Dunston UTS vs West Auckland Town
Saturday 2nd March 2019
Ebac Northern League Division 1

Match Sponsors: First Mortgage (NE) and Belle Vue FC

Match report by: Danny Whalen.
Dunston UTS official mascot: Charles Wilson

Dunston UTS move ten points clear at the top as rivals falter. Today’s match, kindly sponsored by First Mortgage (NE) and Belle Vue FC, sees current Ebac Northern League 1st Division leaders Dunston UTS welcome West Auckland Town to the UTS Stadium.

The home side are currently on a seven game winning streak and will be out to put the disappointment of Tuesday nights defeat to South Shields in The Durham FA Challenge Cup behind them as they look to continue their fine form going into the final stretch of the season.

Visitors West Auckland have endured a mixed bag of results recently, without a league win in their last 4 games they recently exited the FA Vase at the Quarter Final stage in a 0-2 loss at home to Chertsey Town. Dunston UTS and West Auckland have met twice already this season, Dunston UTS won 1-0 on the opening day of the season however West Auckland eliminated the reigning Northern League Cup holders from the same competition with a 2-0 win at The Wanted Stadium back in October .

Team line ups.
Dunston UTS FC: Dryden, Marrs, Halliday (C), Stafford, Grant-Soulsby, Capewell, J Elliott (Jackson), Pearson, Fitzpatrick, Heslop (Nellis). Subs not used: C Elliott, Haley, Scott.

West Auckland Town FC: Bland, Cobain, Price, Colquhoun (Mitchell), Hunter, Portas (Bell), Francis, Dodds(C), Purewal, Burnicle, Heaney (Wearmouth). Subs not used: Snaith, Dowson.

Dunston UTS kick off the first half towards The Car Park End, the opening effort falls to Scott Heslop in the first minute, his effort is saved by West’s keeper Shane Bland with the rebound falling to Liam Brooks, West Aucklands Chris Hunter bravely throws himself at the shot to superbly block the effort off the goal line. The corner sees a Dan Capewell header go wide of the West Auckland goal. Michael Pearson hits an effort wide a minute later; the opportunity crafted by Jake Stafford and Scott Heslop, as Dunston look to put their opponents under pressure from the off. Jack Elliott shows great vision to pick out forward Mark Fitzpatrick for Dunston UTS out wide with a superbly lofted ball, Fitzpatrick plays the ball across the box for Liam Brooks sliding in which Bland forces away for West.

The home side have started brightly but are forced into making a substitution on 9 minutes, Scott Heslop going down awkwardly is unable to continue any further part in the game and is replaced up front by Jordan Nellis. West try to get into the game and force two corners, however the Dunston UTS back line look solid in dealing with set piece attacks as they nullify the danger and look to quickly break out on the counter with the pace of Jack Elliott.

A Dunston UTS penalty claim is waived away by referee Sam Packer on 21 minutes, Jack Elliott  swings a ball into the box and Fitzpatrick goes down goes down under a challenge in what appears to be a push in the back, however the Referee instantly waives away the appeal. Liam Brooks sees his effort go wide on 22 minutes with the home side having carved out the Lions share of attacking opportunities, however West Auckland remain resolute. Brooks is once again in amongst the action, using his strength against West Aucklands Thomas Price to force a throw in. Liam Marrs plays the ball to Michael Pearson who sees his effort go wide.

An intelligent through ball by Jake Stafford picks out Fitzpatrick who lashes a shot at the West Auckland goal, Bland is on hand once again for West as he fists the ball away, Jordan Nellis is deemed offside in the follow up. West Auckland are a physical side and look to get the ball down and play with patient build ups but are yet to carve out any clear goal scoring opportunities in the first 30 minutes of play. Former Newcastle United youth player MacKenzie Heaney registers the away sides first real effort of the game, with Dan Halliday missing a tackle, Heaney races off down the wing, his close control and step overs result in a tame effort as his left footed shot is collected by Karl Dryden. The game has gone end to end in a well fought encounter, with neither side have been able to take the lead; news filters through to the home crowd that Dunston UTS’s nearest rivals Bishop Auckland are 0-3 down at home to bottom of the table Penrith. Shaun Bland is to the rescue for the visitors yet again, as a Brooks cross finds Fitzpatrick, his header from 6 yards out is excellently saved by the keeper.

West Auckland hit Dunston UTS on the break from a free kick, Amar Purewal has the ball taken off his toes on the edge of the box by Jake Stafford, with the West Auckland forward seemingly poised to shoot. Jack Elliott pulls up clutching his hamstring string but carries on, moments later Dan Halliday goes down with knee trouble, the soft top surface of the pitch and the physical attrition taking its toll on the players. Jake Stafford commits yet another superb tackle on Purewal to avert any danger from attack with 2 minutes remaining of the 1st half. The Dunston UTS midfield man finds himself in the Referees book in injury time for a mistimed tackle on James Cobain.

Half time score: Dunston UTS - 0 West Auckland Town - 0.

