New Year Success For Town:
Written by Andrew Madaras, Picture Chris White.
You won’t hear the sound of any champagne corks popping around Creasey Park, but make no mistake there was sufficient cause on New Year’s Day for Messrs McCool & Jackson to have had more than a satisfied smile on their faces. Their team had produced a fantastic all round display, full of conviction, determination, skill and steel, to secure, for the first time during their tenure, back to back victories and clean sheets. Thirty or so Dunstable fans present were pleased to celebrate the moment with them. There was no element of luck involved in this win, borne from endless hours of preparation and training and single- minded self-belief that this group of players, individually and collectively, are far better than their league position suggests. Welwyn Garden City FC (WGC) are a friendly and hospitable club, who were gracious in defeat and who, in their side contained, former Blues, David Keenleyside, Danny May & Charlie Smith. This is the first season in their 96 year history that they have played at this level following last season’s barn storming success in the Spartan South Midland League winning the title by 12 points over nearest rival Berkhamsted, winning 32 games and scoring 100 goals in their 40 competitive league fixtures. This season they have very much held their own and were respectably lying in mid table before kick off. For their fans this was the first time they had been able to see a home match since 24th November last year when they had defeated North Leigh 3 – 0. Five successive away league games including a creditable 3 – 3 draw away at Didcot on Saturday had been there calendar over December. Dunstable took the game to WGC from the start. With the match kicking off under clear blue skies and a milder than average temperature it was Dunstable who took an early and deserved lead through Arel Amu,taking his personal league tally up to 11 for the season, making him the 6th top scorer in the League overall this season. The goal itself was a sublime finish to a ball whipped in from the right by livewire Stevenage loanee, Marcus Gouldbourne with the move itself started by James Lauder making one of many inch perfect passes yesterday. Marcus Gouldbourne in only his second start for the Blues, harried the City defence all afternoon and so nearly increased the Dunstable lead 60 seconds after the first goal, only to see his touch take the ball agonisingly wide of the far post. With Hassan Sheikh unavailable for selection, Erin Amu started for the Blues and was influential and strong, Gedeon Okito and Joe Mead were rock solid and Nathan Harness, between the sticks, kept out everything that came his way, although the Assistant Referee’s flag did come to Dunstable’s aid on 11 minutes after City had the ball in the back of the net following a free kick routine, only to see the rebound effort chalked off. The first quarter hour of this match was absorbing and only brave and clever defending kept Dunstable out as James Lauder pounced only to see his goal bound shot headed away from under the cross bar. Two minutes later and a delightful offensive move opened up the City backline with the three Dunstable forwards interlocking to see Marcus Gouldbourne’s effort pass inches the wrong side of the post. On 25 minutes many in the crowd fully expected referee Andreas Anastasiou to point to the spot as a City forward went down in the box challenged by a Town defender, however no infringement was given and the referee waved play on allowing Dunstable to clear their lines as City went after an equaliser. The match was played in a good competitive fashion with their being mutual respect between City Manager Adam Fisher and our very own Tony McCool, two proper football men. Adam has been in charge at WGC for five years having previously been no.2 at Barton Rovers. He is a former player at WGC and although his Team yesterday lacked two or three regulars there were spells where City looked threatening and Dunstable were glad for the steady “had on the tiller” experience of Kyle Lincoln to break up play and pass the ball out of defence aided and abetted by the ever reliable, Daniel Trif. The second half proved to be a less lively affair than the first half with Dunstable again enjoying the lion’s share of chances but frustratingly being unable to find a game killing second goal. Arel Amu & brother, Erin as well as Marcus Gouldbourne were all denied. Alex Taylor was awarded the Man of The Match for another impressive display. I’ve drawn comparisons to his playing resemblance to Archie Gemmill and there were occasions yesterday when Alex weaved his way through and around his opponents, using his low centre of gravity to bamboozle his opponents, stumbling and getting back up seemingly all in one movement that I just watched in admiration & reminded myself just how fortunate we are to be watching the nascent talents of not just Alex but so many of our present squad. Yesterday’s starting X1 contained five teenagers and had a combined average age of 21. As Tony wrote recently be under no illusion several of the players you see in our colours as they learn their trade under Tony & Gareth’s careful tutelage will join their three colleagues who have progressed from our ranks into the professional game. As the game entered the final 20 minutes Tony & Gareth brought on Chris Wreh to replace Saul Williams who had covered every blade of grass and been at the heart of so much of Dunstable’s attacking intent. Into the final five minutes Marcus Gouldbourne was replaced by John Sonuga and although referee Mr Anastesiou signalled a further three minutes of stoppage time, there would be no repeat of City rescuing a point late on as they had on Saturday at Didcot. The victory moved Town up one place in the League to 16th with 22 points from 20 games, and up to 7th in the Form table with 10 points from the last 6 games. Saturday sees the visit of Sutton Coldfield to Creasey Park with a 3 pm kick off. Let’s all get behind Tony & the lads and carry on this good run of form. See you on Saturday. If you’re not able to get to the match and happen to be anywhere near Heathrow on Saturday why not make your way to AFC Hayes where our Development Team will be playing in the Suburban Challenge Plate. Admission is £3. One Club. One Family. Dunstable Town FC.