Hitchin defeat is quickly forgotten by Leamington
Brakes responded in a positive manner to only their third defeat of the season in a match marred by a sickening clash of heads between Darren Pond and home defender Sam Doolan which caused a 15-minute delay, writes Paul Edwards.
Leamington had gone in a goal to the good at half-time thanks to Ahmed Obeng and ensured that they would take all three points back to Warwickshire with a second from Courtney Baker-Richardson, but both players could have easily had hat tricks with more accurate finishing as Brakes contrived to miss a hatful of chances.
An early Dunstable shot was well blocked, while Jack Edwards shot wide on the turn for the visitors, who lined up with four changes from the side which started against Hitchin.
Richard Taundry, Joe Magunda and Darren Pond returned, while new loan signing Dan Preston made his debut just hours after signing from AFC Telford United, in place of the injured Jamie Hood. Ryan Rowe was also absent, allowing Baker-Richardson to push into the main striker’s position.
Danny Talbot had a shot parried by Tony Breeden before Dunstable were forced into an early defensive substitution. The hosts nearly contrived to put their visitors in front when David Longe King’s attempted clearance ricocheted off his skipper Adam Pepera and whistled just past the post.
Leamington were patient, however, and went in front on the half-hour. Edwards moved the ball out to Connor Gudger on the left and his low cross was picked up by Obeng, who cut past his marker to lash a low left-footed drive across goal and into the bottom corner.
Paul Holleran’s men were playing some confident passing football and a great passage of play found Rob Thompson-Brown in space on the right, Jamie Head diving full length to push his goalbound shot away.
The unfortunate clash between Pond and Doolan occurred with the second half only minutes old and it was a worrying sight as both players remained prostrate on the turf for some time. The teams were sent back to the dressing rooms and while Pond eventually got to his feet and made his own way off the pitch, Doolan was stretchered off with a large lump on his head and taken to hospital as a precaution.
When the game restarted Brakes quickly gained the ascendancy. Baker-Richardson looked to have got goalside of Longe King, only for the right-back to make a superb clearing tackle as the striker shaped to shoot. Thompson-Brown fired well wide on the turn, while Baker-Richardson flicked a clever ball to Obeng, who cut inside and shot low at Head.
Shane Bush cracked in a deflected effort from distance which Breeden parried, while substitute Jack Hutchinson mishit a shot from out on the left which fell to Kelvin Bossman just yards from goal, only for the striker to practically pass the ball back to Breeden.
Brakes finally got a second just prior to the hour-mark, Baker-Richardson capitalising on Dunstable’s inability to clear, charging in on goal and finishing calmly past Head for his 11th of the season.
Leamington continued to create clear-cut chances. Baker-Richardson got clear again but unselfishly moved the ball sideways to Obeng, who should really have done the same with Thompson-Brown in space to his right, but instead fired wide.
Callum Gittings thundered a first-time drive just past the upright before another slick move saw Thompson-Brown’s ball into the six-yard box sliced over the bar by Edwards from close range. Head then snaffled Obeng’s cross as Baker-Richardson prepared to pounce.
Thompson-Brown’s low drive from the edge of the box went just the wrong side of the post before Obeng broke clear again, exchanging passes with Thompson-Brown before shooting just wide.
There was still time for Brakes to fashion two more opportunities, Edwards directing a header straight at Head and Baker-Richardson deftly controlling a pass from Obeng and firing wide.
Dunstable Town: Jamie Head, David Longe King, Gedeon Okita (Jhai Dhillon, 18), Danny Talbot, Sam Doolan (Jack Hutchinson, 47), Adam Pepera, Vences Bola, Danny Green, Kelvin Bossman, Shane Bush, Jack Green (Alex Cathline, 63). Subs not used: Jack Smith, Adam Moussi.
BRAKES: Tony Breeden, Richard Taundry, Connor Gudger, Joe Magunda (Tom James, 85), Dan Preston, James Mace, Rob Thompson-Brown (Ben George, 83), Jack Edwards, Courtney Baker-Richardson, Darren Pond (Callum Gittings, 47), Ahmed Obeng.
Subs not used: Nathan Olukanmi, Ryan Quinn.