Whickham FC

Report by Billy Montague

Saturday 10th November 2018

Ebac Northern League – First Division


Dunston made the very short trip up the hill to Whickham to face their near neighbours in the first Ebac Northern League First Division game for many a year. Manager Chris Swaileswas still without Michael Hall, Liam Thear and Scott Heslop who were joined by recent signing Craig Scott on the injured list. Liam Brooks, Jack Elliott and Niall Harrison returned to the squad and took their places among the substitutes. The Whickham starting line-up included three players who wore the Dunston shirt last season in Dan Lowther, Dale Burrell and Kelvin Thear.


Whickham: Lister, Oliver, Hedley, Little, Grieve, Lowther (Martin), Burrell, Peareth, Stevens, Cowburn (Orrell), Thear. Subs not used: Paxton, Scroggins, Lancaster.


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


Dunston kicked off the game facing up the sloping pitch and into a freshening breeze. It was obvious that the home side would use their knowledge of playing on the awkward surface to their advantage. The first opportunity of the game fell to Whickham on 3 minutes when Sam Hedley moved forward only to see his shot sail high over Karl Dryden’s goal. Dunston responded on 6 minutes when a Liam Marrs cross reached Jordan Nellis beyond the far post where he controlled before lashing a shot into the side-netting from a narrow angle.


Two minutes later Max Cowburn got on the end of a Dale Burrell pass to shoot just over. As the game swung from end to end it was the overlapping Liam Marrs who sent a low effort wide of Daniel Lister’s goal. Ex-Dunston player Kelvin Thear caused a scare in the visitors’ goal on 11 minutes but Karl Dryden dealt with the shot safely. Dunston grabbed the lead in the 15th minute when a Jake Stafford corner-kick caused problems for the home defence and when the ball was cleared only to the edge of the box, Michael Pearson took control before smashing across keeper Lister and into the corner. 0 – 1.


Whickham almost replied immediately with a quick break which saw new signing Damien Stevens latch onto a good pass by Dan Lowther to draw a good save from Karl Dryden. They then had the ball in the net only to be denied by a flag for offside. In the 18th minute Dunston should have increased their lead when a great Jake Stafford through ball released Mark Fitzpatrick with a clear run on goal. As he raced away from the defenders he was caught in two minds and neither finished past the advancing Lister or set up one of his team-mates and the chance went begging. Karl Dryden made two superb saves in the 19th and 2th minutes to preserve his side’s lead. Firstly he bravely blocked a Max Cowburn shot and then did well to smother a close range effort from defender Stephen Little following a Dan Lowther free-kick.


On 29 minutes Liam Marrs was desperately unlucky to see a goal-bound volley from 25-yards take a slight deflection which took it narrowly past the far post with Lister beaten. In the 34th minute a Jordan Nellis pass released Mark Fitzpatrick but as he bore down on goal his effort was scrambled out for a corner.

On 36 minutes a Dan Halliday long-throw from the left saw Jordan Nellis find room in the box to fire away a fierce shot but Lister made a fine save and when the ball fell to Michael Pearson the keeper quickly recovered to dive at the Dunston player’s feet to block.

The home side drew level when a needless free-kick was conceded 25-yards from the Dunston goal in the 40th minute. Dan Lowther weighed up the situation and sent a fine effort over the defensive wall and into the bottom corner of the net. 1 – 1. Boosted by the goal, the home side pressed to get a second but the Dunston defence held firm until the break.


Half-Time Score:  Whickham  1   Dunston UTS 1


Whickham started the second-half in confident form and rocked Dunston back in the early exchanges. With the conditions now in their favour Dunston gradually worked their way back into things and almost took the lead in the 53rd minute when Michael Pearson took a Liam Marrs pass and beat two defenders on the right before sending in a perfect cross to the head of Jordan Nellis but he powered his effort the wrong side of the post when well placed. Both sides were going at it hammer and tongs but clear scoring chances were at a premium. Dale Burrell sent a low effort wide of the Dunston goal on 61 minutes and Dunston were forced into a change of personnel on 62 minutes when Callum Elliott replaced the injured Andrew Grant-Soulsby.


Dunston went close on 67 minutes when Jordan Nellis cleverly set up Mark Fitzpatrick but the Dunston top-scorer was put under pressure by Matty Grieve and could only shoot narrowly past the post. In the next attack by the visitors, substitute Callum Elliott made a strong run through the middle but Lister dealt with his 25-yard shot low down. In attempt to increase their attacking options, Dunston brought on two further substitutes in the 70th minute with Jack Elliott and Liam Brooks replacing Tom Bexton and Callum Little.


The move had an almost instant effect with Jack Elliott producing some darting runs on the left flank and Liam Brooks winning several headers against the tall Whickham defenders. Whickham were still dangerous on the break and the re-jigged Dunston defence were stretched on two or three occasions but for the first time in the game, Dunston were beginning to look dangerous. They regained the lead on 79 minutes when Jack Elliott made

a tricky run before squaring a pass across goal to the ever dangerous Mark Fitzpatrick who was able to slot

home from close range. 1 – 2.


The lead should have been doubled just three minutes later when another devestating run from Jack Elliott resulted in a pass to Liam Brooks who then set up Jordan Nellis right in front of the posts. He probably had too much time but he smashed the ball onto the underside of the bar and danger was cleared.


The miss almost proved costly two minutes later when a Dale Burrell effort at the other end was deflected over at the expense of a fruitless corner. A nervous last few minutes saw Whickham put in a desperate effort to grab an equaliser but Karl Dryden and the Dunston defence stood firm to ensure another valuable and hard earned victory.


Full-Time Score:  Whickham  1   Dunston UTS   2


Dunston’s Man of the Match: Karl Dryden – Karl pulled off some remarkable saves during the first half when Whickham used their knowledge of the playing surface to exert pressure on the Dunston goal. On a day when we were not at our best, the team showed their determination and will to win.



Attendance 310


Match Pictures None


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