Written by Andrew Madaras
Photos by Liam Smith
A polished second half performance from the Blues saw them finish the match 3 -1 victors over visitors Hertford Town. A brace from Remell Stirling & a goal from Kelvin Osei-Addo delighting the crowd of 375 who came out in their numbers to show support and solidarity with Ian & Charlotte Bateman for the inaugural Aaron Bateman Memorial Trophy match.
This was a day when the football family came together to remember Aaron’s life and chanted his name at the end of the game in emotional reverence and respect.
The generosity of Ben Herd, Hertford Town, Sunderland, Luton Town will be remembered for a long time. Each Club donating football memorabilia which was auctioned after the game had finished and raised £1,700 for the Cystic Fibrosis Trust.
All three match officials, Jon Panconi, Andrew Aylott, and Alex Francioni, waived their match fees in a tremendous show of solidarity.
Andrew had been on the line for the League 1 playoff match on the 15th of May when Swindon had beaten Port Vale so huge thanks to all three officials and for James Slack & Dunstable Town Council for their ongoing support.
Admission was by donation to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust and with a well-supported raffle as well as auction the hope is that the charity will have benefited substantially in financial terms when all the money has been counted.
With the main pitch at Creasey Park not ready until Saturday 23rd July, when Lincoln City are the visitors, the game was played on ATP2 under clear blue skies and a hot sun, which ensured the ice cream van parked outside the gate did a roaring trade.
The first thing many supporters noticed was an unfamiliar figure in the Dunstable goal.
With both Charlie Jones and Connor Coulson injured, Dunstable needed to feature an up and coming trialist in between the sticks.
There were four other new faces for the fans to get to know in the starting lineup. Alfie Osborne, Harry Beaumont, Kyle Davidson-Gordon, and Tom Bryant.
Familiar faces were Jammers, wearing the skipper’s armband, J’Ardell Stirling, Liam McCrohan, Benji Crilley, Joe Sellers-West, and Kyle Faulkner.
The summer break has seen the departure of the last three players from Gareth Jackson’s time as Manager. Dan Gould has moved on to Crawley Green, John Sonuga to Uxbridge and the legend that is Daniel Trif, after five seasons with the Club returned home to Romania.
All three players were model professionals and will be remembered with great affection by the Regiment and all the Club’s supporters. We wish all of them every success with their new clubs and thank them for their loyalty and commitment during their time with us.
But times move on, and this is now 100% a Joe Deeney team.
If you’ve read Joe’s comments in the excellent Season Review (Another wonderful creation from Scottie) you’ll know that Joe “never accepts less than 1st place so the demands increase for the season ahead. I have never been great at settling for mediocrity and that is the mentality I demand from everyone around me, and those demands go up again next season”
Joe doesn’t mince his words or talk in riddles. It’s plain and simple language with no room for ambiguity or confusion.
Each and every player signed up for the season knows the demands that are expected of them, individually and collectively.
Hence the final score of 3 – 1 will have given the fans cause for optimism that this team will be able to compete against all comers this term. Hertford are a decent Step 4 team. With the Emirates FA Cup draw giving us a home tie against Great Wakering Rovers this will have been a good test against a side at a similar level.
Owner and Manager, Ben Herd, is a former Blue who tore up and down the wing as a box-to-box Wing back and took the most audacious penalty kicks I’d ever seen at Creasey Park in our early Step 3 days. It was good to see him back at Creasey Park. He’s put together a young-looking side, but there was good communication and team spirit evident. Some of their football, particularly in the first half was easy on the eye.
Hertford had the lion’s share of possession in the first quarter hour and went ahead on 17 minutes with a well-taken goal and were good value for the lead. Dunstable looked to get back on even terms and created chances but couldn’t find the elusive final touch to bring the scores level.
That changed 10 minutes into the second half when substitute Remell Stirling struck with power and precision to give the Hertford keeper no chance.
Dunstable were a more dominant force in the second half with Dylan Baker, Ethan Creary, Terrence Muchineripi, Joe Mead, Dan Naylor, Isaac Olaleye, Ruari Mills, Remell Stirling, and Kelvin Osei-Addo getting the opportunity to stake their claims to a place in the starting X1 to take on Lincoln City X1 on Saturday.
Five minutes later, Kelvin went on a mazy little run and finished with aplomb to put the Blues 2 – 1 up.
Two became three after Ruari Mills’ power drive was saved by the keeper down low to his left, only for Remell Stirling to react quickly and make certain from close range.
Dunstable shut up shop and played out the rest of the game which then left Ian Bateman to make a short speech before he and Charlotte handed Jammers the Aaron Bateman Memorial Trophy.
Dunstable are at home again on Saturday 23rd July when they entertain a Lincoln City X1 at 3 pm.
They then travel to Winslow Utd on Tuesday 26th July and have one more away friendly to confirm on Saturday 30th July before the SSML season kicks off in earnest away at Potton Utd on Tuesday, August 2nd.