Supporters of a certain vintage may well remember the late Jimmy Greaves classic comment about football in the Saint & GreavsieTV show. “It’s a funny old game” became a catchphrase and described events at Potters Bar’s ground on Saturday to a “T”
The injury jinx had struck again. This time influential playmaker, Luke Dunstan, was absent with a chest injury which he’d somehow managed to battle through the previous Saturday away at MK Irish. Ruairi Mills was away, and Joe Sellers-West was stuck for two hours on the M1.
St Panteleimon gave us three very good games of football last season and Saturday was no different. Last season they were somewhat fortunate to leave Creasey Park with all three points but a game of two halves in the return fixture saw honours shared in a 1 – 1 draw before another draw in the Premier Division Cup saw the Blues progress thanks to a match winning penalty save from Connor Coulson during the penalty shoot-out.
A heavy away defeat back in 2019 on a humid Tuesday night when St Panteleimon were still at Step 6 and ground sharing at North Greenford Utd, meant that in our last five fixtures against them, we have yet to record a win in open play. I think it’s fair to say they are our new bogey team.
How else can you describe the fact that for the final hour of the game, St Panteleimon played with only 10 men after Ahmed Doukhi had a rush of blood and was shown a straight red by referee Daniel Jones for violent conduct. The scores were still level at that stage and the large travelling contingent could have been mistaken for thinking that the Blues would ease through the gears and make better use of the extra man.
To their credit, St Panteleimon adapted better to the conditions and never looked like they were a man short. They led soon after Doukhi’s dismissal only for Tolu Ikuyinminu to score the goal of the game in the 3rd minute of first half stoppage time with an absolute screamer and what surely must be a contender for August’s goal of the season.
Joe Sellers-West replaced Sam Scott at half-time but St Panteleimon went ahead again with a route one goal which caught out the Dunstable backline. There was plenty of huff and puff from the Blues but the all-important end product was elusive.
To cap it all the home side then went up the other end and scored a well-taken third goal. If you really want to know when it’s not going to be your day, then watch in agony as the ball cruelly bounces wide of an open goal and then see Kelvin Osei-Addo swoop to meet Dylan Baker’s perfectly timed cross deep into second half stoppage time and wonder quite how what you’ve just watched has happened.
The wise head of Joe Deeney will be analysing where the Blues need to improve and leaving no stone unturned in his quest to get the team firing on all cylinders.
The final five games of last season squeezed into less than two weeks saw the Blues win all five, four of them away from home, score 17 goals and concede only four. It set the benchmark for this season and seasoned supporters know this team can perform at higher levels than we’ve seen so far in two of our first three matches. The Blues will be looking to bounce back straight away with another tough examination away at Biggleswade on Tuesday & then at home to Cockfosters on Saturday 19th August.