Anyone who’d popped their head round the corner of Coles Park at ten to five on Saturday afternoon and seen the Dunstable Town players being enthusiastically applauded from the pitch by the travelling supporters may be forgiven for thinking that they’d produced the day’s biggest upset and defeated the League leaders.
Unfortunately, they hadn’t but a barnstorming second half had seen a sensational display of high tempo attacking football which should have brought greater reward than it did.
The Blues had gone into the break two goals down having made uncharacteristic defensive errors in the first 20 minutes and had looked out of sorts. Missing inspirational skipper Jamie Nicholls, who was still injured, the home team had taken full advantage and could have been a goal up within the first couple of minutes with a ball that rolled across the line.
Dan Gould managed to keep the deficit down to only two goals with some fine saves and Ethan Creary was desperately unlucky not to reduce the deficit with a free kick which rebounded off the post.
To add to the Blues woes, Liam McCrohan who has barely put a foot wrong all season, limped off after half an hour with a hamstring injury. Dan Trif came on and put in another big performance.
Whatever words of motivation and encouragement were used by Blues supremos, Joe Deeney & Kyle Durcan at halftime clearly had the desired effect. The Blues were a totally transformed team in the second half.
This time it was the home side who struggled to cope with wave after wave of blue shirts, a high press and being given no time on the ball.
This was more like what we’d come to expect from the Team, and just before the hour mark, the travelling faithful were duly rewarded when Dan Trif played a clever ball through to the energetic Remell Stirling who took the ball beyond the reach of the advancing keeper to slide the ball home. Half an hour still to play and game on.
Kyle Faulkner volleyed and was denied by the acrobatics of the home keeper while a diving header from the man of the match, Jack Percy, was a lick of paint away from being the goal of the game.
The home side were against the ropes and needed a lengthy interval to tie a bootlace to slow the pace of the game & draw breath.
Against the run of play they broke and former football league and Ghana International, Derek Asamoah showed all the experience in the world to place the ball beyond Dan Gould.
Asamoah may have been the oldest player on the pitch at 40 years old, but you’d never have guessed it. This was his 22nd goal in just 27 games for New Salamis this season and took the game beyond Dunstable’s reach.
On Tuesday night, the Blues had controlled the game away at third place Hadley and led at half time thanks to Kyle Faulkner’s 7th minute volley.
Faulkner thought he’d extended the Blues lead, five minutes into the second half, only to see his effort chalked off for off-side.
That seemed to spur the home side into action with the following 25 minutes seeing them breach the Dunstable backline three times with no reply.
Two defeats on the bounce, against teams in the top three, after a 14 game unbeaten run, are not necessarily a bad thing and Blues supporters should not be worried.
Having had the better of the first half on Tuesday, and the second half on Saturday, Messers Deeney & Durcan have put together a team that can compete with the best teams in the League.
The two matches will have told them where the team needs strengthening and making one or two additional signings over the summer will be their priority.
The Blues are back in League action at Creasey Park on Saturday 26th March against Leverstock Green. Kick off is at 3 pm and to celebrate Non-League-Day the Club will be offering admission on a “Pay what you want” basis. There will be additional catering from Jamaica Mi Crazy so fans are advised to arrive in plenty of time and not miss a moment of the action.
Written by Andrew Madaras
Pictures by L-Smith Photography