Match report: Dunston UTS FC vs Sheffield FC
Match report by Dom Bingham
Dunston bounced back from a succession of disappointing home defeats by beating struggling Sheffield by 3 goals to 1 under the floodlights at the UTS Stadium. Two Liam ‘Scrappy’ Thear goals and a late Luke Porritt header gave the hosts all three points, avenging Sheffield’s victory when the two sides met earlier in the season.
The first chance of the game came via a long throw from the visitors. The ball into the box was cleared only as far as centre half Jamie Robinson, but his effort was tame and easily saved by Liam Connell. Another long throw needed Connell’s attention shortly after, with the Dunston stopper saving well from a Manasse Kianga header, the away side having the better of the opening proceedings.
Dunston's first chance came from a corner. Jake Stafford drilled in, and Craig Scott saw a goal bound header tipped superbly over by Ryan Musselwhite. Richard Coulson had a glorious chance for 1-0, Craig Scott this time receiving the ball and turning in the box, before crossing in low for Coulson who could only put over the bar.
Sheffield had the ball in the net shortly before half time. An eye of the needle through ball by James Baxendale found Kianga. The winger split the defence, crossed in low for Marc Newsham and the frontman turned home, however his celebrations were waved away by the officials with the flag raised by the linesman for offside.
Despite having more chances, Sheffield would be made to pay as it was Dunston who had the final say of the first half. After Jake Stafford saw a shot saved by Musselwhite, the next attack proved more deadly. Jack Elliott picked up the ball, burst down the left wing and crossed for Liam Thear at the back post who smashed home to give Dunston the lead at the interval.
It was nearly a superb start to the second half. Just moments into the half, Jake Turnbull drove down the line and delivered a delightful ball in, but Michael Fowler’s header went over on the spin. Sheffield came close when Kianga bent a shot over from the edge of the box, and midway through the half, Connell was called into action again, this time saving low from a header to keep the lead in tact.
Dunston knew they needed to get some breathing space, and nearly made it 2-0 when a corner was headed onto their own bar by a Sheffield defender. Dunston eventually did grab their second with around twenty minutes to play. The ball found it’s way to substitute Lee Mason, who hooked the ball across goal to Thear who planted a bullet header home past Musselwhite to double the advantage.
Despite the momentum for the hosts, Sheffield hit back instantly. The lively Kianga took on the back line at the edge of the box and laid a ball across goal which James Baxendale lashed home from six yards out into the top corner to get his side back into the game.
With the atmosphere getting nervy, the game was made safe late on when Dunston restored their two-goal advantage. A flowing counterattack which was started by Michael Fowler saw Liam Thear drive forward with the ball. He switched it wide to Turnbull who laid off Mason. Mason swung in to the unmarked Porritt who was able to head home unchallenged for 3-1 much to the away teams frustration, with cries of offside from the visiting camp.