Dunston UTS vs Whickham FC

Saturday 23rd February 2019

Ebac Northern League Division 1

Match Sponsor: Union Electric Åkers

Match report by: Danny Whalen


Dunston UTS welcome near neighbours Whickham FC to the UTS Stadium. Today’s game will be the first time the two sides have met at The UTS Stadium in a Ebac Northern League Division 1 fixture since 1997. The hosts are currently on a seven game winning streak and find themselves sitting at the top of the league table, fours points ahead of second placed Bishop Auckland with a game in hand. Dunston UTS won the reverse fixture at The Glebe in a tightly contested 2-1 win back in November. In head to heads between the two sides Dunston UTS have a far superior record. Since 1992 the two sides have met eight times in the Northern League, Dunston UTS having recorded victory over their neighbours on seven separate occasions, with one draw between the two, Whickham are yet to register a league win against Dunston UTS.


Today’s visitors find themselves second from bottom of The Ebac Northern League 1st Division in what has been a difficult season following an absence of 25 years. Whickham have a host of former Dunston UTS players amongst their ranks, former club captain Dale Burrell switched to the Lang Jacks at the start of the season, his last major contribution seeing him score the winning goal and lift the Northern League Cup for Dunston UTS back in August. However, Whickham will be without his services today as he completes a 3 game suspension. A player who needs no introduction will be Andrew Bulford, the veteran striker is Dunston UTS’s all time leading goalscorer and etched himself into Dunston UTS folklore with a brace at Wembley in The FA Vase final victory in 2012. Since leaving Dunston UTS he has had spells with South Shields and Ashington before joining Whickham last season, his goals were instrumental in their promotion season and his last minute winner against Penrith last weekend secured a much needed 3 points in a bottom of the table clash. Dan Lowther, Kelvin Thear and Scott Martindale have all had spells at The UTS Stadium recently whilst Mark Fitzpatrick and Jack Elliott both made the switch from Whickham to Dunston.


Team line-ups.

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


Whickham FC: Tsapalos, Oliver, Henley, Little, Martin (Cowburn), Grieve, Peareth (C), Scroggins (Lowther), Stevens (Pattison), Bulford, Orrell. Subs not used: Paxton, Scott.


Match Officials - Referee: Martin Conroy (Peterlee) Asst’s: Kieron Downey (Sunderland) Adam Nichol (Ashington).


Dunston kick off towards the car park end. The first chance of the game comes from a Dunston UTS free kick on the edge of the box taken by Liam Marrs on 5 minutes which is punched away by Whickham keeper Tsapalos. Whickham’s first attempt sees forward Damien Stevens fire a shot from distance over Drydens goal. A foul in on Jake Stafford in the middle of the park results in a free kick to Dunston UTS; Michael Pearson quickly spots an opportunity, catching the Whickham defence off guard, his quickly taken set piece picks out Scott Heslop in a great position and plays the Dunston UTS forward in on a one on one with Tsapalos. Heslop makes no mistake as he calmly fires the ball into the bottom corner to give the home side the lead with 7 minutes gone. Dunston UTS - 1 Whickham -0.


Dunston UTS have looked the more dominant side in the first 10 minutes as Whickham have looked to defend deeply and hit on the break. Heslop nearly grabs his second of the game on 12 minutes, his shot blocked well by the legs of Whickham keeper Tsapalos, the opportunity coming from a quick burst of speed and turn from Jack Elliott on the wing. On 18 minutes Tsapalos comes rushing out of his box to block Heslop, the ball falls to Mark Fitzpatrick whose effort is cleared for a corner, the resulting delivery is shifted upfield by Whickham.


The home side look to be passing the ball around well with Whickham looking to defend deep and hit on the break. On 22 minutes Liam Brooks wins the ball on right wing and plays a ball to an advancing Heslop, his first shot is blocked but falls back to him presenting him with an easy tap in to give Dunston UTS a two goal lead and taking Heslop to 15 goals this season. Dunston UTS - 2 (Heslop 2) Whickham - 0.


Damien Stevens fires a shot over the bar for Whickham on 24 minutes as The Lang Jacks look to get back into the game. On 27 minutes the visitors do just that, a ball flicked over by Bulford across the line finds Lewis Orrell who fires a shot into the bottom corner, beating Dryden in the Dunston UTS goal, with hosts looking slightly disorganised defensively in a momentary lapse of concentration. Dunston UTS - 2 (Heslop 2) Whickham -1 (Orrell). A Michael Pearson chance on 29 is deflected over as Whickham struggle to clear their lines, the opportunity arising from some good build up play by the home side with Pearson miss hitting an attempt at a spectacular scissor kick. The resulting corner fails to conjure up an opportunity again. Dunston UTS have an excellent chance to further extend their lead on 34 minutes, Liam Brooks plays in Liam Marrs down the right wing, spotting the full backs overlapping run, his cross is played in with pace but Dunston UTS captain Dan Halliday is unable to properly connect with the header. On 38 minutes, with Whickham sensing that they are very much still in the game, Captain Ross Peareth attempts a long range effort which goes wide following a spell of end to end play. On 40 Dunston UTS midfielder Jake Stafford plays a superb defence splitting ball through to Liam Brooks, his cross finds Fitzpatrick, unmarked in the box, he attempts to knock the ball to back post to a team mate rather than taking it himself, fortunately for Whickham there is nobody there.


