CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR
THE BEDFORDSHIRE SENIOR CUP – FIRST ROUND
DUNSTABLE TOWN 2 BEDFORD TOWN 3 HT 2-1 ATTENDANCE 99
We had our hopes up; we had reached half time and were leading 2-1. For the first time this season, Dunstable had taken the lead and scored more than one goal - things were looking good. But, as before, the second half performance was more of a triumph of hope over expectation, and two further goals were conceded (to the same player, who ended up with a hat-trick) and the debriefing on the pitch from manager Tony McCool and Kevin Gallen was lengthy and no doubt somewhat chastening.
This was the narrowest losing margin hitherto, but the consensus was that Dunstable, despite an indifferent start in this game, should not, after clawing themselves back, have let matters slip in a generally poor second half. Bedford Town, who play in the East section of the Southern League were nominally the underdogs, playing in a lower division, but, as is so often the case in cup-ties, that seniority counted for little.
It was not an auspicious start for the hosts, who unlike their visitors could not establish a proper rhythm to their play. Bedford took full advantage and found greater freedom on the ball. Full-back Ben Sawyer had been already marauding with intent and he moved towards goal in possession, slipping a measured pass to Brad Hoods-Garness who finished with emphatic accuracy. Sawyer then followed up with a shot of his own, well held by Will Henry, who was making his home debut.
Dunstable are used to starting again from mishaps and despite their perceived inadequacies of an underwhelming half-hour, they shook off their complacency to exert some pressure which culminated in two goals in as many minutes. Both were converted by Arel Amu, which will do him a power of good. A cleared corner from Dunstable was knocked up field but Dunstable skipper John Sonuga sent forward a defence -splitting pass that found its way to Amu who was delighted to draw his side level with a fine finish. His delight was compounded just a minute later when he put Dunstable ahead for the first time this match, and well, this season.
Ben Collins' effort landed on the roof of the net for good measure and we dared to hope that the second half would see a consolidation. Bedford though, had other ideas, having received a roasting from their manager at half-time. First a header was just over the bar and then Ryan Auger came close to equalising – but this came on the hour mark from Woods-Garness who went on to complete his hat-trick eight minutes later. He was helped a little when Daniel Trif’s attempted clearance hit a colleague and Woods –Garness capitalised on the misfortune, and Dunstable thus bowed out of the competition at the first hurdle, yet with the definite belief that the elusive first victory is getting closer.
William Henry, cautioned, Ben Collins, Gedeon Okito, Daniel Trif, cautioned, John Sonuga, captain, Scott Betts, Justin Koeries, (Nimmy Aji), Lanre Ladipo, Arel Amu, TWO GOALS, 40 and 42 minutes, Keiran Ogden,(Joseph Chidyausiku, Aaron Hudson, (David Carty). Other substitutes- Dami Salami and Michael Adeyemi.
Kyle Forster, Ben Sawyer, Paul Cooper, Tommy Hull, Ollie Swain, James Peters, Devante Stanley, cautioned, Ryan Auger, Jamale McKenzie-Lowe, Josh Oyibo, Brad Woods-Garness, HAT-TRICK - , 15, 59 and 68 minutes, Substitutes used – Leroy Griffiths and Ashton Grant – other substitutes – Dean Drummett, Dylan Gittens and George Brinkman.