Written by Andrew Madaras
Photos by Liam Smith
It’s been a few years since we’ve won a League game on the opening day of the season. Six years to be precise. Cambridge City were the vanquished, in what proved to be the last season before the Club became Fan run in 2017.
A lot of water has flowed under a lot of bridges in that time and the Club is unrecognizable from that period. Even in those days, a Bank Holiday derby away at Hitchin might persuade 25 or 30 Dunstable fans to follow their team away from home. On Tuesday night at the Hollow, the Blues were supported by 45 fans (yes, I am sufficiently sad to do a headcount!), in what I believe was the Club’s largest away following since Aylesbury in January this year.
Given that Potton is hardly “round the corner” and on a midweek evening, the support for Joe and the team was an indication of the positive vibe and renewed interest in the team that currently surrounds Creasey Park.
The cheers from the away support were jubilant when on the hour, Tolu Ikuyinminu ran almost the length of the pitch, cut inside & audaciously sent the ball high over the head of the Potton keeper to put the Blues two up and ultimately secure the three points.
Injuries to Liam McCrohan & Joe Sellers-West in the final pre-season friendly away at the Brache on Saturday gave the pre-season sharpshooters, Kelvin Osei-Addo & Remell Stirling, the numbers 9 and 10 shirts. Neither betrayed the faith shown in them with Kelvin silencing the boo boys with a well-taken goal on 37 minutes. For his troubles, he got showered with beer from a fan from behind the goal. The pass from Kyle Davison-Gordon out on the left was inch perfect. Kelvin brought the ball down on his chest, advanced beat his man and slid the ball past the advancing keeper.
Before then, however, Potton really should have scored first with a gilt-edged opportunity falling to marksman Jim Burnside who put the ball wide of the post.
It came at the end of a nervy first 15 – 20 minutes for the Blues, but they escaped unscathed and after that period looked comfortable on and off the ball.
An injury to skipper, Jamie Nicholls, in the warm-up saw Terrence Muchineripi replace our talismanic leader. Terrence, in common with every other single player in a red and black shirt, gave everything for the team & left nothing out on the pitch.
There were some immense personal performances, but truth be told all the players played their part in a fine team victory. The man of the match award was finally awarded to Ethan Creary with Benji Crilley running him a very close second.
In goal, Connor Coulson did everything that was expected of him. Late on in the game he dived high to his left to keep a goal bound shot out. He was confident all night with his handling and kicking and patrolled his area and beyond with constant encouragement for the players in front of him.
The midfield engine room was relentless all evening. Snapping at the heels of their opponents, breaking up the play and doing the basic things in a coordinated and well-rehearsed manner.
Supporters have long discussed the Achilles Heel that has been a midfield that has sometimes struggled with more physical teams and has been bullied into submission. Joe & Kyle’s summer recruitment has seen them address these concerns and the midfield now looks like a unit which will stand its ground and give no quarter.
Behind them, J’Ardell Stirling marshalled the defensive backline using all his Step 3 experience to successfully limit the number of direct shots on goal Connor Coulson needed to deal with.
The fans appreciated the performance and the victory and warmly applauded the players off the pitch. This is going to be a long season and there will be plenty of ups and downs but a clean sheet, two well-taken goals, and three points is not a bad way to start.
Great Wakering Rovers are our opponents in the Extra Preliminary Round of the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday 6th August. Supporters are reminded that season tickets cannot be used for this fixture. In the case of a draw, the replay will be on Tuesday 9th August at Great Wakering’s ground.
Our next opponents at Creasey Park are Tring Athletic who come to Creasey Park on Saturday 13th August. Kick off is 3 pm.