Wednesday 26th November 2014
Ebac Northern League – First Division
Billingham Synthonia 0
Dunston UTS 1 (Bulford)
Dunston travelled to Billingham to take on a Synthonia side who had recently had a management change with Conrad Hillerby taking the reins. He has given the squad a big shake-up and introduced several new (and younger) players since his arrival. Results have improved considerably lately as the hosts fight to get away from the lower reaches of the League Table. Dunston manager Billy Irwin was forced to re-jig his starting eleven once again with the unavailability of right-back Stephen Harrison meaning that the versatile Gareth Williams deputised. New signing Dan Smith was given his debut on the right-hand side of midfield.
Dunston made a bright start with new boy Dan Smith prominent on the right. Some decent attacking moves failed to make a clear opening and when Synners did break out, Luke Gilhespy had to be on his toes to snuff out a threat from the impressive Theo Furness. After a Dunston attack broke down the ball was again fed to Furness on the right after 10 minutes. He made progress before feeding centre-forward Michael Sweet who was only halted by a last-ditch challenge from Michael Dixon as he bore down on Liam Connell’s goal. Two minutes later, the same situation was repeated at the other end as a Steven Huggins tackle denied Andy Bulford when he looked favourite to open the scoring. On 16 minutes a Nathan Porritt free-kick squirted across the Dunston goal with nobody able the supply the vital touch. With the visitors dominating after this let-off it came as no surprise when they took the lead in the 23rd minute when Andy Bulford unleashed a shot from just outside the corner of the box which flew over keeper Jonathan McDonald and into the far top corner of the net. 1 – to Dunston.
On 26 minutes the industrious Dan Smith looked to have fed a great ball through to Bulford but a late interception by Matthew Bell just averted the danger. Two minutes later it was Dunston who had an escape when Liam Connell strumbled on the tricky surface as he tried to clear and only a good clearance by Dan Halliday prevented Michael Sweet from cashing in. On 30 minutes keeper McDonald made a brave block to deny Dan Smith after he had been set up by good work from Gary Ormston. Liam Connell was called into action on 35 minutes when he had to make a smart save from a Michael Sweet header after a good cross from full-back Ryan Foster. On 42 minutes Gary Ormston shot narrowly wide after Dale Burrell sent him through with a good pass. Right on half-time Synners forced two corners with Gareth Williams sustaining an injury in clearing. While he was off the field, the ball was played in and a shot blasted at David Coulson, clearly striking him on the shoulder. The Referee awarded a penalty and cautioned Coulson before Nathan Porritt stepped up to curl the spot-kick over the bar for the last action of the half.
Half-time score: 0 – 1
Dunston started the second-half at a fast pace and were determined to add to their narrow lead as Synners keeper McDonald almost made a hash of keeping a Dale Burrell effort out but he just managed to recover and scooped the ball away off his line. On 54 minutes David Coulson headed wide when he got on the end of a Dan Halliday free-kick and five minutes later Tom Hinchley made a brave block to divert a Burrell free-kick from 22 yards. In Dunston’s next attack substitute Ben Cattanach saw Andy Bulford get in header that flew wide on the hour. In the 64th minute Synners came back as Liam Connell easily held a Nathan Porritt shot but the keeper was severely tested three minutes later when he had to be at his best to save from Theo Furness as the tricky winger bore down on goal from the right. On 68 minutes only a brilliant tackle by Ryan Foster prevented Dan Wilson from increasing Dunston’s lead and Dan Halliday went close with a tremendous cross shot on 72 minutes.
Two minutes after this it was Furness making another good run at the Dunston defence but Connell was able to pick off his cross. In the 77th minute Dunston had strong appeals for a penalty turned down when a powerful run into the box by Dan Smith was halted by what appeared to be a foul tackle by Daniel Dillon. Although Dunston were still in the ascendancy, Synners were very dangerous on the break and looking to capitalise on every loss of possession. In a swift counter-attack in the 83rd minute Steve Huggins surged forward and fed Porritt but the forward’s final effort went high over the bar when well placed. Dunston went close again on 86 minutes from a Dan Halliday corner but David Coulson could only place his firm header over McDonald’s bar.
In the 87th minute Dale Burrell won a good challenge to gain possession 30 yards from goal before going on to feed Dan Wilson whose shot went just over. In the closing minutes Dunston made sure that they didn’t throw away their narrow lead and although the hosts never gave up on grabbing something from the game, it was the visitors who picked up the three points.
Full-time score: Billingham Synthonia 0 Dunston UTS 1
Dunston Man of the Match: Luke Gilhespy, his reading of the game and covering ensured that Dunston held on to their narrow lead and took three points after a rather disjointed performance.
Billingham Synthonia: McDonald, Foster (Bettson), Bell (Dodds), Dillon,Hinchley, Huggins, Furness (Carter), Osmond, Sweet, Porritt, Hughes. Subs not used: Matthewman, Shaw.
Dunston UTS: Connell, Williams (Cattanach), Halliday, Ormston, Coulson, Gilhespy, Smith, Burrell, Dixon, Bulford, Wightman (Wilson). Subs not used: Kane, Harbottle, Clark.
Report by Billy Montague