A goal in the 4th minute of stoppage time from the head of Joe Sellers-West was enough to give Dunstable Town a deserved share of the spoils at Rothamsted Park where gusty winds, rain and sleet from Storm Arwen made playing the beautiful game a tricky feat so credit is due to both teams for putting on such an entertaining spectacle ensuring that the spectators got value for their money.
Unbeaten now in their last four matches, Dunstable will feel very satisfied with their afternoon’s work and the “never know when you’re beaten” attitude, Head Coach Joe Deeney has installed in his new look team.
Harpenden Town went into the match sitting in 3rd position in the League and justifiably proud of the mid-week giant-killing victory over Stevenage in the Herts Senior Cup.
However, the Blues have become a bit of a bogey team for the Harps. In the corresponding match last season, a very late Leo Pedro header won the day in a thrilling 5 – 4 away day victory and earlier this season, bottom of the table, and without a point after six matches, goals from Tyler Fry & Gary Jones got Dunstable’s season off to a belated start.
However, a lot has changed at Creasey Park since then. Only Dan Gould, Dan Trif and John Sonuga remain from the 16 man squad named for that game on the 18th of September.
Head Coach, Joe Deeney & Assistant Kyle Durkan have brought in players they know personally or on trusted recommendation and the change has been remarkable.
There is a palpable sense of camaraderie which permeates from the dressing room to the Boardroom and on to the terraces and it was that spirit which helped guide Dan Naylor’s 94th minute corner into the box where Sellers-West was able to nod it into the top right hand corner.
The talk before the game had deservedly been about the three Dunstable supporters who had braved the elements and walked 20 km from Creasey Park to Rothamsted Park to raise money for the Club’s Blues 4 – 5K L&D Hospital appeal.
The walk raised over £500 and helped the Club get within shouting distance of raising £5,000 for the Cancer Unit at the Luton & Dunstable University Hospital.
Richard, Dean and Peter, may have been regretting their early start when Harpenden went a goal up on the 15-minute mark.
Both sides battled hard for midfield supremacy and against the elements. If Harpenden had the better of the early stages, it was Dunstable who came back strongly and deservedly got back on level terms when Kyle Faulkner was on hand to lash in an equalizer from close range in the 38th minute following a corner on the left-hand side as Dunstable came back strongly.
Twice, Joe Sellers-West weaved his way to the bye-line before crossing the ball invitingly, however, on both occasions it evaded the red and black shirts.
All square at halftime, Dunstable were indebted to keeper Dan Gould who made a miraculous save down to his right to keep out a short range shot but by the hour mark, Harpenden had scored twice, giving themselves a two-goal cushion.
Their first of the two goals followed a good move from Dunstable which saw captain, Jamie Nicholls thwarted by the Harpenden keeper whose long punt downfield caused problems on the sticky surface and ended up with a shot, which looked as if it was covered by Dan Gould, being deflected against a post with a yellow and green shirt being on hand to knock in the rebound.
Another goal followed 10 minutes later and with an hour played Dunstable had it all to do.
But they went about their task purposefully and energetically Benji Gray got his first goal for the Club in the 63rd minute when he took advantage of a mistake from the Harpenden defence, and Dunstable were back in the game.
Joe Sellers-West looked as if he’d equalized as he advanced on goal in a one on one with the keeper. Agonizingly the ball rolled past the far post and Sellers-West was denied what would have been a deserved goal for a man whose determination and persistence has been appreciated by the Dunstable faithful. It’s now five goals from nine starts for the young striker.
Terrence Muchineripi came on for the final 15 minutes as Dunstable did their best to break down a strong defensive backline.
Ethan Creaey ended up in referee Sam Laidler’s book as Dunstable pressed forward, but the same player was Dunstable’s saviour with a perfectly timed tackle to dispossess a yellow and green shirt when he looked odds on to shoot from close range.
As time ebbed away supporters began to check their watches. The goal when it came owed much to Dan Trif’s doggedness in winning the corner taken over the far side. An inswinger from Dan Naylor appeared to get headed back invitingly for Sellers-West to grab the equalizer.
A point apiece will please Dunstable more and will feel like two points dropped to Harpenden who slipped down a place to 4th in the table.
Dunstable are now 15th in the table and welcome Tring Athletic to Creasey Park next Saturday 4th December. Kick-off is 3 pm and as an added attraction hot Caribbean food from Jamaica Mi Crazy will be available.
Written by Andrew Madaras