Written by Andrew Madaras, Picture by James Richardson.
Dunstable Town applied themselves on Saturday with grit, determination, endeavour, passion, hard work and of course a fairly generous portion of skill and good football to come away from The Bee Arena with a very pleasing and satisfying 1 – 1 draw in some of the most trying conditions you could imagine. High-flying Peterborough Sports were sitting top of the table before kick off, and make no mistake, were there on merit. They have a very professional back-room set up of proper football people, a talented young manger and coaching staff and skilful and industrious players who clearly want to play good, attacking football. Only a 93rd minute winner saw them denied a point at second place Bromsgrove Sporting last Saturday in a seven goal thriller. Hence Saturday’s point for our own battling heroes was deeply rewarding to Management duo, Tony McCool & Gareth Jackson as it further demonstrated that their charges are finally starting to earn the points that their performances have deserved and merited over the past few weeks. A win at home against play off contenders Thame Utd last week, followed by a draw against table topping Peterborough Sports represented a return of 4 points out of a possible 6 against two sides at the top. Those of you with long memories will have read on here for the last year, a consistent message that putting together a team of young, talented and ambitious young men, with the same values and work ethic as Tony & Gareth, & the Club as a whole, would take time and patience. We owe them that and we owe you, our supporters, a team that you can proudly, and loudly support, who will try and play attractive football and succeed through their own individual and collective application and through the coaching and preparations of the Managers. Despite an unprecedented goal keeping crisis & injuries to key personnel the performances have been uniformly good. Hopefully now with a busy festive period of football ahead of us we will see some more deserved points on the board. Peterborough Sports MD, Stephen Cooper, tweeted a sporting message on Saturday that Dunstable Town; “were good value for a point and didn’t look like a side at the wrong end of the table”. Had Charlie Black’s 85th minute diving header got the reward it deserved then this valuable point could have been turned into three. That would have been a little harsh on Peterborough who pressured the Dunstable goal for long and sustained periods during the second half. The Dunstable defence was in superb form, marshalled by the indefatigable Captain & Leader of Men, John Sonuga and Kyle Lincoln who, together, have formed such a strong partnership and understanding of each other’s game. Gedeon Okito had an outstanding game at the back and Nathan Harness looked as though he would keep a clean sheet until the defence was finally breached in the 79th minute by Paul Malone. Truth be told, every single one of the Dunstable players in the away white strip played well, knew their job, stuck to the plan and got the reward they deserved. Our Chairman, former Chairman, Community Engagement Officer and Secretary gave Alex Taylor the accolade of Man of The Match for an all- round peerless performance. On reading the Peterborough Sports match report Alex & Gedeon Okito were that reporter’s stand out Dunstable Town players. Dunstable had taken an early lead in the 6th minute when Erin Amu netted following good work from the industrious Chris Wreh who battled hard down the left hand side before setting up Erin to shoot firmly into the right hand corner of Lewis Moat’s goal. Dunstable had the strong wind at their backs, and the wind in their sails as they sought to capitalise on any further Peterborough areas they could exploit. Alex Taylor tested Lewis Moat’s handling on the quarter hour but found him up to the task. Chris Wreh was next to hustle and bustle his way through but couldn’t quite get the purchase he wanted. And then came the rain. A light but persistent drizzle at first. Not that that lasted very long. Within minutes the rain had started to fall heavily with players finding it difficult to stay upright on the increasingly slippery surface. Conditions then dictated that both sides would struggle to play the style of football they enjoy. By the half hour Peterborough had brushed themselves down and got back into the game strongly trying to get back on equal terms. Vieira steered the ball wide from within the penalty area as Peterborough began to create chances. However Dunstable held firm and could feel rightly pleased with their first half performance as the referee blew the whistle for half time. A cold, biting wind with heavy rain blowing directly into the face was the unenviable task the Dunstable Town players faced in the second half as Peterborough kicked towards the far end. You didn’t need to be a genius to work out that Peterborough would need to push men forward to try and grab an equaliser. In situations like that you hope that the guile and skill of the Dunstable frontmen, able to quickly turn their markers on the wet surface might not only bring some respite to the expected siege but also engineer a goal to make the game safe. It nearly happened. Twice. On the hour mark, Chris Wreh advanced at pace down the left hand side and with Arel Amu arriving clear to his right, the pass from Chris fell foul to the conditions and Peterborough cleared their lines. As the game headed towards it’s conclusion Arel Amu, on 85 minutes sent over an inviting cross for substitute Charlie Black to send a diving header crashing against the post and out of danger. At the other end Peterborough probed and searched for gaps in the Dunstable back line to exploit, but only once, in the 79th minute did they succeed and get through with Paul Malone getting the equaliser. However despite pressing further, Dunstable held on and gave no quarter to the Turbines and at 90 minutes left the field, drenched to the skin, to a standing ovation from the Dunstable supporters. This really was a very well devised game plan from Tony & Gareth who had clearly done their homework on our opposition. The players had responded and did exactly as was required of them and credit is due all round. Our heartfelt thanks to our hosts who entertained three committee members with a formal meal beforehand and made sure that the three Dunstable mascots were given special treatment on their big day. Thanks also to the 25 or so Dunstable supporters who travelled in support of the Team and made their voices heard. Our thanks too for those of you supported our appeal for foodstuffs to take to Peterborough in order to help some of their local foodbanks. Your generosity was greatly appreciated. The Development Team had their Cup game against AFC Hayes called off on Saturday morning. On Thursday night goals from Mark Reily, Bay Fasida and Sam Afolabi had been enough to see off the challenge from Leverstock Green in an exhilarating display of quality football against a spirited and determined opposition. If you’ve not been to watch Simon & Colin’s young guns play, I would strongly recommend you do. The standard of football is high and for £5 represents an absolute bargain. Promising midfielder Tyler Dunnel
l came on as a second half sub, and with Ben Lincoln now firmly established between the sticks, Tyler became the second player to graduate from the U 18’s into the Development Team in a matter of weeks. Next Saturday the First Team travel back towards Peterborough to play free scoring Yaxley whose games on average have the highest number of goals scored in the whole league. If you’ve watched every Yaxley league game this season you’ve already witnessed 89 goals. A 6 – 2 home win on Saturday against North Leigh sets this game up nicely. A word or two on some personnel changes. The Club said farewell to Physio Josh Kent in the past week and thanked him for his dedication and hard work over the past 18 months. In Josh’s place, we welcomed Seana O’Reilly who became part of Tony & Gareth’s Team. We hope Seana enjoys her work with us & hope you extend a warm welcome to her when you see her. Kevin Gallen has taken up a role in League football and again we thank Kevin for his input and support over the past 18 months. And finally, the Committee invited U 16’s Coach, Wayne Upton to join their ranks with a full brief to help bring our collective goals and ambitions to fruition, which I am delighted to say Wayne has accepted. Boxing Day 1pm is the big one folks. AFC Dunstable are our opponents in what is sure to be an exciting game between two teams who like to get the ball down and play. There will be a bucket collection for our charity partner, Mind BLMK which we hope you will support generously. One Club. One Family. Dunstable Town FC.