23 November 2014





Despite the inconsistency of their play, beleaguered Dunstable have some cause to regard themselves as unfortunate not to have snatched a draw as adequate reward for their late pressure, exacerbated by a controversial and indeed pivotal incident late in the game. But it must be said that for a considerable period it did look set that the points would be going to the Cornish side.

Truro City, placed just outside the play-off positions, were making their maiden visit to Creasey Park, (where the weather obligingly became quite cheerful as their posh coach arrived). Their coach driver performed a wonderfully assured piece of parking and brushed off praise by telling me ‘you could get a bus through there.’ Such confidence percolated through to the team who instigated a game plan that proved initially effective but maybe they were surprised at the late resurgence from Dunstable, after they scored their compensatory goal.

With accustomed regularity I report another signing for the club, and it looks a good ‘un as well - one Inih Effighog and lord help me I hope I have the spelling correct, since the splendid fellow scored our goal. Ben Herd was back after injury and resumed as captain and he had a decent game as well.

After their incomprehensible defeat at Biggleswade Town in the Red Insure Cup, where possession and goal attempts matched the embarrassment of failing to convert a plethora of chances, it was felt that today might be the day to stop the bum-clenching run of successive defeats. But oh lordy we beat ourselves up again – yet there was still enough to suggest that sooner or later we are going to give some team a good hiding.

We began well enough, with some slick moves that were not sustained. I had wondered why Truro City had the nickname of The White Lions, since their home strip is all red. I asked one of their chaps of the origin of such an appellation. ‘ I doan’t know matey’ was the reply in that lovely west country accent. Then I had a partial answer as, despite my listing Truro as playing in all red, they turned out in all white, the cunning bounders.

Such cunning was applied to the visitors’ style of play, which was one of early containment, with some rather tall fellows in defence, and then some spirited counter play that looked both purposeful and dangerous. But for me David Hutton looked a likely lad as his play was full of joyous intent and the better chances fell to Dunstable.

It is not entirely imaginary to suggest that when you are on a bad run that lady luck turns her haughty back upon you, and this was the case following a corner when Steve Tully cleared a McKenzie-Lowe header off the line. JML did fond the net in an undisputed off-side, but had that chance been successful it may well have altered Truro’s approach.

Truro had seen a glancing header from Craig duff go inches wide, and a chance set up by former professional Barry Hayles was defended by Shane Blackett. Scott Davies had a free kick that was achingly just wide – but my notes stated a tight squeeze. Truro did not allow an inch of space for their hosts and they challenged efficiently and countered at pace.

Adam Watkins was foiled a little by the bounce and saw his shot blocked and an optimistic lob from Hutton was cleared. There was no direct evidence yet of Dunstable’s falling away from accuracy and earnestness that marked their play once they had conceded. After seventeen minutes a parried shot fell to Blackett who did not clear adequately and Matt Wright supplied a neat finish to put the Cornish club ahead. Yes, it was downright Dunstable again – to call the shots and then concede through imprecision.

This worked to Truro’s advantage as they seamlessly gathered the initiative and began to look a much superior side for the rest of the first half. Dunstable were not devoid of ideas but had little chance to execute them thoroughly as they were repeatedly outwitted and forced into errant passing.

First touches were too heavy, some promising passes went astray for the same reason and it seemed Biggleswade all over again. But Truro were indeed, in my view a more comprehensive unit than our county neighbours.

Their effective containment of Dunstable and the hustling nature of their play induced errors from their hosts. As well as that the Truro corners were much more suggestive of a goal than Dunstable’s despite the latter’s variety.

It was a set-piece that led to the second Truro goal and it was a peach. Ed Palmer’s masterful free kick was met smartly by Matt Wright whose efficient conversion had the ring of ‘that’s the way to do it.’ So, Dunstable, for the second time in a week were two goals to the bad and prone to home supporter discontent on a vocal scale that could not be ignored.

On this note mention must be made of Truro’s simply magnificent support. It was loud, it was optimistically jubilant but lacked some originality. To chant that Dunstable is ‘just a bus stop near Luton’ is wearisome, and the forecast that they were ‘the famous Truro City an’ we’re goin’ a Wemberlee, ah Wemberlee, ah Wemberlee’ may have referred to the( unrelated )FA Trophy.

