Thursday, 21 April 2016

0-0 Draw with North Shields

Report by Billy Montague
Thursday 21st April 2016
Ebac Northern League – First Division
Final Score: Dunston UTS 0 North Shields 0

Dunston welcomed North Shields to the UTS Stadium for this Ebac Northern League game less than forty-eight hours after their tough game at Whitley Bay on Tuesday evening. The visitors had the benefit of an extra days’ rest after taking on Morpeth Town the previous night when they secured a 2-1 victory. As well as long-term absentees Dale Burrell and Dan Dan Halliday, Manager Billy Irwin had to reckon with the loss of Adam Wilkinson who was injured at Whitley Bay and the suspended Matty Fisher.

Alex Francis was able to resume with Michael Pearson, Liam Thear and Gary Shaw also in the starting eleven. North Shields included former Dunston players Dan Wilson, Gary Ormston and Brad Brooking in their line-up but were missing Curtis Coppen, Adam Forster and Dean Holmes.
The playing surface of the pitch looked to be very good, considering that the two previous home matches had been postponed due to the waterlogged conditions. The spell of dry weather had seen it dry out quickly and it allowed the game to start at a furious pace with both teams eager to take an early advantage.
Despite the end-to-end nature of the early exchanges, it was not until the 17th minute that any serious goal-scoring chances were created. When Michael McKeown sent in a swirling free-kick, the Dunston defence was under pressure to clear on the penalty spot and as the ball bounced up, former Dunston striker Dan Wilson hooked an effort which struck the post before rebounding into the grasp of the grateful Liam Connell.

In the 19th minute Dunston went close at the other end but Malky Morien shot wide after being set up by Alex Francis. The teams were battling hard to create further chances with Shields just edging the possession and on 26 minutes wide-man Lee Mason made a good run on the visitors’ right and when he sent in an angled low cross, Liam Connell had to be sharp to intercept just before prolific scorer Gareth Bainbridge could cash-in. On 29 minutes only some steadfast defending by Dan Capewell prevented another Shields attack from breaking through.

On 35 minutes some good work by Aris Guerin on the Dunston right saw him send Morien through and although the striker’s effort was blocked, the ball fell to Alex Francis who sent a shot flying narrowly past the angle. Dunston were working their way into the game and were now giving a decent account of the themselves but were unable to force the crucial first goal.

Half-time Score: Dunston UTS 0 North Shields 0

The visitors started the second-half in determined mood and seemed to grab the initiative from the off. Strong play by Gary Ormston and Ryan Carr set up a couple of half-chances for Bainbridge but Liam Connell was equal to them.

Dunston were struggling to get out of second gear and on 52 minutes an excellent run by Dan Wilson saw him set up Bainbridge whose shot was brilliantly saved by Connell with the keeper able to recover and prevent the ball running into the net. Two minutes later a blasted free-kick by McKeown was bravely blocked by Scott Martindale. On 56 minutes Alex Francis sent a fizzing shot past keeper Chris Bannon’s post after being set up by Dan Smith. In the 61st minute some good approach play by Ormston and Mason ended with McKeown shooting wide.

Steve Bowey was replaced by ex-North Shields player James Luccock in the 63rd minute and the substitute injected some immediate urgency into the Dunston play. On 71 minutes a Francis corner reached Luccock whose shot was well saved by Bannon. In the 78th minute Malky Morien made a good run past three defenders but his shot flew straight at the keeper.

On 82 minutes Luccock made a determined run at the Shields defence before slipping the ball through to fellow substitute Steven Richardson but as he advanced into the six-yard box, some excellent defending by John Parker denied him a goal. As the game drew to a close, both teams were going for a result and on 90 minutes, Bannon made an excellent take from a dangerous Alex Francis cross. In stoppage time the limping Francis thought he had done the trick when he ran onto a clever flicked header by Richardson but his shot clipped the woodwork before flying over Bannon’s goal.

Full-time Score: Dunston UTS 0 North Shields 0

Dunston Man of the Match: Michael Pearson – As usual, Michael turned in another quietly competetant performance. He always gives his very best for the team and is a great example to others.

Dunston UTS: Connell, Pearson, Shaw, Bowey (Luccock), Martindale (Gilhespy), Capewell, Francis, Smith, Guerin, Morien, Thear (Richardson). Subs not used: Clark, Liddle.

North Shields: Bannon, Donnison, Summerly, McKeown, Parker, Hughes (Brooking), Carr, Ormston, Bainbridge (McGorrigan), Wilson (Devlin), Mason. Subs not used: Richardson, McCafferty.

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