The news around Creasey Park before kick-off was all about the Club’s appointment of Anthony Christophi as Gareth Jackson’s new Assistant Manager.
Anthony is no stranger to Creasey Park having been the Manager of the AFC Dunstable U18’s when they won the County Cup in 2017. The following season Anthony became Paul Blackman’s Assistant Manager of the AFC Development Team that won the Beds Intermediate Challenge Cup & SSML Development League in 2018.
Anthony then followed Paul to become his Assistant Manager at Ampthill Town before taking over as First Team Manager on Paul’s departure.
Anthony came down to Creasey Park at 11.30 am to meet the players and have photos taken before leaving for a prior engagement.
He missed a thrilling game in which the Blues went into the half time interval trailing to two goals they probably should have done better with but putting on a barnstorming display in the second half to wrestle the advantage away from Aylesbury Vale Dynamos only to concede a last-minute winner with an unstoppable shot into Dan Gould’s top left-hand corner.
Manager, Gareth Jackson, can take some comfort from a much better team performance than last time out against Shefford Town & Campton, and even if the Blues weren’t able to take all the chances they created, the pleasing thing was their desire to push forward, dominate possession and create chances, which had been so difficult to create a week earlier.
A shuffle of the pack saw L’Kharmi Gale start in the absence of Joe Hankins and a return for
playmaker, Tyler Fry.
Kick-off had been brought forward to 12.45 pm in order to allow the nation time to mourn the death of Prince Philip. DCMS & FA guidelines meant that the game had to be played behind closed doors.
In an attempt to try and provide fans with a way of following the action, budding sports journalists, George Knight & Ben Green were again on hand to provide excellent and professional match commentary and summaries to accompany a live stream on Facebook.
So impressed by George & Ben’s coverage are our next opponents in the Gladwish Cup that Newport Pagnell Town FC contacted the Club within minutes of the final whistle asking whether the future stars of sports broadcasting would be available to provide commentary and a live stream for our game next week.
Their written articles in the digital matchday programme have been well received and prompted much debate and discussion.
The pitch was in fine condition and under a warming Spring sun and clear blue skies the game settled into a well-contested game with Dunstable shading possession and opportunities early on.
Leo Pedro had a half-chance in the first minute but was denied by excellent defending by Kusi.
Dan McAteer in the Aylesbury goal needed to be alert to a Joe Debayo shot after 5 minutes as the Blues looked to press home their early pressure.
Two minutes later Vale were only inches wide with Dan Gould diving at full stretch to his left.
Dan Gould pulled off the save of the day just on the quarter-hour making a point-blank save to deny Gbejuade.
There were a couple of good chances for both sides with a contentious offside decision pulling back Stapleton following a fine ball from Tyler Fry.
Vale took the lead on the half-hour when Dan Lambeth made a smart interception, rounded Dan Gould and slid the ball into the empty net.
Ten minutes later and one became two for the same player who headed home from a free kick on the Aylesbury right.
Tom Hood’s half time whistle brought respite for the Blues. With Aylesbury hitting four at Baldock last week and the Blues conceding four against Shefford Town & Campton, Dunstable would need to up their game in the second half to prevent repeat scorelines.
And that is exactly what they did.
They took the game to their visitors and soon pulled a goal back from talisman striker, Chris
Stapleton, who, to quote George Knight, rose like a salmon from the water to head past the
advancing Vale keeper. Game on.
Khy Smith-Reid, on as a second-half substitute thought he’d levelled on the hour mark, where a fine mazy run on the left ended with him curling the finish inches wide of the far post.
In between were further Dunstable chances where the ball just wouldn’t go in the net, Vale did have the ball in the net but was disallowed for offside.
It was another second-half substitute, Gregg Douglas, who deservedly levelled for the Blues with a precise header from an Adam Sawyer corner.
It’s a football cliché as old as the game itself, but the next goal was always likely to prove the winner, and so it proved. A goal worthy of winning any game came in the first minute of stoppage time and from the boot of Kevin Owusu from 20 yards out which flew into Dan Gould’s top left-hand corner.
The proverbial tale of two halves of football, Aylesbury Vale winning the first, Dunstable the second but despite the defeat, Dunstable restored some wounded pride and will have more confidence and optimism that they can travel north next Saturday up to Junction 14 of the M1 and get a much-needed win in their third game of the group stages of the Gladwish Cup.
The game will be live-streamed and full details on how to follow will be available on the day.
Written by: Andrew Madaras
Photos by: @cupcake99footballphotography