Report by Billy Montague
Dunston made the relatively straight forward journey to Pontefract to take on one of the form teams of the North West Division of the Northern Premier League on a bright and very cold day. To reach the Stadium Entrance, Players, Club Officials and Supporters were forced to walk the final 150 metres over fairly hazardous terrain that was riddled with pot-holes.
Welcome to Pontefract Collieries FC.
Manager Chris Swailes had to cope with the absence of the injured Karl Dryden and Liam Marrs while illness ruled out Jack Elliott and Cedwyn Scott who failed to travel. Niall Harrison deputised for Karl Dryden in goal with new signing Erno Bostyan taking a place on the bench as reserve keeper. Luke Page returned after completing a three-match suspension.
Above: Dunston FC Manager Chris Swailes.
The game got under way in bright sunshine but it was evident that the poor condition of the playing surface would mean that flowing football would be at a premium.
Dunston gave a decent account of themselves in the opening exchanges with the returning Luke Page making some darting runs from midfield. Scott Heslop did his best to disrupt the home defence with some strong running in his lone role up front. Liam Brooks and Liam Thear joined him when the opportunity arose.
Pictured above: Dunston FC forward Liam Brooks.
In the eighth minute Page burst past two scything tackles to the edge of the Pontefract box but his pass to release Scott Heslop was just too strong and the chance was gone. The home side were not shy is going long in an attempt to release their hard-running forwards. They possessed an effective weapon in the long-throw of full-back Jack Greenhough who could easily reach the danger area in the box. One such throw-in on fourteen minutes forced the Dunston defence to knock the ball out for a corner-kick on the right. James Baxendale delivered a good cross from the flag-kick which caused problems in the Dunston area. Keeper Niall Harrison made only a partial clearance that fell at the feet of Colls’ centre-half Spencer Clarke who scuffed his shotbut the ball trickled agonisingly into the corner of the net. 1 – 0.
On 15 minutes, Dunston mounted a good attack through Liam Brooks but as he went past his marker, he was unceremoniously dumped to the ground with Jack Greenhough earning a caution. Ursene Mouanda delivered a good free-kick to the head of Luke Page whose flick found Dan Capewell. Liam Thear latched onto the loose ball and went on a mazy run along the bye-line before being blocked
The home side used any means to prevent the Dunston attackers getting through and Scott Heslop was blatantly pulled back on the edge of the box but the free-kick by Michael Pearson was cleared. A good passing move involving Liam Thear, Michael Pearson and Ursene was then scrambled away for a fruitless corner on 21 minutes before Scott Heslop had the ball in the net only to be ruled offside 3 minutes later. The home side gained a free-kick just outside the Dunston box on 32 minutes but Connor Smythe wasted the chance by blasting high over the bar.
Pontefract went on the attack from the kick-off in the second-half but a timely tackle by Dan Capewell saw him make ground before releasing Liam Thear on the right flank. Thear kept possession before playing a one-two with Luke Page to go racing towards goal but as he shaped to shoot, the ball was cleared for a corner.
Ursene Mouanda (pictured in the ball above) swung the flag-kick into the six-yard box where defender Connor Smythe was clearly holding Liam Thear on the line. The Referee spotted the foul, immediately awarding a penalty-kick and issuing a caution to Smythe. After vigorous protest from the home side, Scott Heslop eventually stepped up to take the spot-kick but unfortunately giant keeper Seb Malkowski guessed the correct way and went full-length to save the effort.
Below: Heslop was denied from the spot to level the game.
Dunston’s luck went missing again on 52 minutes when Liam Thear was harshly ruled offside when he put the ball in the net from 10-yards after being slotted in by Michael Pearson. Mark Fitzpatrick came on for Liam Brooks in the 62nd minute and two minutes later a good passing move linking him, Luke Page, Michael Pearson and Liam Thear saw Malkowski bravely dive to cut out a dangerous angled pass that looked to be setting Scott Heslop free in front of goal. Dunston were pressing hard for an equaliser and on 66 minutes only a desperate late block by Fabian Bailey prevented Michael Pearson from getting on the score-sheet.
Above: Dunston FC substitute Mark Fitzpatrick held by a Coll’s player.
In the 73rdminute yet another Mouanda free-kick ended at the feet of Mark Fitzpatrick but as the ball bobbled around on the tricky surface, he was unable to get a clean contact, and the ball was scramble away from the line. As Dunston pushed men forward looking for a goal, Pontefract broke away in the 77th minute in the shape of centre-forward Joe Lumsden who was clean through but Niall Harrison left his line to pull off a brilliant save. In the 79thminute, Craig Scott was replaced by Dan Halliday who slotted in at left-back. Pontefract seemed happy to soak up the pressure after bringing on an extra defender, going long to clear their lines. Dan Halliday had only been on the pitch for around three minutes when he was the victim of a blatant elbow to the face in a challenge from a long throw-in. He was knocked unconscious but unfortunately the Match Officials failed to see the offence.
After lengthy treatment, he couldn’t continue and was replaced by Callum Elliott. Dunston came close to a deserved equaliser in the 90th minute when Mark Fitzpatrick latched onto a flick by Scott Heslop but just as he was about to hammer home, the ball bobbled and the shot flew over. Unbelievably, in the sixth minute of stoppage time, Colls’ James Baxendale broke away to score. 2 – 0.
From the kick-off the same player gained possession to go through again and he beat Niall Harrison with a mis-hit shot into the corner of the net. 3 – 0.
Final Score: Pontefract Collieries FC 3 Dunston FC 0
Dunston line-up: Harrison, Capewell, Scott (Halliday) (Elliott C), Mouanda, Hall,Grant-Soulsby, Thear, Pearson, Heslop, Page, Brooks (Fitzpatrick).
Subs not used: Bostyan, Stafford.
Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club Man of The Match: Dan Capewell
Dan Capewell is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt: Mr. Jimmy Souley
Away shirt: Dunston UTS FA Vase Winning Team
Recovery equipment: Mr Ian Black
Match photography courtesy of Ken Fitzpatrick and Kelvin Shell (Beauty Time Photography).