Emotional scenes underlined events at Creasey Park on Saturday, as Dunstable Town celebrated the life of fan, friend and volunteer Aaron Bateman.
Town started the game brightly, and a quick counterattack resulted in a through ball sending Jack Percy through on goal, but Broadfields keeper Matt Faley was quickly off his line and Percy could only shoot wide.
Percy was causing the visitors trouble again shortly afterwards, when Faley got his fingertips to a low shot from the edge of the box, tipping it onto the post before it was cleared to safety.
Terrence Muchineripi was next to try his luck for the Blues, blasting over with his left foot, but Dunstable weren't going to have things all their own way.
Broadfields looked quick going forward, and it was not long before Stevie Ward was able to cut in on his right foot and force a decent save from Dan Gould. The ball rebounded to Ward, but his shot sailed safely over the bar.
Floral tributes were laid beside the newly named Aaron Bateman Stand, and this was the end the Blues found themselves attacking towards in the second half, with the majority of the 279-strong crowd willing them on.
Having started the second half positively, it was in the fifty-fourth minute that the deadlock was broken. Muchineripi received the ball on the edge of the D, turned and fired a right-footed rocket into the corner of the goal, before the team ran to celebrate with Aaron Bateman's family and friends.
Broadfields battled back though. A deep free kick was headed into the middle of the box for Ward to get an athletic effort on goal, which Gould managed to tip over the bar. Not according to the officials though; goal kick.
A period of Broadfields pressure ensued, and they crafted two very decent chances from corners before a Rhys Ellis long-ranger forced Gould into action.
With ten minutes to play, and only a slender lead for the home side, Joseph Sellers-West latched onto a through ball and tucked the ball into the bottom corner, giving the Blues breathing space, to the relief and joy of the fans.
A mistake in the Broadfields midfield saw Dunstable able to regain possession and attack, and in the ninetieth minute the cherry was put on top of the victory. Kyle Faulkner received the ball on the left side of the box from Sellers-West, and his deflected shot left Faley rooted to the spot. Even goalkeeper Gould made his way to the top of the field to join in celebrations for the third, and this display of speed probably gave him the edge as he was chosen as man of the match.
A fitting performance from all involved, on and off the pitch, on a day of high emotion. We wish you were there watching with us though, Aaron.
Written by Patrick MacKay
Photos by Cupcake 99 Football Photography