Second Half Goals Secure Safe Dunstable Passage.
Whisper it quietly, but pass the word around. There is something special happening at Dunstable Town. If ever you needed proof of that I’d ask you to look at the photograph on Twitter which announced Arel Amu’s 84th minute decider against a brave and battling Northwood side. Look carefully and you’ll see that our cameraman, Nic Bliss, has captured Kieron Ogden, standing behind the goal, resplendent in his kit emblazoned with the logo of our charity partner, Mind BLMK, on the front, his face captured perfectly in expectation of Arel’s trusted right foot to strike and put the Blues into an unassailable two goal lead.
If a picture tells a thousand words, this is it. We’ve endured minibuses to Merthyr Tydfil on a freezing cold Tuesday night, snow drifts, blizzards and sheet ice to Weymouth on a Saturday when the country was under a blanket of snow, and floods and downpours in the home counties at Farnborough and the picturesque Norfolk town of Kings Lynn on freezing cold Saturday afternoons.
To all of you who have travelled this relentless, unforgiving and uphill journey with us since the first away game at Redditch on August 12th 2017, this result was for you.
To Kieron, Ben, Arel, Erin, Saul, John, Gedeon, Ethan, Daniel, Charlie, Lanre, Nathan H, Will, Rio, James, Jonny, Nathan M, all of you who stayed loyally with us from last season and to Chris, Hassan, Alex, Joe, Nick, Kyle, George and Paddy, who have signed up to our vision for the Club this season, let me tell you that we, the supporters, may be few in numbers but each and every single one of you have our gratitude, respect and admiration.
It was heartening to see such a good turn out from the Development team players, without a game of their own. James, Nathan, Kieron and Alex, all unavailable for selection, were there from the first team and our future stars of a little bit beyond tomorrow, Wayne Brodie’s Under 8’s Pumas chorused the “Oh Rio Dasilva” song when he came on as a second half substitute.
Last season on Non League Day we had beaten Farnborough in a closely fought game in which debutant keeper Casey Harker played such a pivotal part in helping the Blues secure their first three points of the season.
This year it was a debut of sorts for highly regarded and sought after, ex Ipswich Town stopper Nick Hayes, who proved himself to be the worthy winner of the match sponsor’s Man of the Match award.
You may recall, Nick’s successful loan spell with us last season. He made his debut away at Edgar Street in front of over 1700 Hereford fans, having travelled over five hours and 245 miles from his home in Essex, only to do the return journey having made an impressive debut, getting home after 4am.
He was reliable and dependable and was a model of professionalism. When he returned to his parent club at the end of an extended loan spell I wrote to Ipswich Town and thanked them for allowing Nick to stay with us for the time he did, and accurately and truthfully reported back what a delight it had been to have him around the Club. My ribs took several days to fully recover after the bear hug Nick gave me on Boxing Day last year after securing a precious 3 points away at Banbury.
Nick is tall and very strong, but for a young man of only 19 he showed his agility and prowess in denying Northwood several goal scoring opportunities. One save, low and down to his right in the first half just before half time kept the scores equal at a time when Northwood were in the ascendancy and showing dangerous offensive intention. Northwood had struck the bar midway through the first half as Dunstable struggled to find their rhythm and neat passing football style.
Even before then, Nick had needed to be at his best to keep the Blues goal intact. There were flourishes from Dunstable in the first half which gave us all hope that a strong second half performance might get us over the line.
The first half ended with shots from both Saul Williams and Chris Wreh in stoppage time, but overall Northwood had held the upper hand and had played some good football, no doubt buoyed by their mid- week Middlesex County Cup win away at Wingate & Finchley. The fact that the scores were still level at half time was largely due to Nick Hayes and the crossbar.
The half-time team talk from Messrs McCool & Jackson obviously worked as Dunstable started the second half on the front foot and within two minutes Joint top goal-scorer, Chris Wreh, showed patience and calmness personified to place the ball beyond Luke Sheldrick in a crowded penalty area and in so doing notched up his 7th competitive goal of the season.
This was just the start Dunstable had prayed for, and minutes later, Arel Amu got free and placed an inviting ball almost to the feet of an advancing Saul Williams who was defeated only by a cruel bounce which took the ball away from him and the chance was gone.
Saul, Chris and Arel have established an almost perfect partnership which has seen the three lads collectively score 19 goals between them this season. That understanding of each others’ game so nearly paid further dividend five minutes later as Dunstable turned up the pressure.
However Northwood hadn’t come simply to make up the numbers and tried their best to get a foothold back in the game. That was so nearly the case a little before the hour mark when a snap shot from Ned Clarke ,who struck the ball hard and true, could only find the outstretched palms of Nick Hayes at full strength.
A competitive second half continued with both sides seeking to exploit any small chances they could engineer against each others well organised midfield and defences. Mainly half chances were the most both sides could wrestle from their opponents until the 84th minute when Arel Amu finished with his usual aplomb and settled Dunstable nerves, and in so doing booked Dunstable’s passage into the next round.
Our thanks go to Northwood for being sporting and worthy opposition who did their bit in providing the crowd with an exciting and competitive game. We wish them well for the rest of the season.
This was the first clean sheet of the season for Dunstable with things starting to click now at the back since the return of Kyle Lincoln. A porous defence which was leaking an average of three goals every game has now only conceded three goals in the last four games, or one goal in every two hours of competitive football. When things are tight at the back and you have the predatory instincts of goal scorers Arel, Chris & Saul up front you are more likely to get wins than draws or losses.
Next Saturday the Blues are at home to Corby Town in the Evo-Sti
k League South Division 1 Central league game, kick off is 3pm and a larger than normal crowd is anticipated so we’d urge you to arrive a little earlier than normal to find a car parking space and avoid queues at the turnstiles.
The Development Team will be away at Royston Town in the Mike Bidmead Cup on the same day, so if you’re in that neck of the woods and you can’t make it to Creasey Park, why not pop along to Garden Walk and give Simon & Colin’s team a shout of encouragement.
Before the next ball is kicked in competitive action there are two dates for your diaries. On Tuesday, 16th October, the Club expects to have a stall in the town centre with friendly committee members volunteering their time to try and promote the Club. If you see the guys out there go over and say hello and have a chat.
Finally, on Friday 19th October, three of the Committee will be present at the Mind BLMK AGM to represent the Club. The same day we will be launching a fund raising appeal to benefit both Mind BLMK and the main national Mind charity based in London, as well as the Club in order that we can continue to offer the wide range of community initiatives that we already do, and hopefully extend the range and scope of these in the future.
Please keep your eyes on this website, or on our social media channels for further details.
One Club. One Family. Dunstable Town FC.