It’s now 12 weeks since Dunstable Town were last beaten in the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League. A 10 game run has seen five wins and five draws in that period, and with an average return of 2 points per game, this bodes well for a respectable mid table finish this term and a push for glory next season.
Saturday’s opponents, Harefield Utd, were a strong, well organized and well drilled unit. They gave a good account of themselves and will probably consider themselves unlucky to have left Creasey Park without a point. Their work rate was excellent and their compact and determined defensive backline restricted Dunstable to just a handful of chances.
The game was ultimately decided by one goal and when it came in the 70th minute it was one of those “I was there moments”. Dan Naylor’s inch perfect free kick out on the right by the touchline was met acrobatically by Kyle Faulkner who timed his scissor kick to perfection to send his shot goalwards. Harefield keeper, Jacob Ballheimer, could only watch the ball fly past his right side. The ball hit the post and rebounded towards Ballheimer who got a hand to the ball but could only push it in the direction of Joe Sellers-West who reacted quickly and poked the ball over the line.
Messrs Deeney & Durcan took on the Dunstable Town job in the first week in October last year. As fate would have it, their first game in charge was the reverse fixture from Saturday.
The Hares ran out 4 – 0 victors that day and the gaffers got immediately stuck into rescuing the fortunes of a Club with a rich history but desperately struggling on the pitch.
A repeat of the October 9th scoreline did not look likely on Saturday. The Dunstable backline held tight. Liam McCrohan was a deserved Man of the Match winner. His partnership with the ever-reliable J’Ardell Stirling has seen the Blues concede only four goals from six League games when they have been on the pitch together, two of the games have been clean sheets.
Head Coach, Joe Deeney said in mid-week, “Goals win you games, clean sheets win you titles” So keeping a clean sheet against two of the Divisions highest scorers, Richard Pacquette & Louis Bircham was no mean feat. Ex QPR, Brentford and MK Dons star, Pacquette has 16 goals this season and Bircham 14. With their deadly accuracy, restricting their opportunities to add to their goal tallies had to be part of the Dunstable game plan.
Dan Gould in the Dunstable goal made some excellent saves at key points in the game and with Creary & Baker playing key roles, a 4th clean sheet of the season was richly deserved.
The signing of Benji Crilley looks a shrewd one. Crilley’s long throw led to Falkner’s sensational volley at Crawley Green a week earlier, and on Saturday his positioning and reading of the game were important factors.
Skipper Jamie Nicholls led as always by example and the return of influential midfielder Dan Naylor with his dead ball accuracy and assist with the goal made it an early 21st birthday present.
The first half saw chances for both sides. Ballheimer made an excellent double save to deny Kyle Faulkner while Dan Gould was out bravely to thwart one opportunity and then pushed a piledriver over the bar to safety to keep the score 0 -0.
Early in the second half Dan Naylor headed off the line from Harefield’s skipper Sean Mangan whose header from a partially cleared corner looked goal bound.
At the other end, a good run from Joe Sellers-West down the left-hand side created an opportunity when he slid the ball to the feet of Kyle Falkner who was only inches wide with a side foot shot.
As the minutes ticked by Harefield pressed hard for the equalizer but couldn’t break down the Dunstable defence.
The Blues have a free Saturday next week before entertaining Ardley Utd at Creasey Park on Saturday 12th February.
Written by Andrew Madaras