HEREFORD 2 DUNSTABLE TOWN 0 HT 0-0 ATTENDANCE 1,686
This turned out to be another game where a conceded penalty had a significant bearing on the outcome of the match as a whole. Hereford, with one eye on their sold-out cup tie against AFC Telford United on the forthcoming Saturday, were perhaps a little surprised at the tenacity of their visitors , and despite having the lion’s share of the play, needed a second –half penalty to overcome what had been an obstinate Dunstable defence.
The near 1700 attendance was expecting a home banker and after the kick-off they had an immediate chance when Lance Smith seemed certain to score from close range, but on loan goalkeeper, Nick Hayes, from Ipswich Town, made a memorable save, one of many in an impressive debut. He was ably supported by his defence who performed heroically as the hosts repeatedly forced corners and continually probed for weaknesses, happily absent.
There was notable performances from Ben Collins, Gedeon Okito and Peter Kioso, whilst the enduring hard work from Arel Amu, Ryan Young and Andrew Osei-Bonsu, probed when they could, but the majority of the play was in the Dunstable defensive half, with the visitors clearing from the line on three occasions and successfully defending an inordinate number of corners.
Despite the pressure Dunstable’s notable tenacity saw them force two corners, and a free-kick from Jonathan Barnett had us begging for one of his surprising strikes but he fired straight at the keeper, Martin Horsell. Edgar Street provided a magnificent stage for this encounter and the Dunstable players proved they could adapt and through persistence, co-ordination and cohesion were level at the interval, despite the numerous close shaves.
The longer they kept their hosts from scoring, the greater was their frustration and the gaining of a precious point could not be ruled out. But five minutes after resumption, Daniel Trif’s foul was adjudged to be inside the penalty area and the spot-kick was converted by Lance Smith whose efforts beforehand had been held by Nick Hayes.
This breakthrough was largely expected to be the turning point, but Dunstable grew into the game and began to make some inroads in attack – met robustly from the Hereford defence who were keen to avoid a potential banana skin, as their record against teams in the nether regions of the division has given them some difficulties. It is significant that the second goal did not come until five minutes from normal time and Keyon Reffell had two goes on goal, with the first beaten away but Hayes was equal to the task and he was aided by a superb off the line clearance from Peter Kioso.
Although their chances were limited, Dunstable were unyielding in effort and the slender lead never looked comfortable – but a late goal from Reffell secured the points, but Hereford themselves were forced to work hard for a victory they deserved overall but it was still a memorable performance from Dunstable.