St Albans City FC’s U23 team stepped into this exciting pre-season friendly at short notice following the enforced pull-out of North Leigh FC 24 hours earlier.
Coached by experienced former Tottenham & Palace favourite, Dean Austin, who happily chatted with supporters and had photos taken with fans who’d worshipped him from the terraces in his playing days, the young Saints played some lovely football and were clearly well drilled and organised.
But come 4.45pm it was the Home side who came out victorious winning 4-3, having gone behind 1-2, ten minutes into the second half.
Another three-figure crowd enjoyed a dry and sunny afternoon, which started with the Club
celebrating the fine achievement of the U13’s Lions who had won the M&S Water Services Chiltern Youth Football League U13 Division 1. And won it in some style too. Undefeated all season they dropped only two points all season winning all their other matches and finishing 7 points ahead of their nearest rivals.
Gary Rogers and his team, and their families were the Club’s guests and received their medals from First Team Manager, Gareth Jackson and an honour guard from the First Team squad.
The threatened thunderstorms stayed away, and Dunstable were soon ahead after just 5 minutes with talisman striker Chris Stapleton showing superb control and precision like finishing to slot home smoothly.
The crowd were eager for Dunstable to extend their lead however a slip up at the back was punished as the Saints showed their quality with a fine equalizer just a few minutes later.
There was plenty of possession from the home side but Blues keeper, Dan Gould, needed to be at his best on 20 minutes to keep his side level.
On the half hour the Dylan Fitzpatrick linked up well with Stapleton and was only inches wide. Two minutes later this period of Home pressure nearly paid dividends with A. Trialist also just wide.
However on the stroke of half time Saints had the ball in the back of the net only for the goal to be disallowed.
Ten minutes into the second half end to end football saw Dunstable hit the bar at the car park end, only for Saints to launch a quick counter and go into the lead. But Dunstable replied strongly and thought they’d equalized five minutes later only for the linesman’s flag to rule for a corner.
However a devastating period of Blues football brought three goals in a ten minute period with first Joe Mead shooting from outside the box to equalize, followed by goals from Gale & Fry to give what looked to be a comfortable end to the game.
However Blues highly rated young defender Dylan Fitzpatrick suffered a broken leg and needed to be stretchered off and was taken to hospital where x-rays revealed the fracture. Fitzpatrick has enormous talent, potential and a bright future ahead of him. This is the second time in a year that he has broken his leg. All at the Club wish Dylan a very successful recovery and look forward to seeing him back at Creasey Park as soon as he is able to.
With the Blues down to 10 men for the remainder of the game, the Saints scored again, and much watch checking was ended with the final whistle blown by Match Referee, Mark Bright.
This was a good test for Gareth Jackson’s side, and the visit of AFC Rushden & Diamonds to Creasey Park on Thursday 29th July (kick off 7.45pm) will also be a tough test for the Blues.