Dunstable Town 1-0 Wembley
5th October 2019
Written by Patrick MacKay and Pic by Chris White (cupcake 99 football Photography) all on facebook.
Dunstable Town manager Gareth Jackson hailed his side's composed and dogged performance, as a Luke Little strike early in the second half gave the Blues all three points.
The first half was a tight affair, with chances for both sides within the opening five minutes, Daniel Trif going close for Dunstable, and moments later a Wembley attacker found himself rounding Mackenzie Taylor at speed, before losing both his footing and the ball.
Wembley showed their attacking intent in the early stages, but Dunstable looked steady and organised at the back, with Joe Zunguzah and Eric Ameyaw being singled out for praise by the manager after the game.
Mackenzie Taylor was putting in another high quality performance, with important first half saves from Ethan Tyrer and Stephen Ebonine.
In the twenty-first minute, a fantastic moment of individual skill saw Chris Stapleton cut in from the right hand side, jink past three defenders and send a curling left-footer just wide of the target. That was as close as the Blues had come to breaking the deadlock until debutant Harry Shepherd headed goalwards from close range, the reflexes of Raheem Belgrave in the Wembley goal were found to be exemplary.
With forty-eight minutes played, Davide Pobbe floated a set piece into a dangerous area, only to see it headed away by the Wembley defence. Chris Stapleton chased the ball down, and being the inventive player he is, teed himself up for an audacious overhead kick from twenty yards. Unfortunately for him, he didn't make clean contact with the ball, but fortunately for Town, his scuffed effort landed right at the feet of Luke Little, who fired an emphatic shot past Belgrave, for his seventh goal of the campaign.
Evans Lamboh came close with a free kick from thirty yards, testing the keeper well, but Wembley were not going to be compliant in defeat, and pressed Dunstable hard for the last half hour.
With a quarter of an hour left to play, Wembley were awarded a penalty when Adam Sawyer brought down his man. Yassine Fehmi-Gil stepped up, and with the weight of expectation on his shoulders struck a ferocious shot against the bar. Relief for all in blue, but a reminder that the one goal margin is always a fragile one.
Looking to extend their lead and give themselves breathing space, it was Lamboh who burst through the Wembley defence, beating their right back for pace before cutting the ball back for Little in the middle, but the pass was intercepted well.
Wembley had more good chances towards the end, notably a free kick from the edge of the penalty area which was smashed against the frame of the goal, with the ball ending up in the back of the net from the resulting phase of play, but the linesman's flag was raised.
Leandro Riberio-Mateus looked to capitalise when a deflected pass saw him with a lot of the goal to aim at from ten yards out, but deciding to place it low, Mackenzie Taylor was down to his left quickly, another fine save from the young goalkeeper.
'I thought we were composed and exploited space well,' manager Jackson said after the final whistle. 'We rode our luck a bit towards the end, but ultimately we showed character and kept going till the very end. I'm very proud of the lads.'
With Seb Smith getting on the field for the closing stages, and no new injury worries, the squad looks in good shape for next Saturday, when Newport Pagnell Town visit Creasey Park.