For future reference they might have sung ‘you’ve never won in the Trophy’ at us, which would be factual if a little hurtful. But let me be plain here, I admired both the numerical support as well as the noise they made. But there were a couple of ‘bads’ namely the employment of flares or smoke bombs, and the perhaps unintentionally partial disassembly of our covered terracing behind the goal with rhythmic banging to amplify the chanting.

I do not deplore such exuberance as these chaps had come hundreds of miles and when you think we took half a dozen supporters to nearby Biggleswade it puts such things in proportion. The damage was on inspection relatively superficial, but the real damage was something I will refer to later.

The smoke did not begins it dolorous drift until the second half and I did think that maybe one of those monk chappies had nipped in to add tragedy to the occasion with a protesting suicide. But what was there to say for Dunstable to the interval? Marsh shot wide but then again Palmer fired one over the bar. Maybe the second period would produce better things if managers Reeves and Croft had delivered a collective admonition, identifying the areas of needful improvement. Reevo was upbeat and nicked more biscuits from the boardroom than he usually does. (Some chaps put cigarette ends behind their ear, Reevo puts chocolate digestives and custard creams). ‘We'll get there, son,’ was his comment to me although he is considerably my junior in years.

What worried me was how Dunstable could liberate themselves from the effective containment evidenced by Truro. The likelihood of scoring three goals and not conceding further was not really a betting option, but the resumption of play did see a vastly improved showing from Dunstable, even if once more they fell short of their ultimate aim.

An initial move from Watkins and Gregory saw McKenzie –Lowe head wide again. Watkins has the kind of earnestness I have always admired but he wears his playing heart on his sleeve and does get easily rattled – yet I feel he has the right attitude, The latest recruit, Effiong, the ex Chesham united player who needs games in order to flourish, was brought on as substitute for JML, who although industrious was getting little change from defender Arran Pugh.

Patient in possession, Truro continued to lord it, but there was some evidence of this being eroded by good old fashioned guts and grit. It was a pity that spontaneous moves ended so poorly with passes a tad too heavy or an underestimation of the ability of defenders to get a boot in the way, elegantly or otherwise. A May free kick was eventually put over the bar ‘Well done Maisie’ was a voice from the terraces and I wondered if Danny May has been burdened with such a sobriquet for all of his tender years.

Then the smoke drifted from the terraced end, appeared to be photographed for prosperity and later led to acrimonious words from Truro officials to their own supporters. The Truro team sat on their lead to some extent, but as Dunstable began to get forward with increasing purpose they employed the obvious tactic of breakaway attacks that involved Dunstable keeper Luke Chambers in a couple of brave and neatly executed saves.

Ben Herd had a couple of tricks up his sleeve, one being a neat little lob forward that produced a goal chance and another being a deceptively sliced back pass that had Chambers hot- footing off his line through the drifting fumes to declare an all clear. All we needed here was the siren that bloke from Harlow used to have and we would have had an atmospheric setting.

Frustration was evident, with Scott Davies thumping the turf with accompanying blood-curdling epithets that a dangerous foul had been overlooked. But there seemed no way through this white wall of a defence from Truro. Their manager was not entirely happy in the dugout at his team’s stepping off the gas and at one stage he kicked the wastepaper bin and then apologised to it, and this made me glad that I am not the only one to apologise to inanimate objects.

Marsh had pace and endeavour, but his efforts were largely unsuccessful despite the promise. Shane Blackett improved vastly on his first half waywardness. Two goal hero Wright was replaced by Vassell and Dunstable found new hope by forcing successive corners of fair quality – but alas so was the defending. Effiong was impressing but one assisted pass from herd was just troo heavy for the debutant.

Shane White of the White Lions seized on an unconsidered trifle and almost caused a final bit of mayhem, but was thwarted smartly by Blackett. Then what we if the home contingent were waiting to see finally happened – a clinical move converted successfully. It was a combinative move from Watkins and Marsh with the cross picking out Effiong who thus scored on his debut. May we see many more (and soon, please chaps).

