Southern League Premier Division: Dunstable Town 2 Cambridge City 1
Dunstable Town produced a battling display to record an opening day victory against Cambridge City at the weekend.
The hosts were without Zack Reynolds and David Keenleyside, as they handed debuts to the likes of Joseph Debayo and Jai Dhillon, plus striker Alex Cathline, who had impressed greatly in pre-season.
The visitors looked sharper early on as Sam Alderson’s shot was blocked, while John Kaye’s header tipped over by Jack Smith.
Dunstable lost Gary Wharton to injury early on, as Taishan Griffith came on, before Smith saved well from a free kick, before the Blues tested Enol Ordonez through Jack Hutchinson’s effort.
The hosts went close again when a sublime free kick from the evergreen Danny Talbot was met powerfully by centre-half John Sonuga whose header reverberated against the crossbar.
Cathline missed a good chance from close range, while Shane Bush was off target, before City had the lead in stunning fashion on the half hour through Paul Cooper’s wonderful long-range blast.
Dunstable looked for an immediate response, with Cathline testing Ordonez, although Smith had to be on hand to save from Tunde Alewunti.
Another Talbot set-piece saw Bush’s header saved by Ordonez, while after the break, the Blues were level within two minutes as Bush found Cathline who flicked the ball up volleyed into the bottom corner.
With chances falling for both sides, City went close when Sam Alderson was narrowly over, but the next goal went the way of Dunstable as Talbot produced a glorious free kick from 20 yards that beat Ordonez on 68 minutes.
Cambridge now stepped up their hunt for a leveller, Alderson hitting the bar, although Dunstable pushed too, Sonuga firing an effort from range.
With 10 minutes to go, keeper Smith picked up a leg injury and he was replaced by Jamie Head, who had a heroic final few moments with some vital saves of commendable quality.
One of these was a fingertip effort from the determined Alderson, while he replicated this feat to deny Charlie Woolfe, with the best, preventing David Femiola nabbing an equaliser as Dunstable began with a welcome triumph.
Town now head to newly promoted Kings Langley tomorrow night.
Dunstable: Jack Smith (Jamie Head 80), Joseph Debayo, Jai Dhillon, Danny Talbot, John Sonuga, Adam Pepera (C), Gary Wharton (Taishan Griffith 7), David Longe-King, Alex Cathline (Connor Calcutt 75), Shane Bush, Jack Hutchinson.
Subs not used: Adam Moussi, Luis Fernandes.
City: Enol Ornadez, Paul Cooper, Charlie Day, Harry Norman, Jordan Williams, Jack Uttridge, James Tricks (Charlie Woolfe), John Kaye, Tunde Alewunti (David Femiola), Erkan Okay, Sam Alderson.
Sub not used: Giani Ashley.
Star man: Alex Cathline.