Matches against our ground-sharing compatriots AFC Dunstable are always eagerly anticipated as they are played with commitment, passion, pride and local bragging rights! This League Cup match was no different but what was different was the Dunstable Town line up, with Manager, Tony McCool giving debuts to Mano Langlais, Peter Kioso and Andrew Osei-Bonsu. However, what amazed all the Dunstable Town away support was the appearance in goal of Will Henry, who left the England Under 20 squad at St George’s to play in this cup-tie. This says much of this young man as well as the ethos and spirit of this dynamic squad that Tony McCool is shaping into an effective and potent playing unit.
The new additions, certainly made their mark and brought a quality, grit and presence that upped the tempo of the away team’s game. There was plenty of evidence of skill, fluid passing movements and determined defending that saw Dunstable Town come out on top in the first half. So-much-so that they went in 1-0 up at half-time thanks to a great corner from “Lucky Jonno” Barnett that was perfectly and powerfully met by the head of skipper John Sonuga.
Dunstable Town picked up where they had left off at half-time and caused AFC problems down the flanks and would not let them settle in midfield. However, the momentum swung in FC’s favour as firstly, a strong shout for a penalty after Arel Amu was felled, was waved away and the departure from the field of the dominant and influential midfield axis of Barnett and Langlais due to injury.
AFC came back into the game and equalised and the match ended in a draw, which all agreed was a fair result. As are the rules in this cup competition, there was no extra time and the game went to a penalty shoot-out. A mixture of saves and a rattling of the crossbar ensured that AFC prevailed and go on to the next round.
Despite our early exit from the cup, what was impressive was the quality of our three debutants who have added an additional dimension to the team’s play that bodes well for the future.