Dunstable Town welcomed back Peter Kioso & Scott Betts to the starting 11 for their match against Tiverton Town who sat in 6th position, before kick-off at a chilly Creasey Park. Sam Odusoga was a late replacement for Saul Williams. Charlie Black made his home debut as did Ty Ward who had been a part of Simon and Colin’s Development Team last year, With Erin Amu wearing the number 4 shirt and Ben Collins on the bench this trio of former Development Team players were proof of the nurturing of talent that Simon and Colin have developed.
Mascots for the day were from Dunstable’s junior teams and credit is due to all those who facilitated their presence and sincere thanks is paid to their parents for braving the elements and showing support for the Club.
Nick Hayes was playing his last match in Dunstable colours before joining up with the England U19s in the next couple of days. The Club wishes Nick every success midweek with England and look forward to his return for our away match at Hitchin Town on December 2nd. The Club is grateful to Ipswich Town FC, Nick’s parent club, for agreeing to extend his loan until January 2nd 2018, which will enable Casey Harker more time to recover from his injury.
Dunstable fell behind in the 5th minute to the first of Tiverton striker Levi Landricombe’s two goals this afternoon. Landricombe found himself free and in a one on one with Nick Hayes, slotting the ball home somewhat against the run of early play. Moments earlier Dunstable had nearly taken the lead when impressive work on the right hand side delivered a teasing cross into the box which narrowly evaded a blue shirt.
Dunstable heads remained high and the fightback commenced. Seasoned watchers know these young men wearing the Dunstable shirt play with skill and passion and sought to gain parity at every available opportunity. Accurate and probing balls played to feet ensured that Dunstable retained the lion’s share of possession.
With the score still 1-0, Nick Hayes produced a spectacular flying save, diving to his right to keep out a Landricombe effort heading towards the top corner. This was an important save at such a key stage in the game and showed Nick’s class and ability and why he has been called up into the young Lion’s squad.
Patience was rewarded when Arel Amu coolly struck home a 36th minute penalty following an infringement in the box. Dunstable continued to attack but no further reward was obtained with Martin Rice in the Tiverton goal making several impressive saves to keep the scores level at half time.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first half with both teams showing endeavour in attack and steel in defence. Neutrals in the crowd complimented both teams for providing an enjoyable spectacle with more than one making the observation that it was not possible to determine which team sat in 6th place and which sat in 23rd position.
Levi Landricombe scored Tiverton’s winner direct from a free kick in the 62nd minute which found the proverbial eye of the needle in the Dunstable wall. Dunstable responded and were whiskers away from obtaining a deserved equaliser when Andrew Osei-Bonsu, bravely playing through the pain barrier, produced one of those runs we love to see him make, cutting in from the wing, a shimmy past an opposing defender or two before unleashing a venomous swerving shot which narrowly missed the post by the lick of a coat of paint. Andrew’s thunderbolt just after half time at Kings Langley which nearly split the crossbar and his scorcher at St Neots have been worth the price of admission alone & just for a moment this afternoon we all thought our prayers had been answered but Lady Luck had decided that she would not shine on us today.
Praise was generous for the Dunstable Team from visiting officials and from the Hitchin Town scout who remarked on the progress that Tony, Gareth and Kevin have made with the Team who, week after week battle away for their love of the Club and for the game itself. This was yet another one of those “so nearly” games, but we keep the faith and will be there at Bishop Stortford on Tuesday and Hitchin on Saturday to play our part in supporting a remarkable bunch of talented and committed Dunstable players, and a devoted management Team, who individually and collectively are a genuine pleasure and delight to be around and be associated with.