A brace from Joe Sellers-West was enough to give the Blues all three points against a battling and hard-working Hoddesdon Town side on an emotion filled day at Creasey Park.
Sellers-West’s 9th and 10th goals for the season were both majestic, towering headers at the far post, which met the in swinging set pieces from Luke Dunstan and Harry Beaumont.
But while attention on the field was correctly directed towards Joe Deeney’s lads as they notched up a fifth straight win and rose to 4th in the table, attention off the field and after the final whistle had blown was all around the sad and tragic first anniversary of the death of Aaron Bateman. Players took flowers over to the Aaron Bateman stand as a mark of respect and solidarity with Aaron’s family and stood and applauded with Club supporters as the staff team at Creasey Park presented Aaron’s family with a plaque inscribed with the words;
“In spite of it all, life is beautiful”
An absolutely magnificent gesture which brought tears to many eyes.
With games coming thick and fast, Head Coach, Joe Deeney has been mindful of making sure that players don’t get too tired and using the large squad at his disposal. This was possibly going through Joe’s mind when he named Tolu Ikuyinminu as a substitute. Tolu’s introduction at the start of the second half certainly got the crowd on their toes and gave the Blues some additional attacking options.
For the away side, a familiar face in the form of Joe Parmley lined up against his former team mates.
The first half was not a classic. Dunstable had the better chances and the lion’s share of possession but couldn’t find the magic ingredient to push ahead. The closest they got was a fine piece of work from Joe Sellers-West who almost from nothing made space for himself around the outside of the box and unleashed a real thunderbolt which whistled narrowly wide of the far post.
Half time changes saw John Smith replaced by Tolu. “Smudger” as he’s affectionately known by teammates and the Creasey Park faithful has been a revelation since his arrival from Amersham Town last month. A player in the mould of Joe Deeney’s preferred athletes, committed, hard working, tenacious and solid. His addition to the team has given just that little bit of extra bite.
Deeney will often talk about the need to find extra 1%’s, behind the scenes and on the park. The addition of John Smith & Robbie Goodman has been just that. The competition for places has become intense, with several players competing for the same starting place.
Tolu’s pace caused his defender's worries. The Blues worked the ball through the channels and Danny Webb started to find the space which makes him such a threat. The opening goal on 62 minutes came at the end of a good spell of Dunstable pressure which saw the Hoddesdon keeper make a couple of very decent saves.
Dunstan’s inswinging corner was beautifully flighted and there waiting at the back stick was Joe Sellers-West to guide the ball home from a couple of feet off the goal line.
With their noses in front Dunstable started to go through the gears and despite a spirited response from the away side Dunstable never looked in any serious trouble. However as every football pundit will testify 1-0 is a dangerous scoreline to protect. Thankfully there were no heart in mouth moments, the players to a man did their jobs.
Skipper, Alfie Osborne, drew words of warm praise from the Match Referee for the way he conducted himself on the pitch and communicated with the referee. A contender for the Man of the Match, that accolade going to Joe Sellers-West, who had put the game to bed in the 86th minute with an almost carbon copy of his first goal.
Excitement grew around the ground as the results from around the League began to filter through. Teams at the top dropped points and the importance of the victory over hard working Hoddesdon became even more telling.
On Tuesday the Blues travel down the 12 miles down the A1081 to Harpenden to play the twice postponed fixture v the Harps.
On Saturday the Blues return to Creasey Park and welcome Leverstock Green who sit just behind Dunstable in the table and will provide determined opposition as will the Harps four days earlier.