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Match Report: Stansted 2-2 Dunstable Town



Those 85 or so Dunstable supporters who’d travelled to Potton the previous Saturday and witnessed an exhilarating offensive first half where the running up front of Danny Webb, Tolu Ikuyinminu & Joe Sellers-West pulled the Potton back line every which way like an elastic band, only for the hosts to grab an equaliser in the dying minutes of the game. That first half of football was some of the best I’d seen us play all season. Only the heroics of the Potton keeper making save after save kept his side in the chase.


Fast forward a week to Stansted and the stark contrast between the side’s two first half performances could not have been more apparent. It was the type of first half best watched from behind the sofa with your hands covering your eyes. Two goals down in the first 15 minutes and all credit to Stansted who were rampant and dominant all over the pitch.  A week before they’d beaten 6th placed Harpenden Town and lost by a solitary goal to Real Bedford in midweek. An away win at London Lions in mid-January is a sure sign that the Airport Army men are a side to be reckoned with and given all due respect.


The fact then that Dunstable could have easily come away with all three points tells you that there was a remarkable transformation in the second half.


An injury to Benji Crilley meant he missed out, but in came vastly experienced, Ben Sturgess, on dual registration terms with Risborough Rangers.


It took the Blues a little while in the second half to really get to grips with the game. The introduction of experienced Joe Reynolds, at the start of the second half, steadied midfield but the game was turned on its head on the hour mark with the introduction of Kelvin Osei-Addo. Within 20 minutes of his arrival, he’d bagged a brace and been a lick of paint away from driving home with the match ball under his arm.


A delicious free kick on 72 minutes beat the wall, beat the keeper and crashed off the crossbar. However, 5 minutes later Kelvin gave the Blues a lifeline with a header following up from another attempt against the crossbar, and then 10 minutes later he got the equaliser with a well taken penalty which saw the hosts reduced to 10 men as the Stansted defender handled on the line.


There then followed a siege of the Alamo type last quarter of an hour but with no further goals, the Blues took away a hard-fought point.


This wasn’t vintage Blues by any stretch of the imagination but all credit to the lads for really showing something in the second half and giving the travelling support a much happier trip down the M11 than had looked likely or seemed possible at 3.45 pm.


The midweek home match on Tuesday against Biggleswade was a curious affair. A last-ditch foul on Danny Webb by the away keeper resulted in a free kick and a caution for the custodian and not a red card as the home faithful fully expected. No covering defender behind the keeper, I think everyone on the pitch and both benches expected to see a red card being shown. However, the referee saw it differently and his opinion is the only one that counts so what followed next with 22 players on the pitch for the next 50 minutes could best be described as a war of attrition. Both sides hit the woodwork and as hard as they tried, Dunstable just couldn’t find that elusive moment of either magic or luck to outwit a very stubborn Biggleswade backline.


Dunstable were reduced to 10 men on the hour with the dismissal of Ethan Creary for a second yellow card. Joe & Kyle reorganised and the players to a man did their jobs and battled well. On 84 minutes Ezra Forde was sinbinned and the Blues were reduced to 9 men. Even that didn’t seem too disastrous until Biggleswade were awarded a corner out on the left hand side and up popped Coree Wilson to score his 19th League goal of the season. Wilson is the Division’s 5th top scorer and his poaching instincts was the telling difference on the night. It was tough on the Blues. They’d done enough over the 90 to have got something out of the game but luck was against them as has often been the case this season.


A very late penalty had been their undoing at Potton four days earlier. A stellar first half should have been rewarded by more than a solitary goal, a very well worked goal headed in at the far post by Danny Webb, following a Benji Crilley long throw headed on by Nimmy Ajigbolamu.


The fact that the Blues were still only one ahead as the game went into the 89th minute was due in almost in total to the heroics of the Potton stopper who was in inspired form and kept out shot after shot.


The late Potton equaliser meant the points were shared, and even though a point away from home is not a bad result it was one of those matches where at five to five it felt like we’d be beaten.


On Tuesday 6th February, we travel to Leverstock Green for a Gladwish Challenge Trophy match before Real Bedford come to town on Saturday 10th February for a Premier Division cup match. This game replaces the match v Sawbridgeworth Town which will now be played on Tuesday 9th April.


Real Bedford boasts the League’s two top goalscorers, Ben Stevens & Joe with 32 and 31 goals each respectively. Expect two closely fought games and on Saturday if the match itself isn’t a sufficient attraction, then Farmhouse Kitchens will be on site selling Pie & Mash to supporters with a discount for all Club owners on production of their Blue Cards.


The U18s Lionesses are through to the final of the League Plate having convincingly won their semi-final 6 – 3. Keep your eyes open for the date of the final.


The Lionesses went down narrowly at home to higher placed Eaton Bray FC in a friendly on Sunday. Kelsey Gibson netting for the Blues with a dipping shot which drew warm applause from all parts of the ground.

 

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