REPORT | Dunston UTS 2-5 Gateshead
Dunston welcomed Gateshead to the UTS Stadium on a chilly Tuesday evening, with the visitors making the very short trip for a Durham FA ‘Frank Pattison’ Challenge Cup first round clash. The Heed came with a Starting XI mixed with five first team players, as well as six youth players. These youth players included Dunston’s very own Matty Cassap, who started between the sticks for Mike Williamson’s side. Jon McDonald also chose to rotate for the game, with key players such as Craig Baxter, Phil Turnbull & Sado Djalo all starting on the bench.
Dunston started strongly with a couple of early chances. The best coming from Dale Pearson, who smashed a powerful effort towards goal from outside the area, but it was well tipped over the bar by Matty Cassap. Gateshead had their first chance not long after, as Chadwick capitalised on a misplaced pass in the Dunston midfield and burst away, lashing an effort over the bar from twenty-five yards.
Gateshead began to assert their dominance on the game, with veterans Louis Storey and Carl Magnay controlling the game from the back and getting a lot of the ball. This dominance was rewarded, as former Birtley Town centre forward Aidan Rutledge opened the scoring after twenty-one minutes. Chadwick played the ball into his feet in the box, and Rutledge produced a good finish on the spin into the bottom corner of Graeme Pickering’s net.
There was a debut for Dunston not long before half-time, as former Newcastle United youth player Harry Barclay came on for the injured Josh King, slotting in at right-back. Moments later, Dunston were level. Richard Coulson fired a ball into Dale Pearson, who’s unbelievable first touch took him away from Magnay and he expertly slotted it into the bottom corner.
A solid first half of football came to a close, with both sides getting on the scoresheet. The second half started quietly, with Dunston predominantly the better side for the first fifteen minutes. But Dunston couldn’t capitalise on this, with substitute Luke Carr having the best chance with an effort from a narrow angle in the box being deflected wide for a corner.
Rutledge had Gateshead’s first chance of the second forty-five, as his dancing feet in the box allowed him to get a shot off, but it was deflected wide. Minutes later, Gateshead regained their lead through Billy Chadwick. Chadwick danced his way past multiple Dunston defenders in the penalty area, and squeezed a shot through the legs of Jude Swailes and into the bottom corner.
Things went from bad to worse for Jon McDonald’s side, as Billy Chadwick grabbed his brace less than ten minutes later, with a well placed left footed finish that hit the bottom right corner of the Dunston net once again. Only moments later, it was almost 4-1, as Jude Swailes misplaced a back pass which Graeme Pickering only just kept out his net with a sliding clearance.
Aidan Rutledge decided that his one goal wasn’t enough, as he quickly found himself with a hat-trick during the last ten minutes. His second goal was by far the best of the night, as he produced a ridiculous bit of footwork outside the penalty area, before curling an absolute beauty into the top left corner, which Pickering could only dream of getting near. His third was slightly less spectacular, as the Heed skipper absolutely leathered a back post tap-in into the roof of the net.
Dunston refused to give up despite the four-goal deficit, as in stoppage time they grabbed a second goal. Jordan Lamb was played through on goal and slotted it passed Matty Cassap for a late consolation. The final whistle game soon after, and Dunston were knocked out of the Durham FA Challenge Cup, which they reached the semi-finals of last season.