glad that he has returned to Dunstable after a brief sojourn at Hemel Hempstead Town. His goal still left nearly a quarter of an hour of the first half but there were no more goals and no Regimental complaints at being four up at the interval without reply.
I was a little surprised at the capitulation of the Greens, tonight playing in all red, since they are well known for giving it a go, whatever the score. They came up to the Premier Division on merit but only London Tigers are below them in the basement spot, with two points fewer. Many of us tonight wanted a handsome win of many goals, not because we wished to humiliate but because we wanted to see the goal difference as good as possible. I recall that last season we had an identical goal difference with Royston and had the points been level then we would have gone up with our goals scored. There is no room for sentiment and each win is all the better for having a higher positive margin.
Upon resumption we had our question answered – that is would the Blues ease off, or go on to rack up the goals as well as the points? Danny Hutchins provided a good answer by scoring the fifth in forty-eight minutes and well fifteen seconds. The simplicity of that goal and most of the others was stunning and fingers can be pointed at the lack of anticipation in defence and the paucity of the marking.
Tony Burnett, whose work had been meticulous and indefatigable exhilarated in a solo run before he added the sixth on fifty-three minutes. Do not be too critical of the Holmer goalie, since he was the chief architect of the damage limitation with some good work – it was him lamentable defence that were at fault. I would not be surprised that in the morning if they drop their toast it will unfailingly fall butter side down. Cooper eased past the shy defence to notch up the seventh and scoring a couple tonight will do old Smiler a lot of good I feel. I earnestly hope that before long he will delight us with one of his long range strikes that we know he has within him.
Not that long after we had passed the hour mark, Holmer Green compounded their woes by conceding a penalty and having Tom Alabaster receive a straight red card, despite the sincere appeals by an uncharacteristically generous Regiment. I fancied that at least three shouted ‘I am Spartacus’ but referee Tom Ratherham had no option but to send the fellow off. Hutchins allowed himself no sympathy and lasted home to complete his hat-trick and score his sixth goal of the season.
Recovered from injury, top marksman Lee Roache wanted some action and a chance to make it twenty-four goals in as many appearances and he did so in the manner we are happily accustomed to. We could be uncharitable and say he ought to have bagged a couple more from his chances, but he has missed a couple of games through his rib injury. Nine-nil then, with Froggy demanding ‘we want ten’.’ His exhortation was taken on board and the currently prolific Francis scored the last two, fairly late on. Of course we would have liked it to have gone to thirteen to make it a record score in our league matches and that is a selfish desire and not a sideswipe at poor old Holmer Green who were glad of the final whistle.
I do believe that the score of 11-0 is the highest in all divisions this season, it is certainly the Duns best victory, and they remain unbeaten after eighteen league games with fourteen wins and four draws.
Next up is the trip to Peterborough Northern Star, and keep an eye on the website to see if there will be a coach after all. There were a number of requests for this. The next league game will be a much greater test for the Duns as they take on Ampthill Town who have secured many good results and a great deal of respect. You may recall our narrow 3-2 win at their place earlier in the season. In that respect the job tonight is partially done as the importance of consistency will be underlined by the managers.
Of the many positives tonight I would select Chris Francis and Tony Burnett for special praise as they were playing with the kind of constant commitment and work rate that makes them outstanding.
Taylor will not have an easier clean sheet to register and I feel that on Saturday in the Vase he will face a much sterner test, as will his free-scoring colleagues of tonight. If I am a little disappointed it was that Nathan Frater did not bag one for himself but maybe I am just a little greedy.
So, a break from league action will see the Blues contest matters with a team from the United Counties Premier Division ad hope to progress to the third round proper. But for tonight we can look at the healthy statistics from our point of view in the league table.
Paul Taylor, Wayne Mills, Daniel Mead, Damen Pickering, captain, Junior George, Moses Olaleye, Newman Carney, goal 28 minutes, Jonathan Cooper, two goals, 17 and 58 minutes, CHRIS FRANCIS, this reporter’s man of the match, hat-trick, 10 minutes, 77 and 88 minutes, Tony Burnett, goal, 53 minutes, Daniel Hutchins, hat-trick, 31 minutes, 48 and 67 minutes.
Substitutes used – Nathan Frater, Jonathan Barnett and Lee Roache, goal 71 minutes.
Not used – Shane Wood and Fabio Bufano.
Dan Little, Billy Fraser, Nick Little, Steve Nott-Macaire, Tom Alabaster, dismissed , straight red card, Joes Da Silva, Lee Putnam, Andy Goddard, Gareth Williams, Mike Humphries, Andy Stephen.
Substitutes- Jamie Brailsford, Oliver Pickup, Rhys Richardson Powell.
Officials- Referee, Tom Ratherham, Edlesborough, assisted by Peter Hazel, Tring, and Michael Evans, Hemel Hempstead