Dunston get their season off to an excellent start with a well-earned 2-1 win at home to Marine AFC.
Despite trailing to an excellent Niall Cummins goal on 40 minutes, with blue shirts around him the dangerous forward caught the ball well on the half volley on the edge of the box to loop the ball past Connell, it was a first half that never really got going. However, the home side’s second half performance showed how good of a side Chris Swailes has
engineered for this season.
As clichés go, and at the demands of Tony Cleugh, who recently celebrated his 34th consecutive 21st birthday, this game could easily be described as a typical games of two halves.
Pictured above - Mark Fitzpatrick who levelled for the hosts in the 2nd half.
Dunston deservedly levelled the game on 64 minutes, as Marine’s attempts to remove the danger failed on more than one occasion, a Luke Page cross was headed away by David Raven but fell to Jake Stafford, majestically striking the ball on the volley from 25 yards out, his venomous effort rattled the cross bar and with Marine keeper Mendes seemingly perplexed as the location of the ball, and the crossbar still reverberating, last season’s top scorer Mark Fitzpatrick reacted far quicker than the Marine defenders to get to the loose ball and knock the ball back across as the scrambling defender deflected the ball into his own net. In typical centre forward style, Fitzy claimed it. “I was the only one there, so it’s mine”. Fair enough.
Above - Terry Galbraith who converted from the spot to ensure a win for the home side.
The home side were rightly awarded a penalty on 82 minutes, Liam Thear cynically pulled down in the box having skipped past three defenders like a Gazelle on a trampoline. Terry Galbraith stepped up to the spot to send the keeper the wrong way with nonchalantly taken penalty. Dunston’s second half performance merited their lead, the home side hassled and pressed endlessly throughout the second half, playing the ball on the deck created issues for Marine, who had previously coped well with aerial balls against Dunston forward line.
As much as Marine created chances towards the end, Niall Cummins going close with an overhead kick and Adam Hughes narrowly missing a sliding effort at the back post in the dying embers of an entertaining second half, Dunston were worthy winners.
Pictured above The UTS Stadium a venomous snake free environment since 1974.
Marine’s keeper Mendes was shown a red card after the game, remonstrating with the Officials, for reasons unbeknownst to most, in a performance that conjured up a moment of true comedy value for the home supporters gathered, with the keeper feigning a spectacular back injury, in which he appeared to act like a Man who had been bitten by a venomous Snake, despite John Thompson’s spectacular efforts to have the pitch looking immaculate, one can only surmise that the removal of venomous snakes from the pitch may have been neglected during a somewhat hectic week for the good people at the Club, hard working Men and Women who spend hours of their free time ensuring that The UTS Stadium is in perfect condition for what is hopefully an excellent season ahead.
Speaking to Manager Chris Swailes after the game, he had this to say on the game:
“I thought it was an excellent win against a good side who I think will be up towards the top end of the table this season”. “We’ve not trained as a group for 14 days, for obvious reasons, so to put in a performance like we did today, I’m delighted”.
“In the first half they coped with what we had, particularly up top, we’ve got options and we had two forwards sitting on the bench. The introduction of Scrappy and Brooksy changed the game. I’ve still got Michael Pearson and Mechack Kanda to come back into the squad, so competition for places wise, it’s a good position to be in”.
Club Captain Craig Scott also gave his summary on the match:
“Over the moon to get a good start, it was really important to get 3 points against Marine, who we know are a good side from last season having played them 3 times, that makes it even better for me so I’m really happy".
"It was definitely a game of two halves, I think they probably edged the first half and we never really got going, Marine deservedly went in 1-0, but second half we came alive and they never really got going, we’ve scored Fitzys goal and if Staffy had of scored that we’d have never heard the end of it to be honest, I’m pleased Fitzy scored, then obviously a great pen by Tez to make it 2-1".
“Today was one of those classic NPL games, we would’ve probably lost that one last year, but we’ve taken the learnings from last season in those gritty games, where there’s long balls and you’re heading it, it’s more of a scrap than anything else and I’m pleased that we came out on top this time”.
Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club Man of the Match
Ursene continues to impress everyone at Dunston, and it’s clear to see that the talented player is enjoying his football at the moment. You’d struggle to find a moment during the game where he was physically overpowered by an opponent, his energy, strength and intelligence were intrinsic in his side’s excellent win.
Ursene Mouanda is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt - First Mortgage NE
Away shirt -
Training kit -
Match report by Dan Whalen
Match Photography provided by Kelvin Shell at Beauty Time Photography and Ken Fitzpatrick
Match highlights courtesy of Ken Fitzpatrick at Dunston FC (subscribe to our channel on YouTube) https://www.youtube.com/c/DunstonUTSFootballClub