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Dunston 2
Pearson (71'), Trialist (82')
2 Dartford
Unknown (26', 47')

REPORT | Dunston UTS 2-2 Dartford FC

Dunston hosted Dartford FC in very wet conditions for their third game of pre-season. This was the first game at the UTS Stadium this Summer. Famous faces were a plenty with Martin Tyler and Peter Beardsley both in attendance.

Dunston started strong and had a chance within the first minute when Luke Carr’s attempt from distance went over the top. Sado Djalo then tried his luck from the edge of the box in the third minute, but his attempt was dragged wide. Dunston continued to apply pressure in the opening stages with new signing Chris McDonald’s curling effort saved by Bonny in the Dartford net. Dartford started to grow into the game following a bright start from the home side and the first clear-cut opportunity went the away side’s way with Luke Coulson getting in behind McDonald forcing Matty Cassap into a save.

Halfway through the first half Dale Pearson picked up a booking and after a delay through injury the resulting free kick led to the first goal of the game. Altinop the scorer, to put the visitors 1-0 up with a header. Following the goal Dartford remained on top and looked to add to their lead in the 33rd minute when the ball pinballed around Dunston’s area before going out for a goal kick.

Dunston looked for a way back into the game in the 39th minute through Pearson, who fired the ball across the box before it was cleared. Five minutes later it was Pearson looking to make things happen once again when he tried his luck from long distance with the keeper in no man’s land, but his attempt went just wide. On the stroke of half time Cassap was forced into another save after Altinop went through on goal, but the Dunston keeper’s hand was enough to force Altinop wide who cannoned his second attempt off the post.

Dartford started the second half the same way they finished the first and were on the front foot straight away after a curling free kick resulted in a corner to the visitors. The resulting corner led to the award of another, which was turned in by Dartford to double their lead in the 47th minute. The away side were looking for a third moments later when their number nine beat the offside trap before dragging his shot wide. After a host of changes for both sides Dunston looked to be growing back into the game and the home side pulled a goal back in the 71st minute when Pearson met Craig Baxter’s cross making it 2-1.

Moments later Dartford nearly found a third when Cassap came out and headed clear but only as far as a Dartford player who tried their luck from distance but fired over the bar. As the game entered the closing stages Dunston continued to look for an equaliser. The next chance fell to David Robinson who fired wide. In the 78th minute Dartford’s number nine blazed a shot well over the bar into the car park.

Carr had looked lively throughout the game and in the 80th minute he forced an excellent save from Dartford’s substitute goalkeeper. Two minutes later Dunston were on the attack once again and found their equaliser through Jordan Lamb following good work from Pearson.

Both sides were looking for a winner in the final five minutes and Cassap was up to the task once again as he denied Dartford the lead. Pearson was causing the Dartford defence all sorts of problems through the middle in the second half, and he created another chance for himself in the 90th minute but his shot was deflected wide before the referee deemed there to be no time left for a corner.

Another 90 minutes in the bag for Jon McDonald’s side who fought back in treacherous conditions to claim a draw in their first home pre-season game.

Written by Callum Jacques

Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Friday 14th July 2023