MATCH REPORT AND HIGHLIGHTS: HUNGERFORD TOWN 2-3 DUNSTABLE TOWN
A phenomenal Steven Wales long range effort in the dying moments of the game sealed an unlikely victory for Dunstable Town.
James Clark gave Hungerford the lead just before the break with an excellent driving run and finish, but a spirited showing in the second half from the visitors saw Steven Wales score from the spot on 46 minutes, before David Longe-King fired in an excellent 30 yard effort to give his side the lead.
The Crusaders equalised through a penalty that shouldn’t have been, before Wales fired in from the best part of 60 yards in the 88th minute to give his side the victory.
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Dunstable’s lacklustre form meant a trip to Bulpit Lane was far from an ideal place to go to pick up points, with Hungerford chasing a playoff place.
With the wind and rain blowing in the faces of Dunstable from the kick-off, the weather clearly hampered their play, as they struggled to contain the attacking prowess of Hungerford.
Within the opening minutes, the home side’s dominant start should have seen them take the lead, when Mark Draycott found himself unmarked at the back post to meet a right wing cross, but Blues keeper Jamie Head read the play well and saved in style.
It seemed as if Dunstable weren’t at the races, but winger Chris Vardy picked up the ball on the halfway line, dribbled past five Crusaders in Messi-like fashion before his blistering pace carried him into the area, but his shot was easily saved by the Hungerford keeper.
The attack seemed to remind Vardy’s team mates that they also possessed some footballing ability, and striker Jonny Edwards beat the offside trap to pick up a through ball, but his low placed shot was pushed wide by Paul Strudley, when Edwards really should have scored.
Dunstable paid for their inability to score, when James Clark burst through his opposition’s half, catching the Blues defence out and smashed the ball across the body of Jamie Head into the bottom left hand corner to give his side the lead on the stroke of half time.
After the match, Tony Fontenelle claimed he told his side “well done” at half time, as the conditions worsened, but to Hungerford’s benefit.
With the wind on their side in the second half, Dunstable stunned Hungerford with two goals in two minutes.
Chris Vardy bamboozled the Crusader’s defence and was adjudged to have been fouled in the penalty area by keeper Strudley as the pacey winger beat the onrushing number one to the ball and caught his feet.
Steven Wales blasted the ball straight down the middle to restore parity, and moments later, Dunstable had the lead almost immediately after the restart.
Hungerford lost possession quickly after the kick-off and the persistence of the Blues paid off, as the ball fell to David Longe-King from 30 yards out, who curled the ball with precision and pace into the back of the net, in stunning fashion.
It was a real sucker punch for Hungerford, who had been dominant in the first half, only for their one goal lead to be crushed so quickly.
But Howard Hall fouled Draycott in the 56th minute, with the fullback tugging on the shoulders of the sprinting attacker and the referee giving a penalty. But upon closer inspection of the video, the original contact took place outside the box, although such was the matter of centimetres in the decision, you can hardly blame the referee for giving the decision, with Draycott acrobatically throwing himself down in the penalty area.
It was Draycott who took the penalty, which he converted with ease to put his side back in the game.
With the match coming into the closing stages, it seemed as if both sides were going to have to settle for a point.
Step up Steven Wales.
With 88 minutes on the clock, the ball deflected into the path of the midfielder, just inside his opponents half.
Without a moment’s hesitation, Wales blasted the ball on the volley, and it looped ever so perfectly over the helpless Strudley and into the net, without bouncing to give his side the win.
The result means Dunstable completed the double over Hungerford, with David Keenleyside’s late strike in the reverse fixture enough to earn his side the 1-0 victory back in January.
James Clark 43’ | Steven Wales 46’ 88’ Longe-King 47’