Southern League Premier Division: Dunstable Town 1 Tiverton Town 2
Dunstable Town fell to a 2-1 home defeat against sixth-placed Tiverton Town at the weekend.
The hosts welcomed back Peter Kioso and Scott Betts for the clash, as Ryan Young was suspended and Gedeon Okito injured, while Sam Odusoga was a late replacement for Saul Williams, while Charlie Black made his home debut, along with development player Ty Ward.
Dunstable fell behind in the fifth minute, to the first of Tiverton striker Levi Landricombe’s two goals, slotting past Nick Hayes after finding himself left one-on-one.
The Blues’ heads didn’t drop though, although they were grateful to Hayes, who heads away with the England U19 squad this week, for producing a spectacular flying save to prevent Landricombe’s effort nestling in the top corner.
Dunstable were on level terms after 36 minutes though when Arel Amu coolly netted from the penalty spot.
The second half started in a similar vein to the first half with both teams showing endeavour in attack and steel in defence.
However, Landricombe scored Tiverton’s winner direct from a free kick in the 62nd minute which found the proverbial eye of the needle in the Dunstable wall.
The Blues were a whisker away from obtaining a deserved equaliser when Andrew Osei-Bonsu, bravely playing through the pain barrier, produced a lovely run and unleashing a venomous swerving shot which narrowly missed the target.
After the game, boss Tony McCool said: “With Tiverton sitting in sixth, we knew it would be tough but that will never change our approach and the energy and enthusiasm we put into football matches.
“Despite all the injuries we showed the spirit in the camp and the players came in and were terrific including Sam who has been one of the most patient squad members.
“Not only do our players play for free but Ryan Young drove from London to get here and support the lads despite his suspension. It shows we have a bullet proof positive energy and togetherness in this football club and we will never ever give up and stop trying.
“The lads yet again ran and competed so hard and we created chances into double figures and forced great saves from the Tiverton goalkeeper.
“Some of our approach play in the middle and last third was simply terrific and playing like that we will develop players properly for something much bigger and the wins that will come will feel that much sweeter.
“We could have and should have been two up in the first minutes of the game but that was countered by a sloppy piece of defending that allowed a hopeful forward ball to let Tiverton in and score.
“But unlike earlier in the season with these young men, they don’t crumble.
“They have learned to manage games better and they quickly got back on the front foot and continued to press high and play attacking attractive combination football.
“We went in 1-1 at half time and we really felt we would go and push on for the win. Tiverton have a style of play that fits their personnel and I’m not knocking it. It’s quite effective and is dangerous, whereas we just don’t have these players.
“We also have a long term strategy which you have to credit the club for 100 per cent supporting that will keep our club sustainable in the future.
“Having said that, we want to win and a very harsh free kick was converted but our set-up was not as we planned and the players have to take responsibility for that and they will, as they are learning constantly.
“We couldn’t find a way to unlock them after that but we did ourselves huge credit yet again as the recent performances have been fantastic.”
Dunstable are back in action tomorrow night at Bishop’s Stortford, as McCool added: “I’m looking forward to seeing my good friend Kevin Watson again on Tuesday at Bishop’s Stortford and we will be trying to give them a very difficult time.”