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Match Report: St. Panteleimon 1-1 Dunstable Town

Written by Andrew Madaras

An early Joe Sellers-West strike gave Dunstable Town a lead they took into the half-time break before eagle-eyed referee Jack Frost spotted a Dunstable hand connect with a direct free kick and correctly awarded a penalty which was neatly dispatched by former Hatter and Chairboy, Dean Morgan to give the home side a share of the points.

The large travelling faithful awarded Connor Coulson with the Man of the Match award for his stellar performance but the 10 red and black shirts in front of him all made valiant contributions to make sure this was definitely a case of one point gained as opposed to two points lost.

It means after the weekend’s results that the Blues stay in 5th place but on a points per game basis narrowly keep their place at the top of the pecking order with a score of 2.11pts/game with Stotfold breathing down their necks on 2.08pts/game.

Crawley Green, Leighton Town and Biggleswade Utd all are still right up there with 2pts/game each.

It also means that the Town have now completed three full months of the League programme and remain unbeaten. When Head Coach, Joe Deeney and his coaching team took over a year ago the Club sat at the bottom of the table. A year later they sit (narrowly) at the top, unbeaten and still in the FA Vase. A truly remarkable achievement which is more than anyone could have reasonably expected.

Deeney and his team are building. Building for the future. There is a winning mentality and “can do” approach which courses through the veins of the Club. “Try is a word used in rugby”, not within the DTFC squad as Deeney told the Talk of the Town podcast recently.

Every single word Deeney says on the subject of his team and their approach marks the man out as someone who has instilled a professional approach to everything related to the game into a semi-professional Club who knew when they appointed him that as a board of Directors, they would need to raise their own game.

It’s been a marriage made in heaven so far. There’s mutual respect for each other’s achievements. As the Club grows in prominence as a social enterprise and is attracting as much interest for its off the field activities organizing and running community support groups as part of the Improving the Lives of Others programme, Deeney and co do the majority of their talking on the pitch, an approach which has seen crowds and Club ownership continue to rise.

All competitions average attendance this season is 247. Gates have doubled since Deeney & Durcan’s appointment and there is the feeling that something special is happening at Creasey Park.

Individual Club ownership is over 140 with overseas ownership swelled by two more Australian fans and an American fan becoming owners in the last few days. Club ownership provides the Club with the income to provide free community support groups across the board whether its Walking Football or Sphere at the Glider or Chums and Crumbs.

But there’s more to come. In his usual Thursday report to the Club’s fans on DTFCTV, Deeney updated the serious injury list and unavailability which has robbed him of seven players who most likely would have started Wednesday nights game.

However, their replacements fitted in and were credit to their patience and professionalism. Ruari Mills and Dan Naylor have both had limited minutes this season, not that you’d have guessed it by their confidence and assuredness in the tackle and on the ball on Wednesday night.

Vice-Captain Harry Beaumont wore the Skipper’s armband in the absence of Alfie Osborne and was everywhere marshalling and encouraging his troops. Leading by example and doing his job superbly.

J’Ardell Stirling composed and imposing marked danger man Dean Morgan all night and gave nothing away.

St Panteleimon have grown out of the local leagues in Harrow, Northwest London and as the name suggests have their roots in the Greek & Greek Cypriot community and the Orthodox church of St Panteleimon in Kenton which is where the Club derives their name from and still serves as their spiritual base.

The last time our paths crossed was three years ago in a cup match. In those days St Panteleimon ground shared at North Greenford Utd. They were playing at Step 6 but were more than a match for the Blues that evening and won comprehensively 4-1. Former AFC man Courtney Massey being the standout player that evening.

Massey again lined up for St Panteleimon but was unable to exert the same degree of influence he had done three years ago.

While Massy and others remain from the side who won back in 2019, Dunstable have cleared the decks and started again. They are a different beast to 2019 and pack a different punch.

Isaac Olaleye’s inch perfect cross for Joe Sellers-West in the 2nd minute was a dream start for the away side, who were again well supported and made up most of the crowd. To many peoples surprise the bar and snack bar were closed so no refreshments were available. The situation kindly resolved by the appearance of Hertford Town Owner & Manager, Ben Herd, who opened up for the cold and hungry supporters.

Blues needed to make an early substitution with the influential Dylan Baker needing to be replaced by Dan Naylor.

While Dunstable were the superior team in the first half, the home team took the game to the Blues in the second half and were level on 68 minutes from the penalty spot.

Although the Blues continued to look a dangerous threat on the break, Deeney reflected on Connor Coulson’s man of the match winning display and three top draw saves he produced to make sure that the Blues left Hertfordshire with another precious point in the bag.

Dunstable are away in League action at Harpenden Town on Tuesday night before taking on Stotfold at Creasey Park on Saturday 5th November. Kick off 3 pm.


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