Sat 29th Sep 2018
Sponsored by Debbie & Will Dunstan
TAFC First team 1-0 Potton United

TAFC goals: Luke Dunstan

Anyone who believes in astrology would probably have guessed that this was going to be Luke Dunstan's day. After all he was given the Captains arm band, his Mum and Dad sponsored the game and his cute nephew was the mascot so it was written in the stars!

Luke's intervention late in the game continued our excellent run of form which saw us win all 6 games in September. It keeps us in 2nd place behind Biggleswade FC who jumped above us following their 3-1 win over Baldock Town in midweek. On Saturday they shared a 10 goal thriller with Oxhey Jets (unfortunately they scored 6 out of the 10) to enable them to keep their slim one point lead over us.

Recently we have been banging in the goals but on Saturday we had to dig in and show some character because Potton were a tough outfit and they probably felt, with some justification, that they deserved a point if not three. We were far from being at our best but a lot of credit must go to our opponents who battled for everything and knocked us out of our stride.

We believe this was the first ever competitive encounter between our 2 clubs following their transfer over to the South Midlands after finishing runners-up last season in the United Counties League Division 1. They started the season well winning 4 of their opening 7 games including a 3-1 win at Biggleswade FC, the only blemish on the latter's league record so far. However, their results had dipped dramatically since that bright opening with 5 consecutive defeats.

If we thought this recent slump meant that the visitors were up for the taking then we were soon disabused of that as they competed well over the park and made life difficult for us.

We started well enough and had a great chance to take the lead after only 7 minutes when Tommy Twelves fine pass dissected the visitors defence to send Kieran Turner through on goal. A betting man would have put money on our leading marksman finishing off the job but Potton's keeper Tyler Josephs stood his ground and made a fine save. Soon afterwards Luke Dunstan went on one of his trade mark runs into the area but his tantalising cross was cleared.

In the opening stages the visitors defence looked a little square and Kieran did manage to score but was flagged offside. After that early uncertainty Potton tightened up at the back and they started to defend well. Their winger Danny Webb made some inroads down the right and Connor Sansom had to be sharp to whip the ball off his toes after one promising run into the box. Later Webb produced a dangerous cross that was missed by his colleagues.

Our opponents played with two forwards in Jim Burnside and Aaron Murrell who gave their side a muscular threat and kept Carl Mensah and Dave O'Connor on their toes. Murrell produced a nice turn and shot that went just over and then was unlucky to see his goal bound shot deflected just wide by the excellent Joe Fitzgerald.

Recently we have been producing some great free flowing football but the lads showed they could mix it as well when required, so the match turned into a bit of a battle although it never turned nasty.

Billie Busari showed some nice skills to make some space on the edge of the area and strike a nice shot that forced the keeper to tip it over. Connor Sansom is settling in well and he showed his worth by getting down quickly to tip a fine shot from Ryan Lewis just round the post.

A very competitive first half ended with little to choose between the teams; HT Score 0-0.

The second half continued in the same competitive vein with Billie Busari having the first effort on goal which flew over the bar. Luke Dunstan won the ball and fed Kieran Turner who in turn slipped a pass to Tommy Twelves who then fired just wide of the target. In a good early spell after the restart Ashley Campbell did well to get hold of a long ball and then find Kieran Turner but the resulting shot went wide.

A dangerous ball into our area was missed by Webb before squirming harmlessly across our goal. In the 65th minute Potton missed a great opportunity to strike the first blow. Jim Burnside did really well to get behind our defence and pull the ball back to Aaron Murrell but the resulting shot lack conviction and was easily cleared.

The visitors captain Christian Smail was nearly played into a promising position and Joe Fitzgerald clipped the bar with a cross. Kieran Turner and Tommy Twelves tested the keeper with a couple of shots but it was all ifs and buts until finally 7 minutes from normal time came the defining moment with a bit of quality that had been sadly missing during a generally scrappy game.

The instigator was Ashton Campbell who sent over a sumptuous cross to the far post where Luke Dunstan literally rose to the occasion to produce a prodigious header to finally break the deadlock. It was Luke's 4th of the season and was a fitting reward for his usual tenacious performance. Score 1-0.

Potton frantically pushed forward in search of an equaliser and we had to endure a few anxious moments before the Referee called time on the proceedings. FT Score 1-0.

Afterwards a delighted Ian Richardson said " A hard fought win against a tough Potton side to finish what has been an excellent month for the players, with 21 goals scored and only 4 conceded in 6 games. Not a bad return! I have asked the boys to do the same for the month of October!".

A quirk of the fixtures sees us play Potton United again on Tuesday (it has to be said that this is very poor scheduling) for the return league fixture. We then have another tough league game on Saturday with a visit to Arlesey Town who are 3rd in the table, 4 points behind us but with a game in hand. These 2 fixtures will give an indication of how far we have come this season.


TA:1 Connor Sansom 2 Joe Fitzgerald 3 Alex Campana 4 Roy Byron (14 Mark Riddick 67) (17 Ben Johnson 85) 5 Dave O'Connor 6 Carl Mensah 7 Tommy Twelves 8 Luke Dunstan (Capt) 9 Ashton Campbell 10 Kieran Turner 11 Billie Busari (12 Jack Read 67). Subs not used: 15 Sam Joliffe 16 Chris Mason.

PU:1 Tyler Josephs 2 Ashley Farooqui 3 Jonathan Hall 4 James Sage 5 Sam Parrish 6 Gareth Hunt 7 Danny Web 8 Christian Smail (Capt) 9 Jim Burnside (14 Gary Ansell-Carter 69) 10 Aaron Murrell 11 Ryan Lewis (15 Martin Danobrega 69). Sub not used: 12 Jack Newland.


TA:Luke Dunstan (83)


To advertise here, email tringathleticfc at hotmail dot com