A huge debt of gratitude is paid to the Creasey Park ground staff, Dave & Ken, who work tirelessly every day to prepare a playing surface which sees 100 games of football played on it over the course of the season. These wonderful gentlemen spend hour upon hour in all types of weather to enable us to get our football “fix”. In the 24 hours leading up to kick off I met Dave & Ken three times at the ground to look at the surface, keeping my fingers crossed that they could work their miracles and get the game played. The fact that the game did go ahead after all of Sunday’s snow and rainfall is testimony to their skill and professionalism.
The second Thank You goes to local referee, Alex Rayment, for rearranging his work schedule in order to drive up the M1 in his lunch break to carry out a formal pitch inspection & declare that Dave & Ken had indeed worked their miracles.
The next thank you goes to the Management team, playing staff, Committee and supporters of Weymouth FC who played their part in providing a fantastic spectacle of open, end to end, football and being gracious and sportsman like in defeat. We wish them well for the rest of the season.
The final thank you must to go to Tony, Gareth & Kevin and all the Dunstable Town players for their unstinting, dedication to duty and detail which enabled Tuesday night’s David v Goliath victory, which won the Southern League Twitter poll of Team of the night with 66% of votes cast.
The predicted early morning rain had fallen but not in the volume expected; the mid- morning rain didn’t arrive, and the expected “light shower” at 6 pm, turned out to be a monsoon type deluge of water threatening to put paid to everybody’s hard efforts.
A final inspection from Match Referee, Rob Evans enabled events to proceed on an unseasonably mild and eventually dry evening.
Weymouth were keen to continue a fine run of form which had seen them unbeaten in their previous 10 matches and sitting comfortably in the play-off places.
With Casey Harker unavailable, Dunstable gave a debut to Will Hunt in goal and welcomed back Andrew Osei-Bonsu to the starting XI. With John Sonuga named as a substitute, Gedeon Okito wore the Captain’s armband.
There were early forays into opponent’s goal areas by both sides. Will Hunt was called into early action to make a fine save in the 7th minute as Weymouth sought to impose their authority. Alex Ward tried his luck from outside the area in the 16th minute which needed Will Dennis in the Weymouth goal to be alert and on his toes. Weymouth continued to pile on the pressure but the Dunstable midfield were combative and the defence in “They shall not pass” mode.
Ryan Young was full of tricks and beat his man on a couple of occasions & served notice of intent when he received a sublime pass from Andrew Osei-Bonsu, which enabled him to cut inside and warm the hands of Will Dennis.
A minute later, and that man, Ryan Young was at it again, down the line he charged, the ball at his feet, almost to the touchline, before curling the ball over the head of Will Dennis and into the back of the net. Dunstable ahead 1-0.
Weymouth came back strongly determined to seek parity. They hit the woodwork & were narrowly off target on a couple of occasions. When shots were on target, unfortunately for them, debutant Will Hunt was found to be in the form of his life. Whatever Weymouth threw his way, Will snapped it up eager to show his mettle to Tony & Gareth and stake a claim to the number 1 shirt.
Centre backs, Daniel Trif & Kieran Ogden won their individual battles and with Alex and Ty Ward at the heart of the action, Dunstable looked tight and solid with brothers Gedeon & Peter performing peerlessly.
We welcomed a couple of guests from the Vanarama National League South clubs who were very complimentary of both team’s performances as were representatives from four other clubs playing at our level and below. We try to make Dunstable Town a friendly place to visit on match days for our opponents, their supporters, match day officials and other Club’s scouts and representatives.
We’re proud of our Club and our achievements on and off the field and seek to share our story with as many people from the football world who care to come along and watch our boys doing what they do best.
The second half kicked off with Weymouth in attacking mood. Wave upon wave of claret and blue swept towards the near end goal where the majority of Weymouth supporters had congregated urging their team on. Will Hunt was again tested early in the second half but found to be on top of his game. A free kick for Weymouth from a dangerous area went over the bar and a collective sigh of relief came from many Dunstable supporters.
