Dunstable Town 2-3 Leverstock Green 30th November 2019
Written by Patrick MacKay and pictures by Chris White. A poor November for Dunstable Town ended in defeat to Leverstock Green at Creasey Park on Saturday, with a brace of penalties from Chris Stapleton not enough to get a result for the Blues.
Louie Griffiths was an early threat to the Blues' backline, and forced Seb Smith to exercise his defensive muscle to hold him at bay and get a header back to Dan Gould, who returned to action for Dunstable.
Town's earliest forays into opposition territory saw Stapleton running at pace at the away side's defence before sending the ball to Luke Little, who saw his shot well blocked by the defender.
Having earned a corner kick, the visitors put Gould under immense pressure, and when his stretching punch only sent the ball goalwards, a well-positioned Ben Collins was on hand to clear the ball away as the referee blew for a free kick.
Poor defending allowed Leverstock Green's captain John Smith a sight of goal from eight yards, and with time on his side he chested the ball down and shot, but Gould was down quickly and got a strong hand behind it to frustrate Smith.
It wasn't long before Town found themselves a goal down though, when Conor Blake swung his leg at a cross from twelve yards out, his low effort flying into the bottom corner. Minutes later the visitors' lead should've been doubled when Blake got on the end of a curling ball to the back post, but put his shot wide.
The pressure on Town's goal didn't let up, with Gould forced into action again when Louie Griffiths found himself one-on-one with the keeper, but his low shot was deflected wide by Gould's outstretched leg.
The final ten minutes of the first half saw a resurgence from the Blues, which resulted in an equaliser. When Khyreece Smith-Reid was running onto a pass, Green goalkeeper Adi Connolly wasn't quick enough and could only take the man. The first penalty of the season for Dunstable Town was smashed into the top corner by Chris Stapleton. The equaliser rejuvenated the Blues, who would've been disappointed to be halted by half-time. The second half saw both sides start brightly, Leverstock Green testing Gould with a looping cross/shot which needed to be tipped over the bar, and Luke Little pulling a shot wide for the home team, before a collision with Connolly saw him replaced by Joe Hankins, back after serving a suspension.
Two minutes later, on the hour mark, a late tackle in a crowded penalty box resulted in a second spot-kick of the game for the Blues. Once again, Stapleton stepped up, and this time coolly stroked into the bottom left corner, sending Connolly the wrong way. Leverstock looked to get back on level terms and some sloppy play at the back presented them with a shooting opportunity, but a great tackle from Seb Smith snuffed out that chance. Joe Hankins looked good on his return to action, and forced Connolly into a good one-handed save after firing a hard shot after beating two defenders.
With ten minutes left, the leveller came for the away side. A free-kick was sent into the box, and not dealt with effectively by the Dunstable defence. The resulting scramble saw the ball fall to Jack Stevens, who turned in from close range.
Four minutes later, a free header for Luke Peerless from a corner was enough to turn the game on its head and give all three points to Leverstock Green, who weathered a late wave of pressure from Dunstable.