Thame United 5-0 Dunstable Town
Thame United put their recent six games without a win run to bed on Saturday with a resounding win over Dunstable Town at the ASM Stadium, and in truth the scoreline could have been much greater had the hosts taken their chances but the three points were enough to lift the Oxfordshire side back into the play-off places in the Southern Football League Division One Central table as Berkhamsted lost meaning United take their fifth place spot, with just eleven league games remaining the battle for those play-offs is incredibly tight as just eight points separate eighth place Coleshill and fourth placed Didcot. Thame got off to the perfect start when centre-half Aaron Jewell nodded his side ahead after just three minutes and from there the home side never really looked in any danger of not taking the points, three up by half-time saw the game done & dusted and the second half was never going to match the determination of the first however two further goals in the final quarter of an hour put the finishing touches to an excellent performance from Mark West’s squad.
Thame took the lead when a free kick from their right was curled in by Lynton Goss and executing the perfect header in the middle was Jewell to nod past Town keeper Connor Coulson, a couple of early corners for the visitors were dealt with comfortably and from one a goal kick from United custodian Craig Hill sent Dan West away down the middle of the pitch, evading a challenge he fired straight at Coulson and the chance was gone, but on eighteen minutes they were given the opportunity to double their lead when a Goss run into the penalty area saw him brought down and a penalty awarded.
Captain Ben Sturgess assumed responsibility and duly sent Coulson the wrong way to drill low into the bottom corner, and from there Dunstable seemed to concede as heads dropped. They were offered a lifeline back into the game when a cross from their right wasn’t cleared by the home defence and pouncing on the loose ball Saul Williams on the half volley fired high over the bar, and their afternoon of misery was compounded on twenty-three minutes when they were forced into an early substitution as Joshua Bailey was replaced by John Sonuga. Liam Tack was released down the United right in behind the Town backline in acres of space, as he tried to pick out team mates in the box a superb sliding block from Daniel Trif saw him trap with his leg and recover quickly enough to get back on his feet and clear.
Goss continued to make a nuisance of himself up front for the hosts, a ball over the top for him to chase after saw him shoulder to shoulder with Sonuga who ended up bringing the striker down earning himself a yellow card for his troubles, just past the half hour mark Goss again got down the right wing into the corner where he cut back inside his marker and a clever reverse pass set in Matt Peake-Pijnen who fired across the six-yard box where Coulson got his hands close enough to stun it dead allowing Sonuga to clear downfield. With three minutes of the half remaining Thame made it three when Tack slid in to get his foot to a cross which wrong footed Coulson as it rolled slowly into the bottom corner. H/T: 3-0
The second half took a while to get going as was only to be expected, Dunstable huffed and puffed but never really troubled the home defence and it took until the fifty-eighth minute for a worthwhile effort on goal when a Thame free kick was headed over by Jamie Essex at the back stick, whilst at the opposite end a corner played short to Marcus Goldbourne on the corner of the eighteen yard box allowed him to shoot but way wide of the intended target. The visitors were then almost the architects of their own downfall when an attempted header back to his keeper from Sonuga was far too short allowing Peake-Pijnen to nip in and get his head to it first, nodding over the stranded Coulson but wide of the empty goal.
Another intrusive run from Goss down their right saw him play the ball across the eighteen yard box where there were three or four close range shots that the away defence did well to get in front of each time, Hill was equally as good with a save at the other end when Williams went for goal from close range. A corner to the hosts curled in by Peake-Pijnen was met at the front of the box by a glancing header from West that flew across the goal face but wide of the back post, closely followed by a poor clearance from the Town defence that went straight to Peake-Pijnen giving him the opportunity to cut infield before powering a dipping drive over the top, then on seventy-seven minutes they finally got their fourth.
A corner from their left curled in by Tack saw Jewell climb highest to thump his header past Coulson for his second of the afternoon, and from there it was all about game management for the home side. A plethora of substitutions from both sides interrupted play but eventually a late corner was half cleared by the Dunstable defence but only as far as substitute Jack Tutton who tried to place inside the far top corner but there was never enough bend on the shot to threaten, but in added time Thame got their fifth when their guests surrendered position high up the pitch allowing Andy Gledhill to explore the left wing, losing his marker he then put the inch perfect delivery to the back of the six yard box where West headed back across Coulson into the far corner. F/T: 5-0
Updated 21:51 - 21 Mar 2019 by Carl Catling