Written by Andrew Madaras
Goals from Kyle Faulkner and Robbie Goodman, on his debut, were enough to give Dunstable Town a comfortable 2-0 home win against a battling, and hardworking Arlesey Town side at Creasey Park on a bitterly cold, autumnal evening.
It also put the smiles back on supporters’ faces after the heartache of losing to a last-minute stoppage time goal away at Tring Athletic 72 hours earlier.
Dunstable were good value for their win. They hit the woodwork twice and were denied further goals by an accomplished piece of goalkeeping from Ryan Ludyard-Hillyard the Arlesey Town stopper.
However, on another day, the Blues may find themselves needing to convert a greater percentage of chances than the two they converted on Tuesday. But let’s not detract from a professional performance and celebrate the first win in six League games. The dip in form had seen the Blues drop down the table to 11th before kick off. Not a disaster by any metric you choose to use and some very creditable draws among those games blighted by injuries and suspensions to key players.
The last League victory had been 45 days earlier when near neighbours, Leighton Town had been beaten 2-1. If a week is a long time in politics, then six weeks can seem like a very long time in the world of non-league, Step 5 football.
News coming out of the camp just before kick off was that Charlie Jones had moved over to a resurgent Aylesbury Vale Dynamos. This meant Connor Coulson could now claim the No1 jersey as his own and his clean sheet was another bonus.
After leaking 7 goals in two matches against Stotfold & Moulton, Head Coach, Joe Deeney will be pleased that the last three games have seen his side concede only once, and even that was the result of a defensive blip.
Always honest and upfront with supporters, Joe had told the Talk of the Town podcast after the Moulton game that his sides’ DNA were that they were always difficult to break down, difficult to score against and difficult to beat. Somehow he would need to muster all of his many years of coaching and managerial experience to instil the confidence into players who we know can perform better and more consistently.
That Deeney DNA had been evident during the 14 game unbeaten run last season and in the first 17 games of this season when the Blues had only tasted defeat once, including a 12 game unbeaten two month run.
Deeney has strengthened the squad where he felt it needed additional bolster. Up front, the signatures of Danny Webb & James Verney brought immediate success in the Isuzu FA Vase tie against Enfield FC and Robbie Goodman’s experience in the heart of defence was invaluable against Arlesey. Partnered with J’Ardell Stirling, the two established an immediate understanding and looked as if their defensive partnership was seasons old as opposed to just one, two-hour training session.
Former Blue, Alex Taylor lined up against his old club and was in the thick of the battle from the off. A combatitive midfielder in the Archie Gemmell mold and someone who battles every minute he’s on the pitch.
Dunstable took charge from the off. Offensively minded they strode into a two goal lead before half-time. Kyle Faulkner’s shot from distance finding the bottom corner while the second, a beautifully flighted free kick from Harry Beaumont found the willing head of Robbie Goodman to place the ball beyond Ludyard-Hillyard.
With the Blues creating a decent number of chances the half-time talk on the terraces was whether Dunstable would be able to get another couple and improve their goal difference of +8. Context is everything and while that shows a positive difference with only just a third of the season played, it’s a long way off table toppers Crawley Green’s +28 and Leighton Town’s +24.
Deeney brought on four substitutes to try and unpick the Arlesey defence for a third time but found the door firmly shut.
Arlesey, despite their lowly League placing, have had a much better time on the road than playing in front of their own fans. Their two League victories have both been away from home at London Colney & Aylesbury Vale Dynamos and they had claimed the notable scalp of Step 4 Barton Rovers in the Beds Senior Challenge Trophy only a week earlier. Narrow away defeats at Leighton Town 2-1 and good draws against Tring Athletic & Leverstock Green & Barton Rovers in the Emirates FA Cup suggests the Team isn’t far from turning the corner on what has clearly been a tricky start.
Referee, Simon Dutton had an excellent game ably assisted by Rhys Davies and Paul O’Hare.
Debut man, Robbie Goodman not only scored the second goal but was voted Man of the Match. His reading of the game, positioning and talking was what Deeney had brought him in for. A wise and experienced head to compliment some of the younger players as they mature into the game.
There was also praise for Ruari Mills who switched from midfield to defence to help fill a gap, as did returning skipper, Alfie Osborne.
The attendance of 130 although down on this season’s overall average was only 14 less than were at Bell Close to watch Leighton Town and was the second highest in the Premier League and higher than the Step 4 attendances in the Pitching In Southern League Division 1 Central at Barton, Thame and Hertford Town and just a dozen away from the gates at Berkhamsted and Waltham Abby.
On Wednesday 30th November 2022 it’s the return of El Creaseyco as the Blues take on AFC Dunstable in the Beds FA Senior Challenge Cup, kick off is 7.45 pm.
Finally, on Sunday 4th December, our opponents in the 3rd round of the Isuzu FA Vase are Tring Athletic. A large crowd is expected, and we welcome the return of Mark and his team from Farmhouse Catering who will be selling hot pie and mash from their stall. Kick off is 3 pm.