There was a youthful appearance to the Dunstable Town side that took the field against Biggleswade Utd in the fourth match of the group stages of the Gladwish Cup.
With six teenagers in the team and a First Team debut for 19-year-old Gianluca Sinatra filling in for Dan Gould this proved to be a stern and uncompromising test for the Dunstable Town youngsters.
The six Blues youngsters had amassed a grand total, collectively, of just six First Team League starts all season between them, their baptism of fire proved to be just that, with there being no hiding place for the young guns.
For a second consecutive week, players lack of availability meant Dunstable could not field a full bench further hampering Gareth Jackson’s options when substitutions needed to be made.
The scoreline reflected the home team’s superiority with there being two hat tricks for the Biggleswade front men, one of whom, Charlie Black, was a fan favourite during his two years at Creasey Park.
Gianluca Sinatra in the Town goal could not be faulted for a very assured performance on his debut, pulling off several fine saves during the course of the afternoon. Gianluca has come through the Club’s junior ranks and was watched with a great deal of pride by goalkeeping coach Rory McMullan and former U18’s Manager, Wayne Upton.
Gianluca’s inclusion being a great advert for the Club’s pathway. The same being true for L’kharmi Gale who had come through the Club’s Development team. L’kharmi thought he’d given the Blues the lead when he netted at the far post on 20 minutes with the scores tied at one-all, only for the linesmen’s flag to be raised.
Biggleswade took the free-kick quickly went up the other end and scored within seconds. Instead of being 2 -1 up, Dunstable found themselves 2 – 1 down.
Biggleswade had gone ahead early on with Charlie Black netting. Chris Stapleton finished beautifully to put the Blues back on level terms just after the quarter-hour. The pass from Dan Trif measured to perfection. With Dunstable then in the ascendancy Gale’s disallowed goal was a cruel blow.
The turning point in what had been a pretty evenly matched contest up until that point, came on the half-hour when 17-year-old Aaron Asare was red-carded for a mistimed challenge and although he got the ball the referee had little choice but to dismiss Aaron from the field of play. There were no complaints from the Blues. Referee Dean Carney had a good game and let play flow all afternoon, in a match played in a sporting manner by both teams.
Biggleswade exploited the extra advantage of having an extra man and their dominant second-half performance made them worthy winners.
Leo Pedro took his brace well towards the end of the game and in normal circumstances scoring three good goals away from home could be considered not a bad afternoon’s return. But this was not a normal afternoon and everyone will want to consign it to the history books, regroup and look to restore some battered pride next Saturday away at Baldock Town in the final game of the Club’s campaign in the Gladwish Cup.
Collective bad days at the office happen, and this was certainly one of them.
Biggleswade took full advantage and were ruthless in front of goal converting a high percentage of opportunities that they created.
Their final game next Saturday away at Shefford Town & Campton likely to determine who will join Aylesbury Vale Dynamos in the knock-out stages.
Overall Dunstable will feel unlucky to have got nothing out of the games v Aylesbury and Newport Pagnell Town but this performance and that against Shefford Town & Campton, mean that it's been a disappointing campaign and that during the close season management duo Gareth Jackson & Anthony Christophi will be looking to bolster the squad and strengthen the numbers to make The Blues a more competitive outfit every game.
Written by: Andrew Madaras
Photos by: @cupcake99footballphotography