Leverstock Green 1-0 Dunstable Town 4th January 2020 Written by Patrick MacKay A Luke Peerless header for the hosts was the difference as Dunstable Town visited Leverstock Green in their first game of the year. A boggy pitch would largely dictate the style of play on the afternoon, but with Dunstable playing a different system, they managed to take control of the first half after weathering an early period of pressure from Leverstock Green. Sam McClelland and Eric Ameyaw looked sturdy in the Blues backline, while debutant Helder Lopes was industrious and skilful in midfield. Dunstable's first opportunity came in the tenth minute, with Daniel Trif instrumental in a swift attack, and when he could perhaps have taken a shot, chose to drive further on and put in a cross, which Lopes got two bites at, but both were well blocked by the Green defence. Joe Hankins showed good strength in holding off his marker midway through the first period, but his shot was gratefully gathered by Leverstock Green's goalkeeper Matt Fallon. The referee then set his stall out with harsh yellow cards for Green's Peerless and Town's Jack Harvey-Bailey within minutes of each other. With Dunstable looking to take advantage of their dominance, Hankins was able to chest a ball into the path of Khy Smith-Reid, whose shot was deflected into the hands of Fallon. As Leverstock Green attacked on the left, a well-timed tackle from McClelland was accompanied by an emerging pattern of wild gesticulation and protests from the home bench and team alike, but a long ball was taken well by Hankins, and when the defender slipped, he looked to round him, but a good recovery allowed a last ditch tackle which sent the ball into the path of Trif, who shot over the bar. The second half saw Town kicking uphill, and when McClelland got the better of Peerless in a chase for the ball, Peerless ended up on the ground and the protests started again, with the eventual result being Green's Adiel Mannion being sinbinned. Dunstable looked to capitalise on their man-advantage, and when a cross from the right evaded a number of players, Smith-Reid was given the chance to shoot from fifteen yards. Possibly not realising the time he had, he shot first time, over the bar. Green took the lead with just over half an hour to play, with Peerless heading home unmarked from a Jamie Ovington cross. When a cross from the left missed everyone and saw Trif chasing the ball across the penalty area to salvage the attack, a blatant trip on Trif went unpunished by the referee, a decision that baffled many supporters of both sides. Stoppage time saw a Chris Stapleton header loop just past the post, deceiving a few spectators who thought it had gone in. With home fixtures seemingly being carefully rationed, Dunstable will look to build on this promising performance, which deserved more, when they travel to Crawley Green on the 18th January.