It’s a football saying as old as the hills but this was the proverbial case of a match of two halves. Dunstable, in the first half, offensively minded, created a hatful of chances, but went into the interval with only one goal to show for all their attacking endeavours, a goal of clinical execution right on the stroke of half time, by leading goalscorer, Chris Wreh, only to be punished three times in the second half by a much sharper looking Bedfont side.
The ground is situated only a mile from Heathrow and is neatly appointed with ample seating and covered standing for protection from the elements. Bedfont were runners up last season in the Combined Counties League and gained promotion into the Isthmian League South Central Division, an equivalent league to the Southern League Division 1 Central, which Dunstable will be competing in, when the season kicks off in earnest on August 18th away at North Leigh FC.
There was much to like about Dunstable’s first half performance. Alex Taylor looked solid and combative in midfield, Saul Williams’ running caused the home defence problems, while Arel Amu, Jetmir Esso and Chris Wreh continue to look a formidable attacking option.
There was a welcome return for Gedeon Okito and for the fit again Will Hunt in goal. Both played well in the first half then gave way to allow Blues boss, Tony McCool to try different players and shapes. Hassan Sheikh again played with assurance and maturity and looks to be a shrewd summer signing.
While Dunstable had the greater percentage share of possession and created more of the chances, Bedfont were always dangerous on the break, and came close to breaking the deadlock themselves a couple of times in the first 45 minutes.
Chris Wreh’s goal on the stroke of half time had been coming as the Blues had sought to tighten their grip on the game, but was scant overall reward for an impressive first half.
Tony McCool used the second half to bring on the rest of the traveling party, with Erin Amu impressing the Dunstable faithful in the stands. Charlie Black looked dangerous and one delightful back heel should have had a better end product for the ingenuity alone.
Bedfont came out for the second half tails up and snapping at the tackle. They equalised on 50 minutes and after that matched Dunstable in every department and most importantly converted a larger share of their chances when they came their way. A second goal came from the penalty spot on 70 minutes and a third goal in the final minute gave the final score a finishing gloss which was harsh on McCool’s charges who had shown a lot of resilience and fight.
It’s always nice to win matches and nobody likes to lose, however it’s important to stress that in these pre-season friendlies the results are always secondary to the main purpose of getting players match fit and being able to try out different formations and tactics. Tony McCool, I suspect, by now has a good idea what his strongest line up is, and how he will set his stall out. Every squad player has been given a good run out and a chance to impress. Competition for those starting eleven shirts is high and the mood in the camp is good. Loyalty to the cause demonstrated by the presence yesterday of injured goalkeeper Nathan Harness, defender, Ben Collins and his brother, who had all travelled over 60 miles to come and watch their teammates.
That’s what helps this makes this football club so special, the passion and the belief that together this Team can produce the goods and reward the fans for their loyalty.