DUNSTABLE HELD BY SPARTAN SAINTS
It is not every ground that has a windmill standing sentinel in the background. New Bradwell Saint Peter’s modest but adequate ground is shared with a cricket club in a pleasant part of the still burgeoning Milton Keynes. They play in the lower echelons of the Spartan South Midlands League, which is no stranger to Dunstable who worked their way through the divisions as a reformed club in 1998.
I watched the Dunstable squad arrive and noted that there was another crop of new faces and the starting eleven had just a handful of players with first team experience and it was clear that manager Tony Fontenelle was keen to give as many as he could a fair chance to impress. Whilst it may be an acceptable result to the home team, it was, really a fairly disappointing performance from the visitors and for the second game in succession no Dunstable goal was to come from open play.
It began as expected, with Dunstable having more of the possession and executing some neat moves suggestive of a goal. A corner forced in the first
minute was beaten away, and praise must be given to the home defence who hardly put a foot wrong all game. An early chance for the visitors saw an alert home keeper race to possess a slightly over hit but penetrating through ball. The first shot on target came from the hosts and it was undeniably soft, but it was one of many efforts – as they were not shy of attacking and some of their long ball passes caused their visitors a few problems.
One moment saw an awkwardly bouncing ball in front of Pedrycz who could not afford the least bit of a fumble. The most creative play from Dunstable was engineered by Danny Talbot and a shot from him saw the ball deflected onto the crossbar before being hastily cleared. A free kick wide on the right for NBSP almost got through as it was hit low and hard and with pace. Hutchinson then missed a sitter for Dunstable,, whilst a Talbot free kick was only just wide. Overall play was quite even and the pace was good for such a hot evening – and it was punctuated by drinks breaks when possible.
One or two Dunstable supporters felt that the goalless first half was acceptable as they expected the home side to tire – but it was not the case. They matched their nominally superior opponents blow for blow and had a penalty appeal dismissed in the closing minutes that might well have snatched the win.
Both teams tried their best to score but both keepers were comfortable with all that was sent their way.
Dunstable began the second half with more possession and it did seem that if they kept this would lead to an opening goal. It was nullified by the Saints who had a couple of excellent chances with a player through on goal, one where he could not get his shot away and another denied by the keeper.
Dunstable had mixed fortunes with one shot narrowly wide, another well saved and a rather comical effort that was well wide but struck a small boy behind the goal. The next shot was so high it would not have hit a big boy on stilts. Pedrycz saved another with his knee and a further effort from Dunstable hit the side netting.
The home keeper did well to save a good low shot but in the final minutes Saints could well have snatched it, whilst Dunstable signed off with a deflected shot that the keeper held. It was a fairly entertaining game but Dunstable supporters and indeed their players and manager were underwhelmed.
The next task for Dunstable is on Thurs 21 July when the Football League club Dagenham and Redbridge are the visitors and then, on Saturday 23 July they travel to Arlesey.
I apologise for no team listing but there was no team sheet available.