Written by Neil Barker
When young Keyarn Cope-Chase was shown his second yellow card late in the first half it looked like it was going to be another one of those evenings. As the midfielder left the field, pleading his innocence, Dunstable Town manager Joe Deeney had a choice to make. Withdraw a striker and bolster the midfield, or maintain a more attacking line. He chose the latter, and we are glad he did, as the Blues produced a second half display worthy of the three points.
With young keeper Sean Locke-Hart retaining his place, and Sam Scott returning to strengthen the defence, Joe also opted to give striker Jake Anthony his debut after his prolonged transfer saga. All three equipped themselves admirably.
In truth, the first half was not of the highest quality with the notable exception of a fine pinpoint save from Arlesey keeper Ollie Skinner. A cross from Tolu from the left was met by a solid header from Danny Webb which looked for all the world to have goal written on it. Skinner clawed it away and further danger was dealt with by the alert defence.
Arlesey had looked dangerous from set pieces and a couple of headers may have reaped more reward on another day. However, the game changed with two yellow cards for Keyarn in quick succession. As he drove into the heart of the Arlesey defence he looked to have won a free kick on the edge of the box. The referee deemed otherwise, brandishing a yellow card for 'diving/simulation' and the Blues were down to 10 men.
To a man, as at the harsh defeat at Tring on Saturday, the 10 men worked tirelessly on and off the ball and started to make inroads in wide areas, restricting Arlesey to very few opportunities. This resilience and creativity paid off in the 70th minute, when an excellent weighted through ball by Danny Webb, found his strike partner Jake Anthony in behind the defence to slot the ball under the advancing Skinner. A fine debut goal and hopefully a sign of things to come.
In truth the Blues looked relatively comfortable, restricting the opposition to a couple of half chances from set pieces.
Joe utilised four of his substitutes with Andrew Osei-Bonsu, on his return to the club, reminding us of his fine first touch and power in possession. As the minutes ticked by the Blues really needed a second. Up stepped Tolu to burst past his full back for the umpteenth time, with the ball eventually arriving at Danny Webb's feet. One touch and blasted into the roof of the net. Rumour has it that Jake Anthony was claiming an assist, with Joe Deeney giving that very short shrift!
Shortly after, Andrew Osei-Bonsu curled a shot in from the right edge of the box that had the Arlesey keeper scrambling across to push the ball wide.
Just when you thought the game was over, up stepped Ryan Lamond to give Arlesey some late hope with a strike from the edge of the box. To the relief of the healthy crowd of 188, the referee then blew the whistle in the 8th minute of the 6 minutes added on!