Dunston UTS come out unchanged for the second half,  West Auckland deciding to replace Mackenzie Heaney for Arran Wearmouth up front. In the opening minutes of the second half Fitzpatrick breaks down line for the home side, his over hit cross into the box is picked up by Jack Elliott whose pass to Pearson on the edge of the box sees the midfielders effort go out for a corner which Dunston UTS are unable to take advantage of. Just as is it was in the first half, the second half is end to and and the game continues to be played at a high tempo with both sides looking equal in a physical encounter. Dunston UTS have contained West Aucklands forward line in a resolute display of solidity. Shane Bland pulls off another great save, this time at his near post, Fitzpatrick’s effort denied following a dangerous attack that saw Brooks and Pearson combine will to create the opportunity. At the other end Karl Dryden is called into action saving from a low drilled James Cobain shot at his near post. West decide to substitute Ross Colquhoun for Adam Mitchell on 58, moments later Nellis sees his appeal for a Dunston UTS penalty ignored by the official as he goes down under a challenge in the box.

Michael Pearson is fouled having battled away in the middle of park, a free kick from 35 yds out is  floated in by Liam Marrs which Bland collects comfortably. Liam Brooks, on the break away,  plays a great ball up the line to Fitzpatrick, his clever flick around his marker plays in Jordan Nellis who flashes the ball across goal but fortunately for West there is no Dunston UTS shirts in the box to capitalise. The break through eventually comes on 63 minutes, Liam Marrs picks out Mark Fitzpatrick wide right of the West Auckland goal, the forward controls well before cutting inside and superbly  curling a left footed shot into far side of the net with a slight deflection from the head of a West Auckland player. Dunston UTS - 1. West Auckland Town - 0.

Chris Swailes replaces Jack Elliott for Cieran Jackson as West Auckland kick off. On 65 minutes a ball out from defence from Jake Stafford picks out Jordan Nellis in the box, his shot is hit over the bar. Lewis Dodds is trying to carve something out of the game for West Auckland but is frustrated by an unwavering Dunston UTS defence. West Auckland make their final substitution of the game on 72 minutes, replacing Tom Portas with Anthony Bell who makes his first appearance for the club since August following a back injury. Cieran Jackson hits first time shot at the West Auckland goal,  Liam Brooks having worked the  ball well out wide on the right to deliver the cross. Soon after Jackson hits another shot over the bar from the edge of box, this time the opportunity is crafted in the middle by Stafford and Pearson Jordan Nellis is fouled 20 yds out, the free kick from Liam Marrs sailing over the West Auckland crossbar. Cieran Jackson is in amongst the action again, deftly intercepting a misplaced Alex Francis pass, he runs through an array of skilful  footwork only to be repelled by West’s keeper Shane Bland.

Dunston UTS, despite a good spell of attacking pressure, are still marginally ahead. With West sensing that they are still in the game, Liam Marrs defiantly cuts out a corner at the other end to maintain the home sides lead. Dunston UTS have dropped deeper with 10 minutes to go, sensing they can hit with pace on the break the home sides defence looks solid; West attempt to push for an equaliser. Pearson, Brooks and Stafford all tracking back for the current league leaders in order to seal victory. Jordan Nellis hits a shot over on 84 and on 86 minutes he goes down under a challenge, seemingly in on goal, having beaten the full back the referee waives away the appeal. Dunston UTS look to hit long balls upfield to the on running Nellis and Fitzpatrick who look to link up and finish game. West Auckland sub Anthony Bell sees his free kick collected by Dryden in the closing stages of the game as  he collects the ball under no challenge.

Brooks for Dunston UTS wins a corner by cleverly shielding the ball well from the full back, the ball played in finds Fitzpatrick whose shot is blocked, Pearson with a curling effort from outside of the box is  taken by Bland. At the other end Karl Dryden pulls off a fine save in injury time from West’s Chris Hunter. A Liam Marrs’ pass finds Jake Stafford who lofts an excellent ball to Fitzpatrick who in turn brings in Pearson,  Pearson’s resulting effort is scrambled away by West as the referee draws a close to the game.

Final score: Dunston UTS - 1 (Fitzpatrick). West Auckland - 0. ​

Dunston UTS have now moved 10 points clear at the top of The Ebac Northern League 1st Division with a win over West Auckland as nearest challengers Bishop Auckland surprisingly lost 3-5 at home to bottom side Penrith. Consett lost 0-3 away to Shildon which all but ends their title ambitions. With a game in hand on Tuesday night against Ryhope CW, four wins from their remaining eight fixtures will secure the league title for Dunston UTS.

Dunston UTS Man of the Match: There were plenty of contenders out there today as the home side put in yet another gritty performance in an end to end physical encounter. Dunston UTS’s defence managed the game well to keep West Auckland at bay and were augmented by the relentless work rate of the midfielders. Liam Marrs put in yet another solid performance, he ensured that very few attacks went past him and was always positive in looking to play the ball forward to create attacks.

Attendance 288

Video Highlights

Next Game... 5th March 2019, NL Division One, Dunston UTS v Ryhope CW, 7:30pm