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21 July 2012

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Town lift inaugural David Preece Memorial Trophy

The Town lifted the David Preece Memorial Trophy with a thumping win over AFC Dunstable at Creasey Park.

The Hatters were six goals to the good at the break thanks to two goals from Andre Gray and one each from Greg Taylor, Adam Watkins, Dan Walker and Alex Lawless.
BJ Christie pulled a goal back for the OD's a minute after the restart but the Town restored their six-goal cushion when Stuart Fleetwood made it seven.
The Hatters continued to press after that seventh goal but couldn't find an eight in the close stages.
After the large crowd had given a rousing one minute’s applause in memory of David Preece, the Town legend who had passed away so sadly five years ago yesterday, the Hatters took the lead inside the first two minutes. Tayor, captain for the half, bursting forward from left-back to arrow a firm strike past Nick Garner in the AFC goal.
Scott Rendell fired wide almost immediately after the restart before good play from Watkins fed JJ O’Donnell but he shot wide when well-placed.
Taylor shot wide once more before Dunstable-boy Watkins hammered home the Town’s second on 14 minutes when lashing home beyond Garner from inside the box.
It was almost three six minutes later when a defence-splitting pass from O’Donnell found Gray but, after rounding the goalkeeper, the striker couldn’t force home the loose ball.
Still the chances came the Town’s way. Gray and Walker combined well that saw the latter's shot blocked and, from the corner, resultant Gray headed over.
On 23 minutes Gray this time combined with Watkins that saw the former screw a shot wide of the post but the Hatters were soon celebrating extended their lead thanks to a double from Gray.
His first, on 28 minutes, was a header from a corner from O'Donnell before his second five minutes later was thumped home on the turn having taken a clever pass from Walker to make it 4-0.
As half-time approached the Hatters still had time to score twice more. Walker made it five on 42 minutes when his shot from 12 yards took a deflection and crept over the line before Lawless rifled home a rasping effort from an acute angle right on 45 minutes.
Town boss Paul Buckle made three changes at the break but it was AFC that were the first to strike just seconds after the restart when Christie beat Lewis Kidd to make it 6-1.
One of the half-time changes, Fleetwood, fired over after Yaser Kasim and Rendell had combined well before Fleetwood was denied by a fine save from Garner having raced onto Rendell’s deft headed flick-on.
Rendell and Fleetwood both missed chances as the Town continued to dominate but Fleetwood got off the mark just after the hour when Kasim, Jake Howells and Rendell fashioned a chance that the striker put away well with a fine finish.
Moments later it was almost 8-1 when trialist Harry Crawford’s cross was dummied by Rendell but Fleetwood was unable to turn the ball home.
Lawless came close on 70 minutes when his run and shot was kept out by the home goalkeeper before the Hatters came even closer a minute later when Crawford’s low shot scuttled inches wide of the post having been fed well by Kasim.
Fleetwood again went close and then, with time almost up, O’Donnell rattled the woodwork with a curling free-kick from 20 yards.
With time up, the players congregated in the centre circle after the full-time whistle and it was left to Taylor to lift the trophy.
Town: Kidd, Lawless, Beckwith, Rowe-Turner, Taylor (sub Crawford), Watkins (sub Howells), O’Donnell, Robinson (sub Henry), Walker (sub Kasim), Gray (sub Fleetwood), Rendell.

Attendance: 1,100.

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