REPORT | Stocksbridge Park Steels 2-2 Dunston UTS
Liam Thear opened the scoring in the first half with a thundering effort into the top corner, before he doubled his sides lead in the second half after lobbing the goalkeeper from 40 yards out.
But Charlie Wood got his side back into it on 87 minutes, before scoring again deep in added time to salvage a point for his side.
After two weeks without a game, Dunston welcomed back Jude Swailes to the starting lineup after a period out following a concussion sustained against Stockton Town. Will Jenkins started his three game suspension after his red against Brighouse Town.
After a quiet opening period in horrendous conditions, Dunston’s first opportunity came the way of Thear. Carl Finnigan flicked on a through ball delightfully and Thear raced through on goal, but his effort was saved well by Steels keeper Ben Townsend.
On 26 minutes, Dunston came close again. A corner found it’s way to Thear who poked the ball towards Jude Swailes, but the centre half fired narrowly wide.
Dan Staples had his first call to action shortly after, but he was more than equal to Kurtis Turners long-range effort.
Dunston were awarded a penalty on 33 minutes after Thear was upended in the box. After a lengthy delay, Dale Pearson stepped up but his effort was brilliantly saved by Townsend down to his left, which kept the scores level.
Dunston were well in the ascendency though, and did grab a deserved goal just before the break. Thear picked the ball up on the edge of the box, spun his marker with ease and lashed home a thunderous strike into the top corner to give his side the lead at half-time.
Much like the first half, the opening quarter was a quiet affair. Stocksbrige however were gifted a chance to equalise on 59 minutes as they were awarded a penalty for a handball in the box.
Ify Ofoegbu stepped up for Steels, but Staples made a superb save down low to his left to keep Dunston in the lead.
And that penalty save looked to be crucial as just two minutes later, Dunston made it 2-0 on the counter attack. The ball was played forward and found it’s way to Thear, who audaciously lobbed Townsend from 40 yards out. A real goal of the season contender and a finish that put Dunston in real control of the tie.
Stocksbridge started to up the anti, and threw everything at Dunston to try and get back into the game.
Staples pulled off a remarkable double save on 82 minutes to keep the two goal lead in-tact, both of which were from point blank range.
But, Steels refused to give up and pulled a goal back through Wood with three minutes to play. A real scrappy goal which saw the striker seemingly bundle the ball into the net to give his side hope.
And deep into added time, Dunston blew their lead. A long ball into the box wasn’t cleared and Wood was able to worm his way into a position to get a shot away, managing to fire home into the bottom corner to salvage his side a point.
A hugely disappointing ending, with Dunston unable to make ground on their hosts as the playoff race continues to throw up more twists and turns.