Dunstable Town’s exit from the Buildbase FA Challenge Trophy at the hands of Bostik League North members Aveley FC, was painful in every sense of the word.
The clock had barely moved beyond two minutes past three when Dunstable lost Ethan Lamptey to a heavy challenge. Minutes after that Captain,Arel Amu went down following a challenge and needed extensive treatment before being allowed back on the field of play. News from the treatment room is that Arel will be out injured for the next two to three weeks while Ethan’s injury could take even longer to heal.
To make matters worse, goalkeeper Nick Hayes was unable to come out for the second half due to a serious injury which had Blues Manager, Tony McCool take to social media yesterday to request help from the greater football family to find what will be the 9th goalkeeper we will have used in competitive action this season.
And just in case you thought there will be a silver lining to this story, there isn’t. Aveley scored a first half goal against the run of play and then managed to keep a tight hold on their defensive line.
Joe Mead received two yellow cards in the space of two minutes & Dunstable were left to ponder another case of “what might have been”.
No silver linings and no hiding the disappointment all of the Blues family felt at the end of 90 minutes. There was no consolation on being told by a non- partisan Aveley official that the better team had lost. The heavy rain which fell as the players, committee and supporters navigated the M25 on the way home just about seemed to sum everything up.
Don’t get me wrong. There was no lack of effort from our lads, there was no shortage of desire, determination, commitment, graft, passion or skill. All the players put in a shift and perhaps on another day in different circumstances we’d all be looking forward to seeing which name comes out of the hat in the draw for the next round, but when your luck’s out things tend not to go your way and the rub of the green is rarely in your favour.
In our last match against Corby an elbow to Kyle Lincoln’s forehead wasn’t seen and therefore went unpunished and yesterday a two footed tackle also went seemingly unseen and unpunished. I make no apology for sticking my head above the parapets and asking for greater protection for players from cynical challenges. Kyle was not fit for yesterday’s match due to having bruising and swelling above his right eye, which had still not subsided. Arel’s ankle was twice it’s normal size at the end of 90 minutes, and to add insult to injury, one Aveley fan appeared to find the promotion of Mind BLMK as reason to make what he assumed were funny jokes about “asylums” and people “not taking their medication”. So in case you’re still pondering why we’re promoting the work of Mind & Mind BLMK there it is in a nutshell.
Dunstable thought they had taken the lead on 13 minutes when Arel Amu netted following good approach and link up play with Rio Dasilva & Erin Amu. An offside flag chalked that effort off, but Dunstable looked the most likely to go ahead if they could convert their possession into creating chances.
A spectacular effort from Arel Amu, the League’s third leading top goal scorer this season, on the half hour looked for all the world to be heading towards John Sonuga to deflect the ball in, but agonisingly the speed and flight of the ball deceived Big John and the chance was gone.
Half an hour played and Dunstable were looking organised and compact. Nick Hayes had not been unduly troubled and offensive efforts, although unrewarded promised better results ahead.
However that cause for optimism was rudely disturbed as Tom Richardson struck on 34 minutes to put the hosts one up. Dunstable will feel disappointed that the Aveley attack which brought the goal had got as far as it did without being broken up and the threat neutralised.
Richardson & his partner up front, Jason Raad, both had excellent games and always looked threatening.
Before half time, Alex Taylor & John Sonuga found their names going into the referee’s book as neither side could find any further defensive frailties to capitalise on.
The sight of Charlie Black coming out for the second half instead of Nick Hayes was of course huge concern as Nick, our 8th goalkeeper in competitive football this season, is the only fit keeper the Club has registered to play.
Charlie deputised magnificently and did himself and the Club proud. Nick, we hope, will not be missing for too long as neither Will Hunt, nor Nathan Harness are fit for selection yet.
Dunstable searched and probed the Aveley back line for much of the second half but despite bringing on Daniel Trif for fellow countryman, Marius Patru, the key to unlocking the Aveley defence remained elusive and Dunstable ultimately bowed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy in circumstances we’d all rather forget.
On Tuesday night an exquisitely headed goal from Chris Wreh gave the Blues a thoroughly well deserved draw in the Beds Senior Cup away at Bedford Town.
Nick Hayes saved two penalties in the penalty shoot out at the end of 90 minutes, but Bedford went through 3 – 2 on penalties.
Development Team supremos Colin & Nikki Lauder organised a fund-raising night for the Club at the L&D Social Club on Saturday night which raised much needed funds for the Club, but equally, and perhaps even more importantly, the occasion was attended by fans & their families from all three sections of the Club and gives us all hope that our message and our vision is being heard and people are signing up to it in increasing numbers.
The Development Team won away at Ampthill in a cup match on Saturday with Sam Afolabi getting his name on the score sheet again. Simon Reilly refereed the game as the appointed referee did not attend.
Next Saturday the Development side are away at Hartley Wintney in Suburban League action, while the First team travel to Kempston Rovers for an Evo-Stik League fixture. On Saturday morning Club officials will be back in the Quadrant Centre promoting the Club at the DTFC stall. Please come and say hello if you see us. Our work continues on and off the field. We stay strong. We stay united. We’re staying put.
One Club. One Family. Dunstable Town.