©Weymouth Football Club
With only 13 fit or available players Manager, Tony McCool, drove the kindly loaned Weatherfield Academy minibus down the snowy motorways of southern England, keen to protect the precious talents of our gifted and talented young players from a repeat score line of last week’s match against Tiverton Town.
In stepped recent loan signing from Stevenage, Nathan Harness, into the no.1 goalkeeping jersey vacated by the injured Will Hunt, who is likely to be out injured for the next month or so. All at the Club wish Will a speedy recovery and thank him for the outstanding form he has shown in- between the sticks.
Nathan produced a polished and professional performance on his debut and looked entirely at ease in the impressive surroundings of the Bob Lucas stadium. We are all grateful to Nathan and his dad, Malcolm, for answering the call and being prepared to be thrown straight into the deep end in a baptism of fire against free scoring Weymouth, who, before kick off stood 3rd in the table and also 3rd in the goals scored table. Weymouth currently enjoy a run of being unbeaten at home stretching a few days shy of five months.
There was a dignified minute’s silence for the passing of a former Weymouth player,William Nugent.
Many Dunstable fans will remember the night of Tuesday 23rd January, all of eight weeks ago, when goals from Ryan Young and Arel Amu were enough to cause the upset of the month when Dunstable beat Weymouth, who proved that night to be a team of sportsmen, gracious in defeat but clearly yesterday ready to try and gain parity in terms of head to heads this season.
The pitch appeared in immaculate condition and enabled Dunstable to start on the offensive pushing Weymouth back deep into their half while the Dunstable playmakers sought gaps in the Weymouth defence. Dunstable showed no ill affects from last Saturday’s match and clearly had the ascendency of the opening period. The approach play was delightful to watch and I felt privileged to be sitting with other Dunstable supporters watching these young men go toe to toe with more experienced and more seasoned opponents but giving them no quarter and ignoring the chants of “going down, going down” from behind the goal. That feeling of privilege because here among our Team are players who are attracting the attention of scouts from professional clubs and who will end up making a career and a living out of the game they love to play, and we have that privilege of seeing them play at the very nascence of their careers in our colours. How privileged is that ?
The Weymouth choir gave up on that chant after a bit as it clearly seemed to be having the opposite effect on our players who upped their game as the best retort of all. Smart lads.
The flat surface clearly benefited our players who appeared to take delight in playing pass and move football, which had one Weymouth supporter remark to his neighbour;
“This lot play alright don’t they” Music to my ears.
On the half hour mark there was a strange occurrence in the final Weymouth third. My column last week lamented the absence of Lady Luck from our games and yesterday that little bit of luck was again absent. On this occasion Arel Amu was able to shield the ball, turn his man, who happened to be the last defender, and looked set to advance on the Weymouth goal. What happened of course was the complete opposite. The defender lost his footing, slipped over and as he fell his head connected with the ball on the ground and away from Arel’s feet.
A few minutes later one of the best moves of the day saw Dunstable string together 9 passes which ended with a Saul Williams header being cleared to safety. A few minutes later and another promising move, involving intricate passing, resulted in a clearance and the Weymouth goal remaining intact.
As half time advanced the Dunstable defence was finally breached following a smart move and a through ball which split the Dunstable defence allowing Calvin Brooks to slot in, giving Nathan Harness no chance.
In the second minute of added on time the human goal machine that is Brandon Goodship scored his 29th goal of the season, seizing on a partial Dunstable clearance, to put the home side two goals up. Déjà vu? At Tiverton last week, Dunstable had conceded three goals in six minutes either side of half time, however there was no repeat of that yesterday, as the Dunstable midfield and defence battled every single ball and competed fiercely in every single challenge and made sure no further goals were conceded in the second half.
Tony & Gareth made their only two possible substitutions (having only two substitutes available) and replaced Ty Ward for Charlie Black & Saul Williams for Ben Collins. Both Ben & Charlie proved effective foils to their opponents with both demonstrating that they can compete at this level of football, having started the season playing a couple of steps below, albeit for Ben in the Dunstable Development Team.
Lanre Ladipo appeared to be carrying a knock for much of the game but played an outstanding game in place of the suspended Peter Kioso and did himself proud playing out of his preferred position.
Gedeon’s captainship was exemplary and he has assumed his position in John’s absence with a maturity and assurance above and beyond his age.
Daniel Trif & Kieron Ogden never gave an inch and never shirked a tackle. They seem to have developed a good understanding of each other’s games and have formed a good central defensive partnership. Kieran, I am convinced, has a rod of iron running through him. He goes down following a heavy challenge and gets back up again, time after time, after time.
It was good to see Erin Amu back in the side and just like his brother, gave his all, and was at the heart of the battle giving his all.
Also getting some much- deserved game time was the ever eager, Saul Williams, who will run at defenders all day given the chance but tracks back to stop opponents getting past him.
Andrew Osei-Bonsu took an elbow in to the mouth which was still bleeding an hour after the game finished. Andrew had another good game yesterday and tormented his defender on several of his dribbling runs.
Arel Amu did all that was expected of him, and much more. He has great upper body strength and is able to hold the ball up and shield the ball from defenders. When he turns his defender and advances on goal he reminds me of a young Emile Heskey in his Leicester City days in terms of his strength, power and speed.
Ethan Lamptey showed off enough tricks and skills to delight my appreciative self and was central to a lot of Dunstable’s offensive play.
Ty Ward did his job with honour yesterday and made timely interceptions as well as warming the hands of Will Dennis in the Weymouth goal.
There was no disgrace yesterday. Many Weymouth supporters were complimentary of our side and wished us well for the rest of the season as did the hospitable and very affable Weymouth Committee.
With so many players out injured or simply unavailable Tony & Gareth’s Team could afford to give themselves a pat on the back and who knows, had Lady Luck been present yesterday maybe the falling defender’s head may not have connected with the ball and Arel could have advanced on goal.
Not for the first time this season, with a threadbare squad comprised of a debutant & players playing out of position, Tony & Gareth have produced a rabbit out of the magician’s hat and so nearly got something from the game. The same was true away at both Hereford and Merthyr and also at Banbury where the Lads were outstanding from start to finish.
To matters off the field the Club expects to be making some positive announcements in the next couple of weeks which we hope will please our supporters as we believe they show the commitment the Club has in preparing both for the final few games of this season but also looking forward to next season. Please keep an eye out for announcements over our social media outlets but also on our website.
We entertain our local rivals, Hitchin Town on Saturday 24th March and then on Good Friday, 30th March, we entertain promotion chasing Slough Town. Both games have a 3pm kick off.
It’s a point that has been made many times before by many others associated with the Club both this season and in other seasons, but it is simply this, your attendance at home games is far more vital than you realise in terms of keeping this Club of ours afloat & hopefully keeping our talented squad of young men together for another season.
Your £10 admission money or your £6 admission money, and a golden goal or 50 – 50 ticket enables the Club to pay it’s way in terms of it’s official obligations but doesn’t leave a lot else left in the kitty, particularly not enough to pay our players or even contribute to their traveling expenses.
So if you’re one of those people who thinks that your non attendance has no bearing on the overall financial well- being of the Club please think again and grace us with your presence at Creasey Park and chat to myself or any of the Committee members about the struggles involved in terms of keeping this football club viable. We NEED each and every one of you to come out and show your support for your Club in our last four home matches. Please don’t leave it to someone else to do it for you.
We are Dunstable Town, never bowed, never giving up.