Dunstable Town 4-1 Shortwood United
25th August 2019
Written by Patrick MacKay and pictures by Liam Smith.
Dunstable Town secured passage to the First Qualifying Round of the FA Cup on Sunday, with an emphatic 4-1 victory over Shortwood United, of the Hellenic League Division One West.
Shortwood United have started their league campaign with a 4-4 draw and a comprehensive 14-1 win, and the Blues could ill-afford to underestimate them. Any nerves for the home fans were settled early on when Chris Stapleton put Dunstable ahead after twelve minutes, with a low shot which hit the post and finally nestled into the back of the net. The 152-strong crowd enthusiastically cheered their new talisman.
Dunstable had found their groove and were well on top after going ahead and were looking to extend their lead, most notably when Evans Lamboh forced a good save from Shortwood goalkeeper Adam Clarke after dribbling two-thirds of the length of the pitch.
With twenty-six minutes on the clock, it was Lamboh who did give the Blues well deserved breathing space, when Stapleton found him on the right side of the penalty area, and he drilled a shot across the ground into the bottom left of the goal.
The pressure was kept up, and five minutes later Luke Little was unlucky not to add to the score when Jack Harvey provided a pinpoint cross, which Little caught on the half-volley, only to see the ball crash off of the post.
While Dunstable were on top, Shortwood were by no means out of the tie, and reminded the Blues of the fact when they put a teasing ball across the face of the goal, which defenders and attackers alike both managed to miss. Any touch at all would surely have changed the complexion of the game. This chance buoyed the visitors, who finished the half strongly, but failed to make an impact on the scoreline.
The beginning of the second half showed that Dunstable intended to kill the game off as early as possible, and five minutes after the restart they had a third goal, with Jack Harvey rising high to head in Dan Blackman's corner kick.
With twenty minutes to play, Shortwood got a deserved goal, a neat right-footed finish from Joe Wilton. With two impressive performers in Stapleton and Blackman forced off with knocks, and an opponent with the wind in their sails, it wouldn't be a comfortable twenty minutes for Town.
Having been in similar positions on a couple of occasions recently, Dunstable kept their composure and didn't sit too deep. This attitude paid dividends with nine minutes left to play when Little was put through on goal by Harvey, and this time he made no mistake, slotting the ball into the back of the net, finally putting the game beyond Shortwood United.
An impressive display from Gareth Jackson's men against dogged opposition. The First Qualifying Round will be played on the weekend of 7th September 2019.