Dunstable Town attracted their second highest attendance of the season with the arrival of Slough Town this afternoon. Slough occupy the last spot in the play off places and had recently strengthened the squad with the signing of former Dunstable Town fan favourite, Scott Davies to their ranks. Scott, being a thoroughly decent man, had a long chat before the game with our Chairman and Vice Chairman and exchanged pleasantries with fans of both sides alike. Scott has a regular column in the Non League Paper and always writes eloquently and articulately and his column is always interesting and thought provoking.
Today’s crowd of 282 braved persistent and heavy rain which started two hours before kick off and carried on..and on..and on…soaking to the skin players, officials and any spectator unable to find shelter.
By mid- way through the second half the surface was showing little pools of water which made the playing spectacle enjoyable to watch but must have been an absolute nightmare to try and play football in.
Full credit has to be paid to Match Referee, Neil Morrison, who decided to let the game reach it’s natural conclusion and despite the difficulty the players had in timing tackles on the water logged surface kept his cards and his notebook in his pocket for the game’s duration.
Dunstable welcomed back Captain & Leader Of Men, John Sonuga and Mano Langlais, who had been injured in his debut against AFC Dunstable on the 3rd October. Peter Kioso, having served the last of his two match suspension, came straight back into the Team.
Slough came out of the traps in attacking mode and were quickly on their game testing Nathan Harness in the Dunstable goal, who had an outstanding game making as referee Neil Morrison commented afterwards several “worldies”.
Dunstable were up to the task and an entertaining first 20-25 minutes took place with Slough having the majority of the ball but Dunstable defending resolutely and not without a few ideas themselves about moving the ball around neatly and confidently, looking at every opportunity to get behind the Slough back line.
There appeared to be a more confident, tighter look to the Dunstable line up and some of the forward movement looked fluid and measured even though the Slough defence kept up it’s reputation of being the third meanest defence in the League, making vital tackles and interceptions as the Blue shirts encroached into the last third.
The deadlock was broken by Slough in the 25th minute when Lee Togwell seized on a loose ball in the box to put the visitors ahead.
Slough maintained the pressure keeping Dunstable pegged back in their own half for long periods. Front runners Andrew Osei-Bonsu and Arel Amu sought out spaces to exploit any defensive frailties with Sam Kehinde looking to provide neat flick on’s there was still every chance that Dunstable might get an equaliser on the break particularly on the heavy surface where turning became less and less easy.
Fifteen minutes later Slough extended their lead as Manny Williams got his name on the scoresheet with a well taken goal and with it, Dunstable’s hopes of going into the half time break on even terms receded.
Tony & Gareth used the half time break to shuffle the pack replacing Sam Kehinde with Nathan Mullings who looked at home on the field and untroubled by the step up from the Development Squad. Several times during the second half, Nathan used his blistering pace to get behind the Slough backline looking to create opportunities for his teammates.
As the weather deteriorated and the pitch got heavier both teams continued to try and play pass and move football on the ground; football which showed the spectators that both Teams wanted to produce an entertaining game to make the braving of the elements a worthwhile occupation and showcase the talents that both teams possessed.
Dunstable created several half chances but at the other end were grateful for the outstanding performance from Nathan Harness who made save after save to frustrate the Slough forwards.
With 20 minutes remaining Tony & Gareth had a last throw of the dice and bought on Erin Amu and Alex Ward for Mano Langlais and Ty Ward respectively.
The excitement and commitment levels did not drop one iota. Players slid through puddles to tackle, the ball would stop as soon as it hit the ground with players kicking at fresh air, but neither side dropped their energy levels.
As spectators looked at phones and watches to see how much stoppage time had been played up popped Lee Togwell in the third minute of stoppage time to score his second, and Slough’s third goal of the game.
Nobody could argue that Neil Baker & Jon Underwood’s side were not good value for their win today but we saw enough of our own Team to know that Tony & Gareth will keep the lads’ spirits up and keep the passion alive. Every team we play will leave the field after 90 minutes, knowing that Dunstable Town have carried themselves correctly and tested them in every department.
There were good performances from all the Dunstable players individually and collectively in a performance which will have given the Dunstable faithful a lot of encouragement as the season reaches its finale. Man of The Match was undoubtedly Nathan Harness who was truly superb between the sticks today.
Weather permitting we will be playing away at Biggleswade Town on Easter Monday, 2nd April and then welcome Kettering Town to Creasey Park next Saturday. Both matches have 3pm kick offs.
Fans who attended the Supporters’ Forum at the L&D Social Club on Wednesday evening will have been buoyed by the vision of the Club that Alex and Tony detailed. The Committee has worked hard behind the scenes and continues to do so in order that the Club can progress in it’s goal to be self- sufficient & fan owned and go through next season with a competitive budget in order to attract and reward the commitment of players, so evidently displayed again today by every single one of the players.
There is a growing fan base evidenced by the rise in attendances in excess of 10% compared to last season and a Club membership which has almost trebled. Those are the indisputable facts. Our vision of how a football club should be run on ethical grounds may not be to everyone’s liking, but the facts are straightforward. For every two fans who have walked away this season, three have turned up in their place. Today’s attendance attracted many interested neutrals and fans from Luton Town taking up the Club’s offer to offer half price admission to LTFC & other League team season ticket holders. Word is spreading in the Non League World that we’re doing things a little bit different this season. Recently the Club found itself the subject of a vlog on You Tube which has attracted a lot of attention and favourable comment. If you’ve not already seen the video you can watch it here
The creator of the video has accepted our invitation to come and watch us play next season which we look forward to.
A reminder that the Development Side have a Suburban League fixture on Thursday 5th April against Hartley Wintney at Creasey Park. Kick off is 7 45pm, admission is just £3 with concessions getting in for free. Please continue to show your support for Simon & Colin’s stars of the future.
My final words then are to say a thank you to the Slough supporter who won the 50 / 50 competition but donated the majority of his winnings back to the Club. These gestures, however big or small, are always humbly and gratefully appreciated by everyone at the Club. Our 50 / 50 ticket sellers commented on the generosity of the Slough fans when buying tickets.
For a Club that graced our TV screens in this season’s FA Cup with a battling performance against Rochdale at Arbour Park in December in the 2nd round proper of the competition it is good to know that the fans, players, management and officials remain humble, down to earth good football people. We wish them well for the remainder of the season.