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Match Report: Dunstable Town 2-1 Harpenden Town

With only one league goal to show from 540 minutes of league action before kick-off, Dunstable Town scored two cracking goals on a gloriously sunny day to give Caretaker Manager, Anthony Christophi, the Club’s first points of the season, and lift some of the clouds which had gathered over Creasey Park in recent weeks. The much needed victory was enough to lift them off the bottom of the table and into 19th place.

Before kick-off, it would have taken a brave person to have correctly predicted the scoreline and a home win. Harpenden Town sat in second place, trailing leaders Leighton Town only by goal difference, while the Blues had seen recent improvements in performances notably against Risborough Rangers and Leighton Town, undone by the defeats in the FA Vase to high flying British Airways and on Tuesday night in the League to Baldock Town.

Gareth Jackson had tendered his resignation on Thursday having given everything to the Club as First Team Manager since January 2019 and Assistant Manager to Tony McCool before that.

There was some sustained early pressure from the visitors who moved the ball around nicely and got into some good positions without being able to cause any real damage.

Dunstable grew into the game and began to exert themselves and went ahead on the 25th minute with a delightfully struck shot from Tyler Fry who in so doing, doubled his, and the Club’s tally of league goals for the season.

The goal seemed to give the players increased confidence and the crowd of 149 really started to get behind the players urging them on.

And one so nearly became two a couple of minutes later when captain Chris Stapleton sprung the offside trap but saw his shot go wide.

With the Blues defence looking tight, compact and organized and Dan Gould on top form there was no way through for Harpenden when they did get forward.

Halt time cups of tea were taken with the chatter among the spectators reflecting on a good first half performance and the first time we had led at halftime in the first 46 days of the season.

The first fifteen minutes of the second half saw a goal for both sides. First, former Blue, Ryan Plowright levelled the scores only for Gary Jones to strike a superbly placed free kick beyond the outstretched hands of Alex Desmond in the Harpenden goal to restore the Blues lead five minutes later.

The match then ebbed and flowed but played at a good pace, this was an entertaining spectacle with the sides providing plenty of entertainment for the crowd.

As the match entered the final 10 minutes Dan Gould needed to be at his imperious best to deny Harpenden what looked like a certain equalizer drawing deserved applause from the crowd.

Referee, Ross Cole, who had a very good game, a minute later cautioned Dan for time wasting.

A few minutes later the final whistle blew to everyone’s great relief, with the players receiving a conquering heroes’ reception as they walked up the tunnel. The attendance at Creasey Park was the highest of the season so far gives a current average of 127. It was also the second highest in the Premier Division on Saturday.

Vice-Chair & Club Treasurer Matt Carrington has set himself the target of seeing a season average of 150 which would equal several averages we had at Step 3. You wouldn’t bet against it happening especially if we can look forward to some more performances like this one.

Anthony was typically modest and grounded about the result and gave an excellent account of himself on Ollie Baylis’ show. At 24 he’s certainly one of, if not the youngest, (caretaker) manager in the SSML Premier Division. He was First Team Manager at Ampthill Town when he was just 21 and having served under Paul Blackman at both AFC & Ampthill don’t let his age fool you. Anthony knows his football and knows where he wants to be.

Written by Andrew Madaras

Photos by Cupcake 99 Photography


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