Town get back to winning ways in 2018 at Dunstable
Liam Francis nets the winner against a Dunstable side fighting for their SPL lives
Match Report by Kevin Hand Photographs by Granty
Dunstable Town v Stratford Town, Saturday 10 February 2018 3.00pm Evo-Stik Southern Premier League at Creasy Park.
Dunstable 2 Stratford 3 (0-1 HT)
• For this relief much thanks.
A return to winning ways was a welcome relief for the Town boys who shone in their orange away strip against a lively and pacey Dunstable outfit. The meager crowd of 75 was treated to a feast of attacking, open football as the two teams traded blow for blow.
With Ben Stephens and Jimmy Fry unavailable, Liam Francis and Edwin Ahenkorah returned to the starting line-up. Lee Thomas replaced Charlie Evans. In a frantic opening a Thomas cross was headed goal-wards by Taylor only for Dunstable’s young keeper, Will Hunt, to claw it away. Bako followed up but his shot was turned away for a corner. Almost immediately the impressive Andrew Osei-Bonsu broke upfield before passing inside to Ty Ward. Ward’s well-struck shot cannoned back of the base of Connor’s right-hand post before being cleared.
On eight minutes Town went in front. Summerfield won a corner and Grocott’s precision cross was glanced in by the commanding Taylor. On 15 minutes and it was Osei-Bonsu who skipped past Recci with Connor saving from close-range with an excellent block. In response Taylor chased a long ball beating Will Hunt who had committed too soon. From wide out Taylor shot towards goal but Ahenkorah was crowded out as the Dunstable defence rushed back.
Dunstable were to come close to equalizing on 39 minutes when following a free kick Arel Amu smashed his kick against the bar. Town responded when Ahenkorah played in Bako but his shot lacked conviction from a good position.
The opening of the second half saw the game continue at a good pace. With the half less than five minutes old Ryan Young carved open the Town defence to beat Connor only for Recci to make a brilliant goal-line clearance. Town were straight back and Summerfield’s cross was volleyed in emphatically by Mike Taylor for a 2-0 advantage.
But Dunstsable was not to be denied. After a spell of pressure from the home side the ball fell eventually to Kieran Young who blasted home from all of 30 yards. Town then took control creating a number of good chances but was always vulnerable to the marauding Ryan Young down the right.
The game was settled on 76 minutes for the Stratford boys. First Taylor chased down a long ball and forced a desperate save from the keeper. As the ball looped towards the Dunstable goal Peter Kloso cleared over his own cross bar. From Grocott’s corner Recci headed goal-wards only to see his effort cleared off the line. But Francis was on hand to shoot home from 8 yards. A minute later and Taylor was almost ‘hat-trick’ man as he closed in on goal. Only an outstanding save from Will Hunt denied him.
There was to be late consolation for Dunstable as Arel Anu reduced the arrears in the 92 minute but Town was not to be denied. There were outstanding contributions all over the pitch. James Hancocks was a tireless in mid-field and Will Grocott was back to his best. Recci and Thomas handled the pacey Dunstable wingers with great professionalism and Mikey Taylor was outstanding in leading the line. 3 points and back to 14th position in the league and hoping to build on the day’s success in next Saturday’s encounter with Dorchester.
* For this relief much thanks. ‘Tis bitter cold. Hamlet Act 1 Scene 1