REPORT | Dunston UTS 1 North Shields 1
The spoils were shared at The UTS Stadium as North Shields inflicted late heartache on Dunston. Sado Djalo’s stunning volley had put Dunston ahead inside the first 25 minutes. Robin’s left back Chris McDonald found a very late equaliser for the visitors in second half stoppage time.
It was a fairly quiet opening to the game as both sides could only muster up half chances in the opening 20 minutes. There was a half chance for Shield’s skipper Connor Oliver but, he was only able to shank his shot well wide. David Robinson also came close for The Robins as his effort from six yards out was skied.
It took Dunston 24 minutes to see their first real opening in front of goal and it resulted in the deadlock being broken through an excellently worked goal. Jack Elliott burst down the left-hand side and delivered a perfect cross for Sado Djalo who emphatically volleyed the ball into the roof of the net.
The visitors responded well after going a goal down and came close to levelling on 32 minutes. Some good link-up play between Dan Wilson and Callum Larmouth saw the former spin inside the box strike the ball on the turn, only for Staples to make the stop.
Dunston continued to soak up the pressure and were let off again five minutes later as a headed effort from Larmouth was once again saved by Dan Staples between the sticks.
It got even edgier for Dunston moments later as a dangerous corner from Connor Oliver caused all kinds of problems. The ball ricocheted around the six-yard box before Jack Camarda was able to hook the ball away and out of danger.
Just on half-time Dunston had a glorious chance to double their lead through Will Jenkins. The South Shields loanee weaved his way through multiple challenges with the ball glued to his foot before prodding a toe poked effort inches wide of the far post.
Just four minutes into the second half and Dunston came close again to doubling their advantage. Djalo and Dale Pearson linked up well before the ball was laid off to Jake Jensen on the edge of the box. Unfortunately, the first-time shot was always rising over the crossbar.
Dunston continued to search for a second goal and Will Jenkins came so close to scoring a goal of the season contender. A miss-kick from Djalo skewed into the direction of Jenkins, who rose off his feet and sent an overhead kick whistling past the post.
On 70 minutes, it was Dale Pearson’s turn to come close. A marauding run forwards from the frontman troubled the Shields’ defence before a slight bobble of the ball saw Pearson strike his effort early, only to be saved by Aaron Stevens.
With ten minutes left to play, Phil Turnbull fizzed a low free kick into the box from deep. Craig Scott headed the ball back across goal where Pearson was just inches away from connecting with a header that would have burst the back of the net.
Despite Dunston having chances to kill the game off, the visitors never give in and piled the pressure on in the final ten minutes.
Ultimately, the pressure paid off and it was late heartache for Dunston as left back Chris McDonald drove forwards, cut onto his right foot, and struck the ball past Staples into the bottom corner from outside the box.
That was to be the last meaningful moment of the game as the late equaliser prevented Dunston from coming away with the three points. Next up is a crucial game in the play-off race as we make the trip to Stocksbridge Park Steels who currently sit in 4th place, just two points ahead of us.
Report by Callum Pattison