REPORT | Dunston UTS 1-1 Stockton Town
Dunston claimed vital point at home to Stockton Town in a highly entertaining encounter between two teams looking to strengthen their playoff credentials.
Dale Pearson got his first goal for the club mid-way through the first half to give Dunston the lead, but Stockton equalised through Elliott Beddow just before the break to level the scores and earn his side a point.
Pearson made his second full-debut for Dunston, whilst Michael Pearson returned to captain the side after recovering from an injury. Craig Scott also returned to the squad after serving his suspension for the red card sustained in the 2-0 defeat to Long Eaton United earlier in the month.
Dunston made a fast start and could have been ahead within the first minute. Liam Thear laid off Craig Baxter down the right wing and his low cross was turned goal wards by Dale Pearson, but Stockton’s Lewis McDonald saved well with his feet.
The Anchors also nearly had the lead early on when Stephen Thompson drove an audacious lob from the halfway line over James Anderson who was off his line, but the effort fell narrowly wide.
Elliott Beddow next came close for the hosts, and his driving run ended with his effort being well held by Anderson on a bobbly surface.
On 24 minutes, there was a flurry of huge chances for Dunston after a succession of corners. A corner was met by Jude Swailes, but his goal bound effort was cleared off the line. The follow up landed at the feet of Terry Galbraith, but his effort was deflected onto the bar and then cleared. Moments later, Dale Pearson was played on goal, but stretching he could only stab his effort over the bar.
And Dunston’s first half pressure was finally rewarded on 30 minutes. Dale Pearson capitalised on some poor defending to steal the ball, hold off the defender and pick his spot as he neatly slotted past McDonald into the bottom corner to give Dunston the lead.
Anderson was called into action again as he pulled off a fine save towards the end of the half to deny Thompson who powered a volley from the edge of the box. Jude Swailes put his body on the line to stop the follow up, and after a nasty collision went off injured.
And this stoppage rocked Dunston as Beddow got the visitors level, looping an effort home on 45 minutes after Anderson had stopped his original effort, despite the best efforts of Jon Shaw to keep the second shot out. It may well have gone down as a Jon Shaw own goal.
It was a much quieter start to the second half, but Dunston had a good chance to retake the lead on 62 minutes after Will Jenkins was played through on goal but his effort was pushed aside by McDonald, who continued to be the busier goalkeeper.
And it was so nearly 2-1 on 75 minutes when Dale Pearson turned his marker brilliantly to fire off a shot on goal, but McDonald was again equal to it.
Despite both sides giving it everything in the final minutes, neither side could find a breakthrough as both defences held resolute, with chances being at a bare minimum in a second half which never really got going.
It could prove a vital point for both come the end of the season, and the result sees Dunston and Stockton both stay in the playoff positions.