Oxhey Jets 3-2 Dunstable Town
28th September 2019
Written by Patrick MacKay.
A last-gasp goal from Oxhey Jets' Andy Brennan was the difference in what was a finely balanced contest at the Boundary Stadium on Saturday, when Dunstable Town found themselves on the losing side of a 3-2 scoreline.
Things started brightly for the Blues, with Andre Elliot pressuring the home defence in the second minute and winning a corner, which was only partially cleared, and with the Jets' goalkeeper fumbling the ball under pressure from Luke Little, Chris Stapleton was on hand to put the ball into the back of the net, for his 4th goal of the season.
Town's bright start almost bore the fruit of a second goal, with Little receiving the ball on halfway with his back to goal, and managing to play the ball to Stapleton who carried it into a dangerous position, with his shot across goal going inches wide of the post. Stapleton was then able to repay the favour when he played a lovely through-ball with the outside of his right boot, but the defender was just able to stay with Little long enough to ensure he couldn't get a clean shot away.
The first signs of Oxhey Jets' attacking intent came when a stray cross-field pass between Dunstable's defenders was intercepted by an attacker, who worked Mackenzie Taylor from distance.
Dunstable Town were playing with confidence, and spreading the ball around the field well, and after a high-octane first fifteen minutes, the pace settled, and Oxhey Jets gained some momentum.
The referee wasn't giving a lot to Town, and after failing to award a free-kick on the halfway line, the ball was played through to their striker, but with the crowd urging him to take it first time, he decided to take a touch, and the extra moment gave Mackenzie Taylor enough time to reposition and make a decent save.
A twenty-fifth minute penalty from Reece Cameron restored parity, after Adam Sawyer had produced a fantastic block minutes earlier to deny the home side again. It was now the home side's turn to turn on the style and swagger, and a free-kick from the touchline just after the half-hour mark dangerously floated all the way to the back-post and out, when surely any touch would have given the Jets the lead.
In the run-up to half-time, Dunstable Town created three good opportunities, Stapleton looping a header onto the crossbar, Evans Lamboh working the keeper after a defensive error, and Daniel Trif driving at the Oxhey defence before unleashing a surprisingly subtle side-footed shot, which was tipped just past the post.
After the break, it was the home side who started in the ascendency, carving out and spurning two good chances, before Dunstable Town retook the lead through an Evans Lamboh right-footed twenty-five-yarder.
Taylor was again to the rescue for Town when an Oxhey striker received the ball twelve yards out and shot firmly, but couldn't beat the young goalkeeper, with the follow-up being cleared away.
With twenty-three minutes left to play, the referee gave another penalty to the home team, and again it was Cameron who took it, this time going down the middle, to level the game for a second time.
With Adam Sawyer heading against the bar with a quarter of an hour to go, the game looked like there was a winner to be had, and Dunstable were looking to get it for themselves. But in the first minute of stoppage time, Taylor could only parry a header into the path of the onrushing Andy Brennan, who put the ball into the back of the net from close range.
'A game of fine margins against a team playing to their capacity,' Blues Assistant Manager Ryan Sturges said after the game. 'Creating chances was not an issue, but we will need to be more clinical in the future.'