There was to be no early Christmas cheer for Dunstable Town on Saturday afternoon as Kettering Town ran out 6-0 winners in a match that threatened at times to overspill into a bad tempered re-run of last season’s fixture when Dunstable had won 3-1.
Dunstable gave debuts to new signings, Alex Ward from Kings Langley, who had an impressive game in the heart of midfield, and Ethan Lamptey who had been signed from Northampton Town, and showed skilful endeavour throughout.
There was a start for Eldon Maquemba while Arel Amu was rested but came on as a second half substitute as did Jonny Barnett and Ryan Young.
Kettering had lost at home in midweek to Hereford FC in a game their officials thought a draw would have been a fair result. The midweek setback had ended an impressive run of home form which had seen the Poppies win five of their previous six games with a draw against Slough being the other result.
This was always going to be a difficult ask for Dunstable not just with Kettering being second in the League table but with a vocal, partisan support backing the home team.
Kettering started the game determined to get back to winning ways but early forays into the Dunstable area had been successfully defended without causing any undue dramas, although Nick Hayes had to be at his sharpest to deny Rene Howe in the 7th minute.
Once again controversy occurred when the absence of an assistant referee’s flag allowed in form marksman, Rene Howe , to score from what had appeared to be an offside position after 11 minutes play. Home supporters couldn’t believe their early Christmas present and commiserated with the Dunstable fans, agreeing that Howe had been several yards offside.
There is a saying in football that over the course of the season decisions even themselves out. I suspect that many of our supporters will be scratching their heads in disbelief at the continuing run of controversial decisions which have had such devastating effects on the outcomes of games. Today was again no exception.
Dunstable tried to get back on even terms with one particular piece of play between Ethan Lamptey and Ty Ward on the left hand side causing a degree of panic in the Kettering box with the ball eventually being cleared at the expense of a corner.
Dunstable were thankful to Peter Kioso for an outstanding piece of defensive cover just after the half hour mark, however from the resulting corner, Kettering increased their lead with a towering header from Tom Marshall on 35 minutes.
2-0 nearly became 3-0 five minutes later when Kettering were awarded a penalty for an infringement in the area. There were no complaints from the Dunstable players or fans but Aaron O’Connor placed his kick beyond the post, bringing grumbles from the home fans about the choice of penalty taker.
However 10 minutes after the restart Kettering did get their third goal when, after a succession of blocked shots and ricochets flying around the box, the ball was eventually fired in by Rene Howe. Renee is a skilled marksman who has played at much higher levels in his younger years and has always scored goals at every club he has been at. He currently averages just under one goal every two games for Kettering.
Peter Kioso had been awarded the Dunstable Town Man of the Match by last week’s Sponsors, Crown Engineering, and yet again Peter had an outstanding game with some exceptional defensive work aided and abetted by brother, Gedeon and central defenders John Sonuga and Kieron Ogden who was playing despite being unwell.
Eldon Maquemba tried manfully to impose his artful skills on a bobbly pitch, Ty Ward showed his eagerness to run at defenders and made several accurate crosses from the byline.
Nick Hayes needed to be alert to danger and made several saves look routine. Charlie Black again impressed with his energy and ball control. Andrew Osei-Bonsu showed flashes of form to silence the boo boys.
The first half had shown that Dunstable can defend stoutly and are more than capable of moving the ball swiftly forward although the Kettering defenders held firm and didn’t cede an inch.
There were two goalmouth melees which nearly spun out of control with players from both sides becoming involved and bookings for Alex Ward, Kieron Ogden and John Sonuga in the penalty incident.
The fourth Kettering goal on 70 minutes came two minutes after they had a goal disallowed and was scored by Gary Stohrer.
Nick Hayes made a superb save on 78 minutes and there then followed an impressive period of offensive play from Dunstable where Jonny Barnett came close to reducing the arrears with a smartly taken snap shot which was blocked on the line. It would have been a deserved goal for JB who as usual gave his all and has retained all his passion and commitment for the Club he has so loyally served.
Two late goals for Kettering, a penalty on 85 minutes and a further goal on 88 minutes, both scored by Matthew Stevens.
After our away game at Banbury Utd on Boxing Day, we entertain county neighbours Biggleswade Town on New Years Day at Creasey Park, kick off 3 pm. A special thank you in advance to Andrew Amu who is the father of Arel and Erin for sponsoring the match. Match ball sponsorship has also been secured.
The Club would like to thank you for your continued support and generosity in terms of helping us achieve a sustainable management model. Your support through the gate, buying golden goal and 50-50 tickets are an important source of revenue as is our newly acquired partnership with Spottocash. If you’ve not had a flutter yet please do so in the knowledge that 30% of your stake is returned to the Club. The weekly guaranteed prize is £10,000 which I’m sure all of us would be more than happy to see in our bank accounts.
There is a wonderful unity within the Club with everybody committed to making the new look Dunstable Town FC a success on and off the pitch. We are indebted to the loyalty of our players and managerial staff who continue to work tirelessly behind the scenes to achieve our collective dream. The Committee continue to seek new business partnerships, as with Spottocash, and sponsorship. Membership has more than doubled and optimism remains high. Let’s all continue to do our bit to help OUR Club achieve its undoubted potential.