Tony McCool pulled no punches in his interview with the Dunstable Gazette following last Saturday’s home defeat to Royston, when he spoke of the difficulty of competing in the Southern Premier League without a playing budget and without 5-6 seasoned old heads who have the experience to grind out results and manage important periods of the game to shut down opposing teams and thwart their game plans.
Tony continued in his piece to make an impassioned plea for the good people of Dunstable to come in their numbers and show some support to our remarkable young men proudly wearing our shirt. There are some crucially important games coming up and it surely isn’t too much to ask to expect a few more locals to come and be entertained every other Saturday at Creasey Park and give some support to the rebirth of our historic Club.
Farnborough FC gave Dunstable Town a very warm and gracious welcome with Manager, Spencer Day, writing in his programme notes that Dunstable Town, “….on and off the pitch are a credit to football and one of the nicest clubs we have come up against in many years…” It’s humbling to read those words but also hugely rewarding to know that what the Club is trying to achieve this season has been recognised and duly acknowledged. From The Chairman to the groundsman, every single person we met yesterday at Farnborough was friendly, polite and hospitable and keen to share their own experiences of both good times and some difficult times. We wish them well and thank them for their exemplary hospitality and for making a wish come true for one young Dunstable supporter who was our Mascot for the day.
The Rushmoor Community Stadium has hosted football at a higher level than the Evo-Stik Southern Premier League and could comfortably support Farnborough playing back at Conference level or possibly even higher. It has a capacity of seven thousand and retains terraced standing and three very impressive seated stands and is worthy of a visit if you’re of a Hopper disposition.
The Farnborough team yesterday boasted the presence of Dan Walker who cut his teeth playing for both Luton Town and Cambridge Utd and more recently at Conference level with Aldershot Town and Hereford Utd. Recent departures have enabled Farnborough to seek out a number of professional club’s academy players in the hope of giving them much needed game time and experience of playing regular competitive football. In this their first season back at this level they have claimed some notable scalps, none more so impressive than a 1-0 win away at Hereford coming only 10 days after they had lost 1-0 at Creasey Park to give Tony & his Team our first win of the season.
For Dunstable Town yesterday there was a welcome return as a second half substitute for Captain & Leader of Men, John Sonuga, and a return to the starting X1 for Gedeon Okito, who captained the side with assurance and aplomb. With Andrew Osei-Bonsu away for a week there was a starting place for Charlie Black up front.
Following early pressure from the home side, The Blues fell behind on a sticky surface to an 8th minute penalty converted by Dan Walker.
Minutes later Dunstable fell further behind when Perry Coles increased the lead firing in to an empty net. Two down after just 11 minutes Dunstable knew this would prove to be a tall order.
Farnborough had scored five at home against both Kings Lynn & Frome and four against local rivals, Basingstoke in recent matches, so Dunstable knew they would need to dig deep and defend further Farnborough forays. And to a man, that it was that they did. I’m going to give special mention to both Daniel Trif & Casey Harker for their performances yesterday in trying circumstances. Daniel at 26 was the oldest player for Dunstable and defended with great maturity and showed off some nifty dribbling skills to add to his growing repertoire. Casey, only just back from injury, and still only 18, showed off good positional skills and a safe pair of hands and made some fine saves. He has a special talent and has demonstrated that in all the games he has played. Let’s not forget his superb displays in the win against Farnborough and the draw at St Neots where he was fearless and commanding and instrumental in gaining the Club four precious points.
However, in truth, all the boys yesterday played well and had every reason to hold their heads high at the end of 90 minutes. Charlie Black showed quality and so nearly engineered a chance for the tireless and predatory skill of Arel Amu to reduce the arrears in the first half with a lovely run down the right flank and cross to the far post where the deftest of touches from Arel couldn’t quite steer the ball the right side of the post. Ryan Young showed off his pace and ball control where a couple of his blocked shots deserved better reward. Alex and Ty Ward were at the heart of creative play and Gedeon and Peter tackled and distributed the ball from defence with class and precision. Ethan Lamptey, even on a heavy surface, showed his gift for letting his feet do the talking and ghosted past defenders on a couple of occasions where you think that was worth the cost of admission alone. Kieran Ogden showed future leadership qualities at times with inspirational call to arms to his colleagues and again showed off his bravery when the odds are stacked against us.
Dunstable played much of the remaining first half applying pressure to the Farnborough defence and made half chances at various intervals but found the Farnborough defence in a sturdy and resolute mood, eager not to allow Dunstable back into the game. This was the type of game where you thought at half time, despite being 2 goals down, Dunstable could get something from the game and that the next goal could be vital in deciding the outcome of the game.
Tony & Gareth made no half time substitutions and both sides started the second half with real endeavour to try and get that all important next goal. Dunstable kept plugging away but to no avail and fell further behind on 56 minutes when Jack Barton fired into the bottom corner to put the game beyond Dunstable’s reach.
Five minutes later Farnborough hit the bar but Dunstable recovered their composure and again started to progress deep into Farnborough territory, moving the ball around expertly and comfortably. Ty Ward’s shot on goal on 65 minutes followed some lovely approach play and needed Farnborough keeper Aiden Upward to produce a good save.
Saul Williams & John Sonuga came on with 20 minutes to play, replacing Arel and Ethan, and the pattern of play continued with Dunstable’s approach play, pleasing on the eye and deserving of some reward, not quite able to breach the Farnborough fortress.
The goal of the game was scored on 78 minutes by Farnborough substitute, Manny Omrore who unleased an absolute screamer which I doubt any keeper at this level could have kept out. 4-0 seemed a very harsh scoreline and didn’t accurately reflect the game as a whole, but credit where credit is due, Farnborough on the day took their chances and kept the door closed to the Dunstable forwards and overall deserved their win with a solid and professional performance.
Our lads gave their all and we remain proud of the reputation they have gained as being a hard working side who play attractive football and do not resort to cynical and unsporting behaviour when the chips are down. They showed all of that yesterday in abundance. Every single one of them, as honest as the day is long and who, to a man, remain a credit to themselves, the Club all the hard work that Tony & Gareth do in training and coaching sessions. We are Dunstable Town, we continue to move forward, never bowed and never giving up.
Next up at Creasey Park we welcome, Weymouth on Tuesday 23rd January with a 7 45 pm kick off. Our boys need and deserve your support. Please show them you care about them and our Club and come down to Creasey Park on Tuesday for what bodes to be an exciting encounter between two good footballing sides. Following that we entertain St Neots Town on Saturday 27th January 2018 at Creasey Park.
A final word then to matters other than scorelines and goalscorers. The Club was saddened to hear on Thursday of the death of Slough Town FC Physiotherapist Kevin McGoldrick, who had given 32 years’ service to the Club he loved. We have expressed our condolences to Slough Town FC and are reminded of the selflessness and devotion of individuals like Mr McGoldrick who volunteered his time and expertise to the Club that mattered most to him. The football family mourns one of it’s own. Kevin McGoldrick 1956 – 2018 RIP.