27th July 2019,North Leigh 3-1 Dunstable Town.
Written by Andrew Madaras, Picture by Steve Lewington.
You may think it strange that the Club chose to end our pre-season campaign at the home of the
team that we had gone down to the wire with at the end of last season to decide who was going to
join Aylesbury FC in the Spartan South Midland League this season.
Dunstable’s emphatic 4 -0 home win over North Leigh at the end of 2018 gave no hint of the drama
that was going to unfold over the last four months of the season. As Dunstable’s form and
confidence evaporated, North Leigh suddenly found theirs in abundance and thanks to some
remarkable results avoided the relegation trap door, but in so doing, nudged Dunstable towards a
second successive relegation.
Rivals on the field ? Of course, but not off it. North Leigh FC speak our language and tread the same
path we do. Marvellous hospitality on the first day of the season which included our mascots being
treated like VIP’s helped set the tone and when the offer of a friendly arose, it was, as they say, a no
Newly appointed Chairman, Ed, is only 23 years old, and along with my “oppo” Matt, they have gone
about their task to revamp the Club root and branch and in so doing take with them our sincere best
wishes for the future and thanks for a splendid and exciting game in the Oxfordshire drizzle.
The close season has seen gaffers Gareth & Ryan ring the changes in personnel as the Club seeks to
get back on solid foundations following the disappointments of the previous two seasons. Only Ben
Collins & Daniel Trif, who had featured in the season’s opener at North Leigh a year ago, were in
Saturday’s line up. Plenty of new faces and new heroes to take to our hearts.
Some of our old heroes have moved on and a special word of thanks needs to be paid to Gedeon
Okito who has signed a contract at Banbury Utd. Along with Captain & Leader of Men, John Sonuga,
who visited Creasey Park recently when Barton Rovers were our visitors, were the two Dunstable
Town players who stayed loyal when the Club was within hours of folding in May 2017. Both played
throughout the 2017-18 season without being paid a penny either as wages or in expenses. Both
played again last season, and despite the awful end to the season the Club will never forget their
loyalty in 2017.
So, back to Saturday. A keenly fought game ended with a 3 – 1 home victory(exactly as it had done
on the opening day of last season), but in addition to a stunning goal from former Chalfont St Peter
and Kings Langley man, Evans Lamboh, Skipper Seb Smith had a goal chalked off and twice the
woodwork came to North Leigh’s rescue.
Overall then the pre-season results saw the Blues win twice, draw twice and lose twice. We scored
17 goals and conceded 12 goals. Not a bad record for a team that has been hastily assembled with
most of the players having to quickly adapt to new colleagues and new managers.
Training three times a week, whether it’s been in30 degree heatwave or monsoon like rain, since
early June has given Gareth & Ryan a good idea of the strengths of individual players and areas
where they can coach them into improving their overall game. It’s been a gruelling pre-season and I
have nothing but total respect for the gaffers now helped by coaches Wayne & Rory, and all the
players, as they go about trying to turn around the fortunes of our beloved Club. The commitment
from all has been total and absolute.
North Leigh’s ground is in the picturesque Oxfordshire countryside and has a “downhill” slope, and
sheep grazing in adjoining fields. The majestic Eynsham House serves as a suitably traditionally
After some pretty even early exchanges North Leigh took an early lead in the 3nd minute as George
Seacole outjumped his marker and sent a looping header over McKenzie Taylor’s outstretched arms.
The goal buoyed the home side who sought to take the game to Dunstable. Wave upon wave of
yellow shirts tore down the slope and several half chances came and went but Dunstable survived
the heavy onslaught without conceding again and slowly got their own game going moving gracefully
through the gears and on the quarter hour Evans Lamboh restored parity with an absolute cracker
into the top right hand corner.
Ten minutes later, and coming after a spell of good pressure from Dunstable, North Leigh edged
ahead again with a goal from Aaron Woodley. The goal again came from the head of a North Leigh
As the light drizzle turned into a more steady downpour, spectators took cover in the stands while
the players sought to expose opponents weakness’. Chances at both ends went unconverted and the
players took half time shelter with the hosts still one goal ahead.
This being North Leigh our three intrepid mascots. Brandon, George and Freddy, were invited onto
the pitch to take on the North Leigh mascots in a game. The boys loved the experience and were
excellent young ambassadors for the Club with their impeccable sportsmanship.
Dunstable enjoyed the better of the early second half salvos and thought they’d equalised when Seb
Smith towered above his marker only to see the Assistant Referee raise his flag for an infringement.
Dunstable’s sense of injustice was amplified when the same player looked to be fouled in the build
up to the third goal for North Leigh, but this time there was no flag and Tyriq Hunte finished
decisively to leave McKenzie Taylor with no chance.
With both Chris Stapleton and Evans Lamboh seeing efforts cannon off the woodwork this was not
to be Dunstable’s day in terms of a result, but it will have been a good learning experience for this
new team and increased Gareth’s knowledge of the work that still remains to be done between now
and the first game of the season on Saturday 3 rd August v Broadfields Utd at Creasey Park, kick off
Match day admission prices have been reduced this season to £8 for Adults and £5 for Concessions.
Season Tickets are already on sale for just £99 for Adults and £79 for Concessions. It’s vitally
important for the future of the Club that supporters get behind Gareth, Ryan and the players. They
work their socks off seven days a week for our benefit and they value your voices and your loyal
support tremendously. You’ll notice now on matchdays pre match music and some stirring Queen
“One Vision” to delight your aural senses and get you pumped up for the 90 minutes ahead of you.
Colin & Val’s Intermediate Cup winning team also took to the road on Saturday and gave a very
creditable account of themselves in Peterborough where a brace from Kam Khan, and goals from
Cam Wynard and Clayton Lauder gave the aspiring Blues a share of the spoils in a tight 4 – 4 game
against a strong Nethrton Utd side.
You can watch the Development Team lads in action again on Tuesday 31 st July where they take on
Crawley Green on the 3g with a 7.30 kick off. Admission is free.