A powerful and dominant display of football in the second half blew visitors, Tring Athletic away. After a first half stalemate, Dunstable let their football do the talking and took full advantage of the conditions to do the double over their Hertfordshire neighbours.
Goals from Terrence Muchineripi, Joe Sellers-West and Kyle Faulkner were enough to lift the Blues up to 14th place and send an above average crowd of 168 home, happy with what they’d seen.
It’s now 11 points out of a possible 15 and while it’s still early days and nobody is getting carried away, there is a general feeling in the camp that the Blues have arrested their decline and are heading in the right direction.
Creasey Park was bitterly cold with a fierce wind chilling to the bone. It made playing conditions difficult and sent some spectators without the requisite layers of thermals home early to avoid developing frostbite.
Tring Athletic are managed by former Dunstable Town Assistant manager, Ryan Sturges. “Sturge” had selected a team that consisted of four former Dunstable players. However, there was no fairytale return for them as Dunstable, superbly marshalled in the middle of the park by skipper, Jamie Nicholls, helped make a bit of history for the only Community / Fan owned club in the whole of Beds, Herts and Bucks.
The Club was taken over by its fans in 2017 and suffered back-to-back relegations which saw it start Season 2019 – 2020 in the Premier Division of the Spartan South Midlands League.
That season and last season were both affected by Covid and ended prematurely.
Saturday’s victory was not only the first time since the Club became fan run that a team had been beaten home and away, but it’s also the first 5 game unbeaten run in the same period.
Head Coach, Joe Deeney, has assembled a squad of players who never stop running, never give up, play for the badge with passion, pride, and no small amount of skill as Saturday’s performance showed.
This is a team with energy, purpose, desire and commitment. They play as if their lives depend on the result, and obey every instruction which Joe & his Assistant, Kyle Durcan, demand of them.
Each passage of play is meticulously planned and rehearsed. No stone in terms of preparation is left unturned and nothing is left to chance.
J’Ardell Stirling, a mid-week signing from Wingate & Finchley started in the centre of the defence and played with the assurance and authority you would expect from someone who has been playing two divisions higher.
Another new signing, Jake Stronge, came off the bench in the second half to make his debut following his move from Newport Pagnell Town FC.
There was needle and cynical tactics at play in the first half. With the wind at their backs, this was the half that Tring needed to go into the break in front. However Dan Gould wasn’t really tested and it was Tring custodian, David Saunders who needed to be at his best to keep his goal intact, pulling off a couple of great saves to keep the scores level at halftime.
Tring left back, Adam Sawyer needed to be replaced following a clash of heads. Referee Elliot Meyer brandished a yellow card at Benji Gray. Others will consider themselves fortunate that they did not receive a similar sanction and punishment.
The second half was only 10 minutes old, and Dunstable had the ball in the back of the net twice. The Assistant Referee raised his flag to chalk off one effort but stayed down when Terrence Muchineripi volleyed home an inch perfect cross from Dylan Baker, out on the far left, to put the Blues deservedly one up. It was a sublime finish and is an early contender for goal of the season. Had it been the only goal of the afternoon it would have been a worthy winner; however, Dunstable now had the bit between their teeth and with the winds at their backs scored again 10 minutes later.
Dan Naylor’s corner from the right was met powerfully by Joe Sellers-West who headed the ball down low and hard and gave Saunders no chance.
Tring were overrun in midfield & lacked potency upfront and rarely troubled Gould in the second half.
Looking to improve their goal difference, Kelvin Ossei-Addo replaced Jamie Nicholls for the final 15 minutes. And it was Ossei-Addo who supplied the telling pass for Kyle Faulkner to bury the ball home from close range with 5 minutes left on the clock.
There was still time for Ossei-Addo to try and get his name on the score sheet but Saunders was alert to his forays on goal.
The final whistle was met with an appreciative roar of approval from the Dunstable faithful who applauded both teams off the pitch.
Deeney had promised “sweat on the shirt” and his young charges gave that and much more and ran out worthy winners.
Town have a free weekend next but are back in action in two weeks’ time on the 18th December when Flackwell Heath are the visitors.
It will be less than two months since the Blues conceded five in the final half hour at Wilks Park to come away with bruised pride and a harsh reminder of how tough SSML Premier Division games are. The Blues will be looking to avenge that defeat. It should be a good test and a good guide as to how far the Team has come in that time.
Written by Andrew Madaras
Pictures by L-Smith Photography