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Match Report: St Panteleimon 2-2 (Pens 4-5) Dunstable Town

Written by Andrew Madaras

Photos by Liam Smith

A thoroughly professional performance by a resurgent Dunstable team was richly rewarded for a penalty shoot out win against St Panteleimon with a place in the semi-finals in the Dudley Latham Cup.

Despite going 2-1 down against the run of play in the 85th minute, a rasping drive from the man of the match, Tolu Ikuyinminu in the 88th minute took the tie into penalties where Conor Coulson’s wonder save against former Hatter & Chairboy, Dean Morgan, proved to be decisive as all five Dunstable players who volunteered to take a penalty found their spot.

On the balance of play I don’t think few could argue that the Blues overall dominance was not worthy of a place in the next round.

J’Ardell Stirling was only beaten by a fraction to the man of the match award. J’Ardell played in midfield and looked comfortable, composed and was very much the epitome of what Joe asks his players to do and perform.

Alfie Osborne remained as a Centre Half with a back three of Benji Crilley and Kyle Davison Gordon. Wing backs, Ruari Mills and Tolu Ikuyinminu with Luke Dunstan, Harry Beaumont joining J’Ardell in midfield with Danny Webb & Kelvin Osei-Addo providing the fire power up front.

Within the first few minutes Kelvin Osei-Addo had hit the post from a tight angle out on the left and Tolu had tested the goalkeeper in an industrious start from the away side.

On the quarter hour the Blues dominance finally paid dividends as a well worked move between Kelvin & Tolu, saw the latter play an inch perfect pass across goal to where Danny Webb was able to meet it sweetly and put the Blues one goal to the good.

Danny Webb slides in to make to put Dunstable in the lead.
Danny Webb slides in to make to put Dunstable in the lead.

St Panteleimon were reduced to 10 men when their no.5 was sent off mid-way through the first half.

Although Dunstable looked comfortable and looked odds on to carry their lead into the half-time interval, St Panteleimon scored from a direct free kick which looked unstoppable. Even Joe Deeney said in his post-match interview with the Talk of the Town podcast, that he stood on the touchline and applauded the goal as did most of us.

Despite some periods of decent pressure Dunstable couldn’t fashion another goal despite some good preparatory play.

Both teams were playing some bright, attractive football and for the neutral this was an excellent and absorbing game, and an excellent advert for Step 5 football from two teams who like to get the ball down and play.

As penalties beckoned St Panteleimon went ahead with only five minutes of normal time to go. However Tolu Ikuyinminu had other ideas and made the most of an intelligent pass from sub, Joe Sellers-West and hit home to send both sides to penalties.

Dunstable fans outnumbered the home fans by 2:1 and when Tolu Ikuyinminu hit his sides fifth and final penalty home the travelling Deeney Barmy Army & Regiment celebrated in style. Conor Coulson just minutes earlier making the crucial save from Dean Morgan.

Connor Coulson saves from the spot.
Connor Coulson saves from the spot.

Smiles all round at the end and what was especially pleasing was to see the side discover their mojo and play in the style and fashion we know they can do.

The win brough the pre-Christmas campaign to an end. Crawley Green visit Creasey Park on Tuesday 27th December, kick off is 3 pm and then on Monday 2nd January, the Blues travel to Baldock Town for the New Year fixture.


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