It was sixty-nine minutes, it was 2-1 and despite the Truro confidence, an equaliser could not be seen as improbable. Dunstable were eager enough but still prone to error perhaps because of this eagerness. They were, of course, vulnerable to the counter – especially when substitute Les Afful cut through ion the right and the resulting cross needed to be smothered. It could have been 3-1 but Chambers did the business. He also saved another fine effort from Dan Green. But these Truro counters were beginning to play second fiddle to the resurgent Dunstable who really did their utmost to draw level – and if they had it would have been a deserved draw.

Davies shot and Burns was down low to save. Corners flew in and clearances had a growing feverishness about them but as is often the case a controversial moment robbed Dunstable of the point they merited.

On the attack, there was then a whistle from the referee as he adjudged that Farkins has received a head injury and the rules are clear here. Play must be stopped. Some shouted that there had been simulation but importantly the impetus was lost as the referee sorted matters. His decision to take play back territorially speaking was perhaps unsound, as was his eccentric ‘bounced ball,’ to restore play.

I spoke to the referee about this and he went into great detail regarding his decision which I very politely questioned. I offered the view that maybe he ought to have done the bounce up a lot quicker and if the surrounding players had contested as angrily as he had thought then a quick free-kick would suitably punish or restore the advantage. To my surprise all three officials had agreed that this strategy might have worked. It was not my original thought but it was one employed by a referee in another game as a practical way out of the problem. I was told that Truro had intended to pass the ball back to Chambers who had advanced almost to the half-way line.

Dunstable had lost the impetus and the cries of gamesmanship took a long while to simmer down. It was a far from pleasant ending and supporters made their views heard, when the whistle went and Dunstable had slipped to an eighth successive defeat.

But the events were far from over. The Truro Chairman was not at all pleased with the flares/smoke sticks and also with the as yet unascertained damage to the covered end. Whilst dispensing the food in the boardroom, the Truro supporters’ club guru entered uninvited and began a rough exchange of views with his own chairman, who quite rightly hustled the fellow outside where the blistering views continued unabated. The supporters’ club rep felt it was wrong for his colleagues to be criticised after their great show of support. The chairman was of the view that it was not acceptable to let off flares and cause damage however superficial.

I suggested to our chairman his counterpart was right. Mr Dance blew the froth from his pint of Forsyte Saga and said ‘the chairman is always right.’ So some empathy there, in a way. But of more serious concern to me was the great distress shown by a Truro supporter who felt, with some justification, that he had been the subject of a wrongful accusation by a home official. He had driven from Truro and had shown his support and had been poorly treated. It was far from pleasant to see this fellow lose his dignity in tears and in particular because this incident was avoidable with the employment of just a bit of tact or diplomacy.

Defiance comes from the guilty not such obvious distress, and thus it was an unsettling end to what is after all, just a game of football. To the Truro supporters I will say you were magnificent but would suggest politely that if noise is desirable then a drum or two and a vuvuzela or three might help achieve the desired effect and would also put less stress on already fragile structures. An individual invading a board room is just unacceptable under any circumstances.

Well, with that game concluded and no points again, we need to learn that it is not enough merely to deserve the points, but we must win them. And who are up next? Our old friends from Hitchin Town on Monday and then a trip to Chesham. In fact we face a number of successive away games until the next home one which is Hereford United.

Eight successive defeats eh? Yes, and for many of us we have been there before and surely this slump in fortune must be halted soon? See you at Top Field and let us show our support for the team who need it now more than at any point in the season so far. Keep the faith.


Luke Chambers, Ben Herd, captain, cautioned, Danny May, cautioned, Luke Ruddick, Shane Blackett, Steven Gregory, Adam Watkins, David Hutton, Jamale McKenzie-Lowe, (Inih Effiong – GOAL 69 minutes, Scott Davies, Christopher Marsh. Subs not used – George Legg, GK, Nick Beasant, Ryan Hope and Kai Gardner.


Charlie Burns, Steve Tully,Gedeon Okita, Arran Pugh, Rob Farkins, cautioned, Ed Palmer, Dan Green, captain, Shane White, Matt Wright, man of the match, TWO GOALS, 17 and 26 minutes, (Isaac Vassell , 55 minutes, Barry Hayles, cautioned, Craig duff. Subs nit used – Kyle Moore, Nial Thompson, Myles James.

Referee Paul Howard, assisted by Anthony Duffy and Simon Maynard


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