Dunston UTS FC vs Hartlepool Utd - Match report.
Hartlepool Utd went into the game with plenty to prove to Manager Dave Challinor, following a series of poor results against lower league opposition. In truth the visitors put on a dominant display in front a good crowd at the UTS Stadium. From the off, Pools looked to put pressure on Dunston and eventually opened the scoring after 7 minutes through Olufela Olomola, the former Southampton trainee getting on the end of a Josh McDonald cross, his effort crossing the line despite the best efforts of Liam Connell.
During the opening stages of the encounter, the ball spent most it’s time in and around Dunston’s half and it had been one way traffic in favour of the visitors.
Dunston’s first chance of the game came through Michael Pearson, his attempted chip rising just over the bar, minutes later Pearson had the ball in the net, only to be adjudged off-side.
Hartlepool’s concerted pressure paid further dividends as Mark Shelton extended the lead. Picking up on a loose ball he fired his effort inside the far post from the edge of the area.
On 28 minutes Josh McDonald was tripped in the box and the referee awarded the penalty. Shelton stepped up and coolly slotted past Connell to make it 3-0 to Hartlepool with only 34 minutes on the clock.
3 minutes later, Pool’s youngster Harry Close, who impressed throughout on his first senior start, added to the scoring. With arguably the goal of the game, he cut inside and sent his rasping shot in into the far corner as it cannoned in off the inside of the post.
Liam Connell was to thank twice before the interval with a string of heroic saves as the two sides headed into half time with the score at 4-0 to Hartlepool following a dominant first half display by The League 2 side..
With the score-line heavily stacked in Hartlepool’s favour, they could allow themselves to be tested defensively and attack on the break. The visitors looked in full control of the game, but to Dunston's credit they never stopped chasing and trying to get something from the game. Connell was on hand multiple times to deny Hartlepool any further goals and it was a better second half performance from Chris Swailes’ side.
On 74 minutes Hartlepool added a fifth; although there was much debate as to who actually scored, a short corner found Shelton on the edge of the box, his cross come shot finding the net via a Harry Close deflection.
Hartlepool controlled the closing stages of the game as the final score ended Dunston UTS FC 0 Hartlepool United 5
The game was always going to be a stern test for Dunston. Hartlepool United’s players had much to prove going into life back in The Football League and it was a dominant display from the professional side.
Match day photography courtesy of Beauty Time Photography