Dunston UTS 4
Dunston made the journey to Ashington for only their fourth away League game of the season and were eager to make amends for a very disappointing performance at Newcastle Benfield in mid-week. An excellent streak of League victories had been ended and all concerned with the Club were keen to put things right. After a rather inconsistent start to the campaign, the hosts were able to welcome back some of their injured players in recent games and had shown improved form. In recent visits to Woodhorn Lane, Dunston had found the going tough, but manager Billy Irwin was able to include the returning Stephen Harrison and Dale Burrell. He also named Nicky Kane and Lee McAndrew in his starting line-up but was without Scott Fenwick, Jack Burns and Jonny Wightman.
Dunston started the game at a furious pace and were determined not to let the home side settle. After only two minutes Nicky Kane made a jinking run into the right corner of the home area only to see Ashington goalkeeper Conor Grant make a great block before Andy Bulford latched onto the rebound. His goalbound effort was blocked by defender Andy Ferrell with what looked like an arm, but the Referee waved play on and the danger was cleared with a free-kick awarded to Ashington. Two minutes later a good cross in by left-back Dan Halliday was headed wide by Bulford and in the next Dunston attack Dale Burrell shot over after being set up by Michael Dixon. The onslaught continued and in the 8th minute Burrell went close with a header from a Lee McAndrew cross.
Andy Bulford went close again two minutes later when he shot wide from a Stephen Harrison centre. Ashington broke out in the 11th minute and after a good passing move a last ditch header by David Coulson cleared Marc Walton’s dangerous right-wing cross for a corner as Glen Taylor closed in.
When James Novak sent over the flag-kick, Taylor sent a looping header over Liam Connell’s cross-bar. In the 13th minute a slip in mid-field by Dan Halliday gifted possession to Kyle Downey who made ground before sending in Marc Walton but he was unable to keep his shot on target. Dunston almost took the lead on 20 minutes when a Lee McAndrew corner fell to David Coulson who sent in a terrific volley from 16 yards that scraped the bar with Grant beaten.
In the next minute a great run on the left by McAndrew saw him set up Andy Bulford who shot just over as Dunston pressed for the opener. The deserved lead came in the 25th minute when Bulford made a run on the left to get onto a through-ball by Gary Ormston that beat the Ashington offside trap. The hard-working striker squared to Nicky Kane who slotted home, giving keeper Conor Grant no chance. 1 – 0 to Dunston UTS.
Despite dominating the play, Dunston had to be alert at the back and only a smart block by keeper Liam Connell prevented an equaliser by Marc Walton on 31 minutes after good work by Glen Taylor.
Three minutes later a Stephen Harrison free-kick caused panic in the home defence with Grant again coming to rescue with a brave block. Dunston almost grabbed another goal in the 35th minute when Gary Ormston gained possession from Andy Ferrell on the edge of the Ashington area but Grant pulled off a brilliant save. The second goal came in the very next minute when Dale Burrell made a determined run into the right side of the penalty area and clipped over a cross which Lee McAndrew met to score with a very rare header into the bottom corner. 2 – 0 to Dunston UTS.
Dunston continued to dominate with Ormston just failing to send Andy Bulford through on goal on 39 minutes and a couple of minutes later a great run on the left by Dan Halliday saw him skin two defenders before his cross was hacked behind for a corner. When Lee McAndrew sent over his curling flag-kick, it beat keeper Grant and had to be cleared off the goal-line by defender Lance McGlen.
Half-Time Score: Ashington 0 Dunston UTS 2
The expected Ashington revival at the start of the second-half did not materialise and it was the visitors who came closest to increasing their lead when Lee McAndrew set up Dale Burrell for an effort on goal in the 48th minute. The home side retaliated but a James Novak corner flew across the Dunston goal and out of danger with nobody able to get a touch. On 51 minutes a long punt upfield by Richard Flynn saw Marc Walton gain control before his effort on goal flew narrowly over.
In the 55th minute Andy Bulford broke clear of the home defence before racing clear on the right and when he crossed, keeper Grant made two great saves to keep out Gary Ormston and Nicky Kane when a goal looked certain.
The keeper was in action again on the hour when he had to go full-length to keep out a bullet header from Bulford when Nicky Kane supplied a great cross. In the next minute a McAndrew run ended with Grant making another outstanding stop from the winger’s effort and the resultant corner saw Nicky Kane scoop over from close range. In the 65th minute Liam Connell pulled off a superb save to deny Marc Walton after the burly forward had got in behind Luke Gilhespy.
The Dunston keeper repeated the feat a minute later as Ashington exerted their first spell of real pressure in the game. When Lance McGlen sent over the resultant corner there seemed little danger but despite several opportunities to clear, the Dunston defence allowed the ball to fall to Glen Taylor who slotted past the unsighted Liam Connell from 10 yards out. 2 – 1 to Dunston UTS.
Despite the set-back Dunston went back on the offensive with some good attacking play and forced a left-wing corner after good work by Dan Halliday and Lee McAndrew in the 70th minute. When Stephen Harrison sent over an accurate ball into the danger area, David Coulson rose to send a thunderous header against the underside of the bar with Grant beaten. The ball bounced down onto the goal-line and as it ran loose Andy Bulford hammered home from close range. 3 – 1 to Dunston UTS.
After several escapes during the game, at last Ashington’s good fortune around their goal had run out and they were rattled. Dunston were pressing all over the pitch and in the 75th minute a long ball from Gary Ormston saw the otherwise outstanding Conor Grant make a rash decision as he left his goal area. Nicky Kane managed to reach the ball before the keeper to nudge it beyond him and the Dunston player had the easy task of following up to score his second goal of the match. 4 – 1 to Dunston UTS.
From the kick-off the Dunston rear-guard lost concentration when a long ball was played up to Marc Walton who was able to gain possession before slipping a low shot past Liam Connell. 4 - 2 to Dunston UTS.
There was still time for Conor Grant to pull off another two good saves from Andy Bulford in the 80th and then from Stephen Harrison in the 84th minutes as Dunston consolidated their position to run out deserved winners.
Full-Time Score: Ashington 2 Dunston UTS 4
Dunston Man of the Match: Nicky Kane who showed great energy and enthusiasm. He grabbed a couple of goals and did a good job on the right. A very good all-round team performance.
Ashington AFC: Grant, McGlen, Christenson, Slaughter, Flynn, Taylor (J), Downey, Ferrell, Walton, Taylor (G), Novak (Stephenson). Subs not used: Davison, Egen, Elliott.
Dunston UTS: Connell, Harrison, Halliday, Burrell, Coulson, Gilhespy, Kane, Ormston,Dixon, Bulford, McAndrew. Subs not used: Craggs, Clark, Wilson, Shaw (G), Shaw (S).
Referee, P. Newhouse, Assistants, D. Carr, D. Watson.
Report By Billy Montague.
Next Game, 11th October, League, Dunston UTS v Whitley Bay.