Battle of the Towns.
Dunstable Town 0-3 Leighton Town 28th December 2019 Written by Patrick MacKay and pictures by Liam Smith. The final game of 2019 saw visiting neighbours Leighton Town put three goals past Dunstable Town, on an afternoon that cast out any remaining Christmas cheer for the home side. Dunstable looked lively in the early stages, particularly (and unsurprisingly) Joe Hankins, and produced two chances via free kicks. The first of these was hit by Khy Smith-Reid, and Leighton Town goalkeeper Brad Kirkwood did well to hold onto the ball, with a number of attacking Blues following in, in the hope of putting away any spills. The visitors took control of the game after taking a while to settle, and after a dubious refereeing decision presented them with a free kick in dangerous territory, their first chance was headed over the bar, quickly followed by a dinked cross-cum-shot which, though wide of the target, had Dunstable hearts in mouths. The pressure mounted from the away side with Alfie Osborne curling an effort onto the crossbar before the Blues produced a fast-paced intricate counter attack which ended with Hankins losing his footing and being dispossessed. Ten minutes before half-time, the away team broke the deadlock when returning goalkeeper Mackenzie Taylor miskicked from a backpass, allowing free-scoring Danny Webb an open goal to aim at. The lead was almost doubled shortly afterwards when Ben Pattie was on the receiving end of a cross to the back post, which he controlled before turning well and striking over. Eric Ameyaw came on as a substitute before half-time, replacing injured captain Seb Smith, with Joe Hankins taking the armband for the remainder of the game. It was Hankins who came close to an equaliser just before the break, as his thirty-yard free kick was tipped over the bar by Kirkwood. Dunstable started the second half strongly, but there were chances at either end. Taylor did well to deny Danny Webb's volley before Dunstable's Harry Shepherd broke at speed, and managing to hold defenders at bay in a foot-race over half the pitch, saw his eventual shot tipped round the post by the outstretched arm of Kirkwood. Leighton's James Towell was next to work Taylor, with a fizzing effort from distance, which the young goalkeeper got his fingertips to. With just under twenty minutes to play, and Dunstable still asking questions in their search for a leveller, a Danny Blackman corner was headed on to Hankins, who was taken down. Blackman stepped up to take the spot-kick, but his fierce shot was pushed over the bar by the impressive Kirkwood. Eleven minutes from time, the away side managed to get some breathing space, when the Dunstable defence allowed the attacker too much time and space, and his eventual cross evaded Taylor before being touched in at the far post by Archie McClelland. Two minutes later, the game was put beyond doubt with a very similar goal, this time finished by Sonny Newbury-Barr, to stretch Leighton Town's unbeaten run to thirteen games.