Match report: Dunston FC vs Marine AFC.
BetVictor Northern Premier North West Division
Dunston FC vs Marine AFC
The UTS Stadium
Final score: Dunston FC - 0. Marine AFC - 0.
“A point gained or two points dropped?”
In the World of football, entertaining goalless draws are some what of an oxymoron. However, on a damp December afternoon and on a heavy pitch, that’s exactly what was witnessed by those in attendance. Both sides hit the woodwork and played their part in an action packed end to end game. The home side carved out the majority of goal scoring chances as Marine left Tyneside with a share of the spoils, largely in part to a fine goalkeeping performance from Germano Mendes.
The game witnessed referee Sam Packer hand out cards like the Bairns from the local Primary Schools during Christmas week, all under the watchful gaze of a referee’s assessor.
After the game assistant manager Chris Errington commented “We go out believing that we can win every game. We played most of the game with 10 men and the advantage did not show which is a credit to how we’ve played ” he added “The front two were superb, their work rate was excellent, looking throughout the team you’d struggle to find a player who was not outstanding today. That performance today sends out a message that we’re not just here to make up the numbers”.
Despite Dunston having to play most of the game with 10 men, with Michael Pearson sent off for a second bookable offence, the home side will no doubt question whether this game was a point gained or two points dropped against a Marine side in a rich vein of form and whom many, along with Dunston, had been tipped for promotion at the start of this season.
A one minute silence was observed for supported Tom O’Connor. Tom sadly passed away during the week and our deepest condolences go out to his family and friends.
Above: both teams respectfully observing a one minute silence for Dunston FC supporter Mr Tom O’Connor RIP.
With top scorer Mark Fitzpatrick suspended, Dunston had decided to change formation slightly, starting with a 3-4-1-2 formation, as opposed to the 3-4-3 which had served them well during their last two games. Jake Stafford returned to the starting XI and partnered Michael Pearson in the middle of the park. Luke Page was moved to a more advanced position behind the front two of Scott Heslop and Cedwyn Scott, whilst Liam Marrs replaced Callum Elliott at right back. The visitors lined up with an orthodox 4-4-2 formation.
The home side started brightly, Heslop going close during the opening stages only to see his volley blocked by Marine keeper Mendes, the shot stopper was in for a busy afternoon and played a pivotal role in gaining a point for his side.
Above: Dunston FC forward Scott Heslop denied by the impressive goalkeeping of Marine AFC’s Mendes.
Marine had the woodwork to thank on 13 minutes, Staffords driven shot was parried into the path of Cedwyn Scott, Mendes reacted quickly to block from close range, in the ensuing scramble Luke Page crashed his headed effort off the crossbar.Dunston thought they had taken the lead shortly after, Scott Heslop’s looped header from 10 yards out ruled out for offside.
With Dunston controlling the opening stages of the game, Captain Dan Halliday whipped in a series of quality deliveries, which somehow Marine managed to survive.
Below: Dunston FC Captain Dan Halliday, allowed to push on in attack thanks to the solidity of the home sides back three.
Heslop was once again denied by Mendes, the keepers goal kick falling into the path of the forward, with defenders pushed on, Heslop raced in on goal only for Mendes to make amends for his mistake by acrobatically palming away the fiercely struck effort. Marine could have taken the lead against the run of play, a corner sailed past the back post, Dunston defender Craig Scott clearing the danger as Dunston’s back line were in no mood to be breached.
The game was to take a twist on 32 minutes as Dunston’s energetic and industrious midfielder Michael Pearson, already on a caution, was booked for a second time. Going into a loose ball with studs showing, the referee was left with little option but to produce a card. Dunston’s partisan crowd were incensed, feeling that Marine had not been met with the same punishments for a series of fouls previously.
Above: Dunston FC’s Luke Page coming out on top in an aerial battle.
Luke Page was moved deeper as Marine looked to come more into the game with the numerical advantage. Half time came and Dunston keeper Karl Dryden was to enter the changing rooms without some much as a claggy mark on him. A sign of Dunston’s superiority in the first half, whilst at the other end the visitors could be thankful to the services of Mendes who had produced a fine display in the Marine goal to take the two sides level going into the break.
After the interval, Marine moved to three up top in an attempt to get into the game and as a result came out with greater purpose. Dan Capewell was on hand to block a dangerous attack inside the home sides box. Moments later Dryden reacted sharply to spread himself and block a James Ellison effort at the near post, as a flicked on header over his defence allowed the winger in on goal
Below: Proof, if ever it was needed, that Santa Claus is a massive Dunston FC Fan.
Dunston had Jake Stafford to thank as the midfielder cleared a dangerous ball off the line with Marine knocking long balls into their opponents box. Marine forward Niall Cummins was remonstrating with the referee anytime a blue shirt went near him in an attempt to win free kicks in and around the box. The organisation of the Dunston defence had frustrated the Marine forwards throughout the game.
Marine went close to opening the scoring as Craig Lindfield turned well to fire his shot narrowly wide of the upright. The game went end to end in closing stages with both sides sensing that one goal could be the winner in a tightly contested game.
Marine had a fine chance to take the lead through Josh Solomon-Davies, George Newell broke away from a Dunston corner and raced in on goal with only Dan Capewell back. With the ball slipped into the path of the pacy full back he slipped under the heavy surface and blazed his effort wide with his weaker foot. Dan Capewell, substitute Jack Elliott were both added into the referees book, much to the anger of the home crowd.
A Marine corner was eventually cannoned onto the underside of the crossbar by Cummins, with the away side remonstrating with the officials that the ball had crossed the line. VAR is yet to filter down to the depths of the lower leagues as the Officials ignored their pleas.
Luke Page was in the referees book for a foul late on, whilst Marine keeper Mendes was booked for dissent having been told to move the ball back on a free kick numerous times by the official. Dunston substitute Liam Brooks could’ve given the hosts all three points, with Elliot latching onto a Luke Page pass, the ball found itself trapped under the big centre forwards feet as Mendes spread himself well to ensure the visitors left with a point.
Dunston FC line-up:
Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club Man of the Match awarded to: Luke Page.
Luke Page is kindly sponsored by:
Home strip: Page Powder Coatings Ltd.
Away kit: Mr Tony Cleugh
Recovery equipment: Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club
Dunston FC are proudly sponsored by UTS Engineering Ltd.
Images courtesy of:
Kelvin Shell - Beauty Time Photography.