Report by Billy Montague
Saturday 7th March 2020
BetVictor Northern Premier – N/West Division
Final Score: Clitheroe FC 0 Dunston FC 0
Dunston travelled to the Blackburn area of East Lancashire to face Clitheroe FC at their attractive Shawbridge Stadium on a bright and breezy day. The sides had met only a few weeks earlier at the UTS Stadium when a very evenly matched contest resulted in a 0 - 0 draw with both defences dominant.Dunston manager Chris Swailes was hit by aselection crisis in the days leading up to the game with Scott Heslop, Liam Brooks and Niall Harrison all out, Dan Capewell suspended and Luke Page unavailable. Jake Stafford and Michael Pearson were named on the bench despite being only partially fit. Liam Marrs returned to the starting line-up along with new signing Shahban Mohammed. The other recent arrival, youngster Luke Ridley, was also on the bench.
Dunston FC: Dryden, Elliott C, Halliday, Hall (Ridley) (Thear), Scott, Grant-Soulsby,
Marrs, Mouanda, Fitzpatrick, Mohammed, Elliott J.
Subs not used: Bostyan, Stafford, Pearson.
Dunston captain, Dan Halliday won the toss and decided to defend the slight slope on the pitch and with the strong wind in their faces, the visitors made a confident start to the game. They were awarded a free-kick for a rash tackle after only two minutes and when Callum Elliott drove the ball to the edge of the Clitheroe box, Mark Fitzpatrick flicked on and Jack Elliott came close to connecting before keeper Chris Thompson managed to collect. The home side responded a minute later when Craig Carney fired a wind-assisted free-kick over from 25-yards. In the next Clitheroe attack Carney sent in a shot which drew a decent save from Karl Dryden at the foot of his left-hand post. On five minutes Callum Elliott drove in another cross which almost found namesake Jack at the far post. In the 7th minute Clitheroe’s Kieran Feeney cut in from the left before unleashing a good shot which flew over Dryden’s bar. A minute later, Jack Elliott made a pacey run before setting up Liam Marrs whose shot was parried away by the diving Chris Thompson. On nine minutes, Michael Hall knocked a great ball to release Jack Elliott but in doing so, he pulled a calf-muscle and had to be replaced by subsitute Luke Ridley. After this flurry of action the contest became a midfield battle until Dunston debutante Shahban Mohammed burst through but his rising shot cleared the crossbar on 16 minutes. Dunston almost broke the deadlock on 20 minutes when a tricky run by Jack Elliott saw him get the better of full-back Jacob Gregory and his cross just evaded the head of the onrushing Mark Fitzpatrick in front of goal. Two minutes later, Jack Elliott sprinted in on goal onto a good ball by Shahban Mohammed but as Chris Thompson came out, Elliott shot across goal and narrowly past the far post.Jack Elliott was in the thick of the action again before Clitheroe’s Craig Carney produced a threat to the Dunston goal when he made a good run before shooting over on the half-hour mark. Clitheroe went close again on 34 minutes when they forced two corner-kicks in quick succession and from the second a scramble in the Dunston box saw central defender Oliver Muir shoot over the bar when well placed. Dunston should have taken the lead just three minutes later when Mark Fitzpatrick battled for possession near the byeline and was brought down in a clumsy challenge just inside the box. The Referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty but Fitzpatrick slotted the spot-kick past the post.
CLITHEROE v DUNSTON – contd.
After fighting hard to keep a foothold in the game, the penalty miss was a great opportunity missed but Dunston continued to hang onto parity despite the elements being against them. Clitheroe went all-out in the closing minutes of the half to grab a lead to take into the break and on 40 minutes a Jacob Gregory free-kick looked dangerous before Callum Elliott got the ball away from the far post with a towering header. Two minutes later, Gregory burst through and fired in a fierce shot that drew a fine save from Karl Dryden. The final action of the half saw the tricky Tyrhys Dolan cut inside and as he shaped to shoot a brilliantly timed tackle by Andrew Grant-Soulsby cleared the danger.
Half-Time Score: Clitheroe FC 0 Dunston FC 0
The teams came out for the second-half with all to play for but now Dunston had the slope and the fresh breeze to their advantage. The early exchanges were fairly even with the home side playing a more controlled passing game than in the first-half. Mark Fitzpatrick almost cashed in on a lofted high ball in the 53rd minute but keeper Chris Thompson just beat him to the ball as he raced from his goal. Two minutes later, Clitheroe’s Tyrhys Dolan made another determined run past a couple of Dunston defenders but he was eventually crowded out to win a corner. The flag-kick came to nothing and on 58 minutes a Callum Elliott free-kick from the right almost reached Craig Scott at the far post but he was unable to direct a header on goal. A similar delivery from the other flank by Shahban Mohammed had the identical result as the wind caught the ball and took it over the big defender’s head. On the hour mark a good Ursene Moauanda pass freed Callum Elliott on the right but his cross was just too strong for Jack Elliott. Two minutes later Karl Dryden pulled off a very good save to go full length to hold on to a Kieran Feeney shot. On 69 minutes Craig Scott got on the end of a Callum Elliott cross but he couldn’t get his effort on target. Clitheroe right-back Jacob Gregory swung in a dangerous cross on 76 minutes but some great defensive work by Andrew Grant-Soulsby averted the danger. Substitute Terry Cummings drew another fine save from Karl Dryden three minutes later before Dunston’s sub Liam Thear sent a fierce shot on target at the other end. Dunston began to get the upper hand in the last ten minutes and on 86 minutes a great passing move between Liam Thear and Jack Elliott resulted in Mark Fitzpatrick sending in a terrific low shot that keeper Chris Thompson did brilliantly to save. In the 89th minute Dunston could have grabbed a late victory when Liam Marrs jinked into the box before setting up Liam Thear who beat three defenders with some close control. He looked a certain scorer, but he took one touch too many and his shot flew over the bar. There was enough time for Dunston to go close again in added time when Liam Marrs made a great run on the right before sending a dipping 25-yard half-volley over the keeper who was on the edge of his six-yard box. It looked a goal all-day but the effort scraped just over the crossbar with Thompson well beaten. Both teams strove for a winner in the final moments of stoppage time but in the end, a draw was a fair result between the well matched opponents.
Final Score: Clitheroe FC 0 Dunston FC 0
Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club Man of The Match: Dan Halliday
Dan Halliday is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt: Quality Trade Windows
Away shirt: Prentech Limited
Recovery equipment: Dougie James Lowden