Dunstable Town started their league campaign with a defeat on Tuesday evening, with visitors Milton Keynes Irish punishing the Blues by scoring three goals in the second half, despite a relatively even first period.
With under two minutes on the clock, Town's goalkeeper Dan Gould was called into action, first palming away Andre Olukanmi's fizzing cross before saving well from Mason Spence's follow up shot. Dominic Lawless had another chance for the newly promoted visitors, after good work on the left wing saw the ball arrive to him in the centre of the box, but after making space for the shot, he blasted well over the frame of the goal.
Dunstable came into the contest after the opening ten minutes, with a bit more possession in attacking areas, but failed to create any clear cut chances, with L'Kharmi Gale sending an effort from range high and wide.
Irish came close again on twenty minutes, and it was once again Mason Spence, who leapt highest at a corner, but could only direct his header narrowly wide of the goal.
Ten minutes later and Dunstable were made to regret the chances they were giving away. A throw-in from the right was collected by an attacker, and the resulting cross into a dangerous area was turned into his own net by Jeremiah Debayo.
With half time approaching, the Blues were looking to get an equaliser, but were still not creating any clear chances, and the closest they came was when a corner was flicked into the waiting goalkeeper's arms.
The home team started the second half with attacking intent, and debutant Sam Gibson forced the MK goalkeeper into a decent save low to his left with a shot from twenty-five yards.
The task at hand for the Blues became more complicated halfway through the second half when a footrace ended with the referee judging that Matt Ellis had tripped the attacker. The ball was heading into the corner, but it resulted in his second yellow card of the night in his first appearance for Town.
With a man advantage, the visitors went in search of a second goal, looking to put the game beyond doubt, and within ten minutes of the red card, their goal tally was double with a near-post header leaving Gould with no chance.
The game was gone by this point, but MK Irish put the cherry on top with two further goals in the last five minutes. The first came when Scott Belgrove was sent through on goal and skillfuly lifted the ball over the onrushing Gould, before neat footwork in the box saw Spence's deflected shot dribble into the bottom corner, concluding the scoring.
The first qualifying round of the FA Cup presents an opportunity for Dunstable to bounce back, with North Greenford United the visitors on Saturday.
Written by Patrick MacKay
Photos by Cupcake 99 Photography