Then on 65 minutes, Dunstable scored a second goal largely due to the determination and athleticism of Charlie Black who looked to be chasing a lost cause. Charlie snapping at the heels of his opponent, pressured the Weymouth defender into miscuing his back pass which was snapped up gratefully by Arel Amu and neatly deposited the ball into the back of the net. Cue wild celebrations between The Regiment and the players.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Our boys never give up. Ever. Charlie’s chasing and harrying of his opponent was the epitome of that spirit. The second goal was thoroughly deserved not just for Arel, who is the personification of skill, graft and determination, but for the whole Team who embody that spirit and possess the desire to succeed against all odds.
Four minutes later Weymouth made the last of their three substitutions and threw men forward determined to make their gruelling four hour journey count for something. Dunstable had clearly not read the script though and again Will Hunt pulled off a magnificent save tipping a dipping shot over the bar.
On came Captain and Leader of men, John Sonuga to help bolster the defence in preparation for the expected onslaught. Alex Ward gave way to John & thoroughly deserved his breather having had a magnificent game.
Weymouth got their reward for all their efforts on 72 minutes with a towering header from a corner by Calvin Brooks. 2-1 and 20, edge of your seats, minutes were still left on the referee’s watch.
For the second time in the game Weymouth hit the woodwork. Then had a goal disallowed for offside. The Dunstable defence held firm and at the back there was Will Hunt who saved his best moment to almost the last kick of the game with an incredible save in stoppage time which the Weymouth Twitter feed described as “absolutely ridiculous”. It really was that good, diving upwards and at full stretch palming the ball away and to safety. A save of genuine class and worthy of being the final decider in a tight and competitive match.
Weymouth will feel they should have got something from the game for all their industry and possession. Dunstable though will feel that this result has been coming and was just reward for a battling and whole- hearted display.
I wrote in a recent match report that we don’t fear anyone in this league. That’s not meant to sound deludedly arrogant or pompous. That’s not who we are. But Tony & his team have instilled a work ethic in our players, whose average age is 19, that means when they wear the shirt they play with style, commitment, passion and hunger. In all four of these areas we can match and hopefully better our opponents in the crucial games that lie ahead and get the results that we need and deserve. I also wrote recently that every team we play against will come off the field after 90 minutes knowing they’ve been in a competitive match and have been thoroughly tested. I repeat that sentiment again today.
The whole team deserved Tuesday night’s result. Saul Williams and Lanre Ladipo played their parts when they joined John off the substitute’s bench. The jigsaw puzzle was complete with every player playing their part in a thoroughly entertaining evening’s football.
Tony’s recent call to arms in the local press, I hope, will be backed by fans who will turn out in their numbers for Saturday’s match against St Neots. This Club is going places, be in no doubt of that. Our financial position is such that we envisage Tony & Gareth will be able to operate next season with a playing budget to reward these fine young men who currently train & play for no financial reward.
How much of a budget we will have next season largely depends on how much sponsorship we can attract and how many new and older supporters we can attract. That’s where you come into the equation. The Club is grateful to all of you who regularly come to Creasey Park to cheer the Boys on, to our generous sponsors and to all of you who have made donations and made a commitment to our 12th Man, ring fenced, player budget scheme for next season.
So if you’re reading this article and you’ve not been down to watch a game for a little while please come and see what the excitement and chatter is all about. We will entertain you and hope you leave at 5 o’clock knowing Dunstable Town are alive and well and fighting for every precious point.
A final word and a final thank you to a very important young man called Bradley who joins us on match days as part of his work experience in conjunction with our local links with Weatherfield Academy. Bradley volunteers his time to get experience of life behind the scenes on match days at Creasey Park and has proved to be a wonderful addition to our small but dedicated team of match day volunteers.
We are Dunstable Town, never bowed, never giving up.