Dunston completed their pre-season with a superb performance against Morpeth Town at The UTS Stadium on Friday night. A Scott Heslop brace and two penalty saves from Dunston keeper Liam Connell gave Chris Swailes’ side an impressive 2-1 win, in an action packed end to end encounter and against a side much fancied to be at the top end of The Pitching In Northern Premier League come the end of the season.
“The Peth” went into the game in fine form, with 6 wins out of 6, whilst the home side’s pre-season fixtures had produced a mixed bag of results.
Chris Swailes was without the services of Mark Fitzpatrick, Michael Pearson and Captain Craig Scott, but no doubt after much deliberation during pre-season, tactically and formation wise, the Dunston manager was delighted with his side’s performance.
Speaking to Dan Halliday after the game, “I doubt many would’ve fancied us to get a result against Morpeth, but we’ve raised our game tonight and we needed to”.
Dunston started the game full of energy and purpose, with Liam Brooks twice going close, Scott Heslop flashing one wide and Jack Elliott just unable to connect with Dan Halliday cross, all in the opening 20 minutes.
Mechack Kanda made an impressive debut for Dunston, his strength and energy, alongside Jake Stafford in the middle, was instrumental in preventing Morpeth from controlling the game.
The hosts opened the scoring on 32 minutes through Heslop, played into space by a Jake Stafford free kick, which caught the Morpeth full back off guard, he lifted a delightful shot from the edge of the box over the head of advancing Peth keeper Dan Lowson, the ball nestling into the bottom corner.
Morpeth were given a chance from the penalty spot, Michael Hall mistiming a challenge on Liam Henderson as the referee instantly pointed to the spot. Liam Noble stepped up but was denied as Liam Connell athletically dived the right way.
Morpeth did equalise right on the cusp of half time, a rapid move down the wing saw Liam Henderson finding Andrew Johnson who fired his shot into the bottom corner of the net, seconds later the ref blew for the break.
Morpeth came out in the second half looking to dictate the tempo, their slick one touch passing will cause a problem for a lot of sides this season, however Dunston pressed constantly in the middle of the park and were far more organised defensively that what had been offered in games previously.
Dunston took the lead with on the 75th minute, Galbraith delivering a dangerous corner saw Heslop bullet his header on goal, despite a fine reaction save from Lowson, the ball edged off his glove and looped into the back of the net.
There was drama in the final minutes of the game, as the referee once again pointed to the spot. Noble again stepped up, his spot kick too close to the keeper, as Connell timed his dive perfectly and ensured a fine win for the home side.