Dunstable Town kicked off their first season in the Evo-Stik Southern League Division 1 Central Division with an away trip to North Leigh FC in the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside.
Kicking up the slope in the second half North Leigh put in a stronger performance, and scored two goals from set pieces. Despite a strong last quarter comeback from Dunstable, when the woodwork, some excellent defending and astute goalkeeping came to North Leigh’s aid, Dunstable could not add to their goal scored in first half stoppage time by Chris Wreh, neatly following up Arel Amu’s saved penalty. Dunstable’s penalty was awarded after Alex Taylor had burst through the North Leigh defensive midfield and back line on a surging, determined run,before being upended in the box.
The Dunstable equaliser on the stroke of half time was just reward for a good first half performance where, despite creating a hatful of chances, Dunstable had fallen behind just after the half hour mark to a well taken goal by former Oxford City man, Henry Landers.
A penalty in the 48th minute converted by Martin Griggs and then a well executed free kick by that man Landers again 20 minutes later, was enough for North Leigh to claim the points.
Tony McCool gave debuts to new summer signings, Joe Mead, Hassan Sheikh, Alex Taylor, Chris Wreh and Jetmir Esso. With second half substitutions from new boy Marius “Paddy” Patru and James Lauder, seven players made their first starts for the Club.
With an average age of just over 21 years, Tony has shown his commitment to developing young, hungry players, looking to build on the success of Andrew Osei-Bonsu & Peter Kioso’s moves into professional, full time football in the summer.
Dunstable will take heart from a strong first half and a strong last quarter. They created enough chances to have earned a draw, and on another day could have gone home with all 3 points.
Credit to North Leigh for a professional performance with strong contributions from all over the park. They have been well drilled and stuck well to a successful game plan.
The welcome from our hosts and their hospitality was warm and genuine, particularly the considerate way they made the two Dunstable Town mascots part of the half time penalty competition.