Half time score Dunston UTS - 2 Whickham FC - 1.


Whickham FC come out for the second half aurally refreshed from by some rather audible half-time “hair-dryer treatment”. Whickham electing to replace John Martin for Max Cowburn. Dunston UTS remain unchanged for the second half. The first chance of the second half falls to Jack Elliott who puts over the bar from inside the box on 47 minutes. Whickham equalise on 48 minutes, a long ball down the right hand side from Lewis Orrell is played over an advanced Dunston UTS defence to Damien Stevens, the forward appears to be in an offside position, however the Assistant Referees flag stays down, play continues and Stevens finds himself in a one on one opportunity with an advancing Karl Dryden, with no defenders around him the Whickham number 9 has time to calmly slot the ball into the bottom left hand corner and restore parity, much ​ to the protestations of the home crowd who have witnessed the home side surrender a comfortable two goal lead.

Dunston UTS - 2. Whickham FC - 2.


From the kick off Dunston UTS immediately equalise. With the ball played wide out to the left wing, Jack Elliott delivers a cross to an unmarked Mark Fitzpatrick who has time and space to calmly put away his chance for his 29th goal of the season. Dunston UTS - 3. Whickham FC - 2.


Dunston UTS have the ball in the back of the Whickham net on 61 minutes, however the Assistant Referee flags offside as Fitzpatrick puts the ball into the net with the whistle already blown, a intelligent disguised pass from Jake Stafford having played in Jack Elliot who skilfully dummies his marker. The home side substitute Liam Brooks on 64 minutes for Jordan Nellis on the wing as they look to inject some more energy into the proceedings. Whickham have a chance on 66 minutes, a Ross Peareth shot deflected off for a corner following a long through ball to Bulford with the flick on. Whickham are unable to conjure a threat from the resulting corner as Max Cowburn for Whickham blazes his chance over the bar. Whickham substitute Damian Stevens on 71 minutes for former South African International Matty Pattison. Bulford, who has been kept quiet by Grant Soulsby and Capewell for Dunston UTS, has a shot on target for Whickham, his attempt on the turn is hit straight at Dryden. Chris Swailes makes his second substitution of the game as Cieran Jackson replaces Jack Elliott. Elliott, his usual energetic self, has tired over the last phase. Jackson looks to make an impact with some nimble footwork following a neat pass from Pearson, with the Whickham defenders backing off, seemingly unsure how to combat the threat. Jordan Nellis plays a ball down the line, a lovely dummy by Fitzpatrick sees Pearson’s shot blocked to go over the bar from inside the 6yd box, as Dunston increase the pressure. The corner is expertly delivered, Dan Capewell rises above all around him, like the proverbial salmon, to bullet the header into the bottom corner with 73 minutes of the game played. Dunston UTS - 4 Whickham 2.


Dunston UTS nearly extend their lead further on 77 minutes, Fitzpatrick holding up the ball well before shooting, Tsapalos’ clearance falls to Nellis who plays in Jackson, his effort trickles wide of post as he is just unable to get a decent connection. Whickham make their final substitution of the game, bringing Dan Lowther on for Lee Paul Scroggins. A Fitzpatrick low drilled effort from outside the box on 81 minutes is collected by Tsapalos. Fitzpatrick has another chance minutes later, looking to cut inside he hits over the bar with Heslop out wide following a Dan Capewell through ball, the defender having cut out a pass from inside in own half. Dunston UTS make their final substitution on the game on 87, Aiden Haley replacing Jake Stafford who has been superb in midfield. Dunston have controlled the game over the last phase as Whickham have faded out of the game following the home sides 4th goal. The referee blows for full time with 2 minutes added as Dunston UTS secure victory over their local neighbours. News filters around the ground that Bishop Auckland have lost 0-2 away to Sunderland RCA, Dunston UTS now find themselves 7 points ahead of their nearest rivals with a game in hand. The fate of The Ebac Northern League title is now firmly in the hands of Dunston UTS. ​


Final score: Dunston UTS - 4 (Heslop 7’ 22’ Fitzpatrick 49’ Capewell 73’) Whickham - 2 (Orrell 27’Stevens 48’)

 Attendance: 308 Man of the match:


Yet again, today was another all round solid team performance as a superb work ethic has been instilled into the side. Scott Heslop continues to be in fine goal scoring form currently.


MOTM is awarded to Dan Capewell for his performance today. He was assured defensively today and given the support and experience he has around him at the back, he was able to play in an advanced roll, his header for the forth goal was technically as good as it gets at this level.


Dunston UTS man of the match, Dan Capewell


Next Game.. 26th February 2019, Dunston UTS v South Shields, Durham Challenge Cup, 7:30pm.