A bumper Bank Holiday crowd of 281 were treated to an enthralling contest between two of the League’s form teams. Dunstable Town, as the home side were unbeaten in their previous six league matches, while visitors Arlesey Town, boasted the third best away record in the league and were the Division’s fifth highest goal scorers.
Dunstable welcomed back influential skipper Jamie Nicholls into a strong looking lineup.
It didn’t take long for the away side to go ahead. With only three minutes on the clock, the Dunstable defence was caught out by an uneven bounce with the ball seemingly stuck in the heavily sanded goal mouth. Reece Cameron didn’t need a second invitation and poked the ball into the net.
With Dunstable’s Christmas fixture away at Crawley Green postponed, the 16 day lay off did leave the home side looking a little ring rusty. This was only their 3rd game of football in over five weeks so this was to be expected.
The eagle eye of Assistant Referee, Gavin Muge, saw referee, Terry Dawkins, overturn his original decision to award a penalty to Arlesey, but they weren’t to be denied a second goal for too long as just after the half hour, captain Bruno Brito volleyed home from a corner.
The Dunstable come-back started with November & December Goal of The Month winner, Terrence Muchineripi heading home from a free kick on the verge of halftime.
Football psychology has written into folklore that one of the best times to score is just before the break. The goal was an important boost not just for the Team but for the home supporters who had seen plenty of effort and endeavour without any reward until Muchineripi’s early contender for the January GOTM competition.
The Blues looked a different team in the second half. Ring rustiness had been discarded and a much more coordinated approach took its place.
Referee Dawkins had a busy afternoon showing the yellow card eight times. Five away players and three home players were cautioned.
The crowd really started to get behind the team and the introduction of a drum among the supporters helped the atmosphere and created the 12th Man.
Head Coach, Joe Deeney, shuffled the pack bringing on pacy striker, Jack Percy for Dylan Baker, just after the hour mark and a couple of minutes before the goal Benji Gray replaced Joe Mead.
The equalizer again came from a free kick. Floated in with precision by Dan Naylor, Jamie Nicholls got on the end of it to guide the ball past Ryan Hilliard in the Arlesey goal.
It was no more than Dunstable deserved for a spirited second half performance. As with the previous game against Flackwell Heath, which also ended in a draw the important thing is that the Team are still able to pick up points despite not being at their best.
The Blues were last beaten in the League two months ago and yesterday’s result makes it seven games unbeaten.
Next up for Dunstable is a trip to Aylesbury Vale Dynamos on the 15th January.
The following Tuesday (18th) they are at home to Luton Town in the Beds Senior Cup. With Luton expected to field a competitive team, this should bring in another good crowd to watch, with spectators advised to arrive in good time.
Written by Andrew Madaras
Photos by Cupcake 99 Football Photography