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West Auckland v Dunston UTS

 

Report by Billy Montague

Saturday 4th August 2018

Ebac Northern League – First Division

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Dunston UTS made the daunting trip to The Wanted Stadium to play their opening game against the much fancied West Auckland Town in the Ebac Northern League First Division on a very warm August day. Manager Chris Swailes made a surprise appearance before the game as he recovers from major knee surgery. After an encouraging pre-season, he had a full squad to choose from with the exception of new signing Aiden Haley who was on holiday. Karl Dryden, Andrew Grant-Soulsby and Liam Brooks made their debuts in the starting eleven while Jordan Nellis and Callum Little took their places among the substitutes.   

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West Auckland: Bland, Hegarty, Parker, Price, Bell, McKeown, Snaith  (Wearmouth), Dodds, Fisher, Purewal, Mitchell (Doninger). Subs not used: Colquhoun, Coulson, Connor.

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Dunston UTS: Dryden, Marrs, Halliday, Stafford, Grant-Soulsby, Hall, Thear L (Heslop), Pearson, Fitzpatrick,

Brooks (Nellis), Elliott J. Subs not used: Capewell, Elliott C, Little.

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Dunston made a blistering start even though they were kicking against the slope of the pitch. They were quicker to the ball and seemed more determined in the tackle in the opening exchanges. Their first chance came on five minutes after some great passing play between Mark Fitzpatrick and Jack Elliott saw the ball fed to Liam Thear on the right. He cut inside of his marker before lashing a low shot which drew an outstanding diving save from West keeper Shane Bland. This set the pattern of play until the 16th minute when the home side finally produced a chance but Dunston keeper Karl Dryden made a comfortable save to gather a Lewis Dodds effort from the edge of the box. On 19 minutes Liam Thear released Liam Marrs on the right and when he sent over a telling cross Mark Fitzpatrick got on the end but keeper Bland rushed from his goal to block the header.

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Two minutes later West’s Nathan Fisher set up Adam Mitchell but he sent his shot high and wide of Dryden’s goal. In the 25th minute Dunston should have taken the lead when Fitzpatrick fed Jack Elliott into the home box on the right. After a brilliant weaving run past four defenders took him to the near post, Elliott squared back to Fitzpatrick whose close-range effort was somehow blocked by Bland. Dunston continued to dominate proceedings with the midfield and back-four stifling any attempts by the home side to get last season’s League top scorer Nathan Fisher into threatening positions. Dunston wide men, Jack Elliott and Liam Thear were constantly switching flanks and were asking questions of the West back line. Clever link-up play between Fitzpatrick and Liam Brooks in the 36th minute saw the latter release Liam Thear into the right corner of the box.

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He confidently beat his marker before slamming in a low shot which was heading for the bottom corner of the net until Bland went full-length to superbly turn the ball round the post. Just before the break Fitzpatrick burst through the home rearguard but was jostled and failed to get his shot on target.

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Half-Time Score:  West Auckland  0   Dunston UTS  0

 

Despite being the better side in the first-half, Dunston had nothing to show for their efforts but they came out determined to rectify that after the break. In the 46th minute Jack Elliott was fouled on the right flank and when Liam Marrs swung over a perfect free-kick, Mark Fitzpatrick was inches away from converting with the keeper all at sea. In the next minute Elliott made another mazy run before sending an angled drive agonisingly close to the top corner. In the 49th minute Elliott was involved again following a corner when he cleverly beat his man and sent over a great cross which found Andy Grant-Soulsby at the far post but his volley whipped narrowly past the post.

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Dunston kept up the pressure and on 53 minutes a determined run by captain Dan Halliday took him into the West box where he got on the end of a brilliant Elliott cross. He looked a certain scorer but his bullet header drew another outstanding save from keeper Bland who managed to parry the ball to safety. West almost cashed in on this escape at the other end when only a superb clearing header by Liam Marrs averted the danger from an Anthony Bell free-kick. On 61 minutes Dunston went close again when the ball fell nicely to Mark Fitzpatrick just inside of the home box but his shot on the turn scraped just past the angle with Bland beaten. The play was now more even with West always dangerous on the break-away. The introduction of substitutes Arran Wearmouth and Mark Doninger had given them more options but the Dunston defence was always in control.

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On 77 minutes Dunston should have grabbed the lead when some excellent build-up play on the right saw substitute Jordan Nellis receive the ball unmarked on the penalty spot. He possibly had “too much time” but instead of hammering home, he hesitated a little allowing keeper Bland to block bravely. The ball squirted up and when Nellis shot goalwards, Anthony Bell got back to clear off the line. Dunston were not to be denied and on 81 minutes they mounted another determined attack through the middle and when the West defence struggled to clear defender Thomas Price clearly handled the ball in the box. Mark Fitzpatrick stepped up to confidently convert the spot-kick. 0 – 1.

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West Auckland  Town

Mark Fitzpatrick makes it 1-0 to Dunston UTS

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The goal was well deserved but Dunston almost paid the price for numerous missed scoring opportunities when the home side pressed for an equaliser late-on. In the 84th minute, the ball found its way to the feet of the ever-dangerous Nathan Fisher 25-yards from goal. He unleashed a low power-drive which took a wicked deflection that sent the ball towards the opposite corner of the goal and only a superb reaction by Dunston keeper Karl Dryden allowed him to save the effort with his feet. After this escape the whole Dunston team put in a determined effort to ensure that there were no more chances of relinquishing the points.  

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Full-Time Score:  West Auckland  0   Dunston UTS  1

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Dunston’s Man of the Match: Jack Elliott – Jack’s pace, trickery and shear hard work meant that the West Auckland defence and midfield had a very busy afternoon. Every member of the Dunston team and squad were a credit to the Club and gave their utmost in what was a well deserved win which, in truth, could have been by a much greater margin. Win, lose or draw, as long as our players give of their best, we will have no complaints. It’s a great start lads. Early days but it shows our potential.

Jack Elliott man of the match

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Video highlights  

 






 
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