A second-half revival from Dunstable was not quite enough, but manager Tony McCool may feel proud of his team today, who played a large portion of the match with ten men after Brandy Makuendi was dismissed with a straight red card. Royston, perhaps aggrieved at dropping points at home last week, once again tested the Dunstable defence. Once again, goalkeeper Garry Malone was severely tested and performed as heroically as he did in the last meeting.
Keiran Ogden and skipper John Sonuga managed timely defensive interventions and like the Banbury game, Dunstable were under pressure but coping. Gedeon Okito was able to skip past a defender before sending in a cross aimed at Brandy Makuendi but this was comfortably cut out. Nimmy Aji was foiled on a run on goal, yet his pass allowed a shot from Arel Amu, which was robustly blocked. After twenty –five minutes the Crowes took the lead when Scott-Morriss sent in an inviting cross and Adam Marriott’s successful effort found the bottom left corner.
More attacks were met with competent defending but in the thirty-sixth minute Makuendi’s late challenge on Braithwaite was deemed serious enough to warrant a straight red card. Royston had their chances to increase their lead before the interval with two blocked shots and a header, from Potton that cannoned off the crossbar. Royston had enjoyed greater possession and had forced Dunstable to defend deeply but with just the one goal difference meant that this match was far from over.
Not that long after the resumption there was a double chance for Dunstable involving Nimmy Aji and Arel Amu. Aji had evaded the off-side trap and stormed towards goal. His effort was beaten away, but only as far as Amu whose shot was saved by Joe Welch. Another Dunstable attack was ruled off-side and the best chance for a Dunstable equaliser came when Aji combined with Silva and Welch was forced to save again.
The brave hunt for the equaliser was dealt the cruel blow of a breakaway goal, from a long ball up field. The defence was stranded and all Crows’ substitute Jack Vasey had to do was keep his cool with only Malone to beat. Frendo missed a golden chance and Bridges baffled all by failing to score a sitter. In the very last minute of stoppage time, Frendo kicked the ball away, expecting a yellow card. But the referee, after producing the yellow, rapidly produced a red card, for using abusive language.