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Marine 1
Cummins (52' pen)
2 Dunston
Brooks (43'), Pearson (56')

Marine v Dunston FC

Emirates FA Cup 2nd qualifying round

21st Sept 2019

Attendance 396

Match report by: Danny Whalen.

Dunston ensured that their name will be in the hat for the 3rd qualifying round of the Emirates FA Cup for the second consecutive season following victory in a well deserved, yet hard fought encounter with a 2 -1 away victory over fellow BetVictor Northern Premier North/West side Marine AFC. Liam Brooks gave the visitors the lead just before half time. Niall Cummins levelled the game for Marine shortly after the break through a controversial penalty. Michael Pearson ensured Dunston’s deserved passage into the next round minutes later as the visitors held out to guarantee their place in the next round.

Dunston manager Chris Swailes went into the game with a depleted squad. Jack Elliott, having recently re-joined Dunston from Hebburn Town, was cup tied. Mark Fitzpatrick, Liam Marrs and Cedwyn Scott were unavailable through injury, whilst Captain Dan Halliday was forced to withdraw from the starting XI having picked up an injury during the warm up.

The two sides had faced each other on the opening day of the season and had shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw. Dunston had already played six games so far in The Emirates FA Cup, with all previous games requiring victories in replays. Aware of the quality of their opponents and the concerns over injuries, many of the travelling support had understandable concerns over Dunston’s chances to progress. That said, Dunston are a side who can never be underestimated.

Dunston’s forward line would be lead by Scott “Hesiñ ho” Heslop as Dunston lined up in a 451 formation. With former Dunston manager Billy Irwin admittedly  “Revved up ”  from the power of Seabrooks Salt and Vinegar crinkle cut crisps, the Marine Travel Arena was bathed in glistening sunshine as the fine folk of The Dunston Supporters Club erected their tifo’s and gathered en masse behind Karl Drydens goal.

As had been the pattern during the two sides previous previous encounter, Marine looked to create opportunities from set pieces, win second balls and pump the ball up into the air in the hope that any slight touch would bring about a set piece. Not exactly beautiful to watch but often effective.

A Craig Scott headed effort for Dunston was cleared by Kenny Strickland in the opening 5minutes, whilst at the other end Hawkins and Cummins combined for Marine, the resulting cross from Solomon Davies cleared as Dunston removed the threat. Dunston’s first shot of significance came from Michael Pearson on 18 minutes, his first time shot well blocked as the away side broke well from a Marine free kick. The play in the middle of the park had so far looked scrappy, this was preventing Dunston’s Luke Page from getting into the game as the ball spent the infancy of the game collecting air miles.

Marine’s main threat looked likely to come from the set pieces of Craig Lindfield, however the former Liverpool man was yet to really test Karl Dryden. The home side could have made more from an opportunity on 22 minutes, with mistakes in both boxes, Marine counter attacked, Cummins looked to round Dryden only to be driven away from goal by the keeper. With half an hour played Marine looked to assert control on the game, A series of free kicks from Craig Lindfield put pressure on Dunston however the execution lacked the required technique to create a break through. Having rode the pressure it was Dunston who ended the deadlock. A penetrating pass from Michael Hall released Heslop out wide, his delightful first time delivery evaded the Marine defence as forward Liam Brooks easily got in between the two centre halves to poke the ball past an advancing, on loan Liverpool youngster, Shamal George.

Dunston went into half time leading 1-0, however three minutes after the re-start Marine were awarded a penalty in controversial circumstances. With the ball pinging around the Dunston box following a corner, Marine’s big centre half Aboubacar Gassama seemed to have had his upper body filled with Helium and his boots replaced by balloons as the referee incredulously pointed to the spot for an apparent foul. The decision perplexed many in the crowd, including the home support. Dunston’s protestations and questioning of the decision resulted in a yellow card for Michael Hall.

The home support raced behind the goal, to catch the action in something that resembled Pamplona's running of the Bulls, or the way crowds dispersed from the threat of Godzilla in 1960’s Japanese monster movies. Niall Cummins stepped up to place the resulting spot kick into the bottom left hand corner as Dryden guessed the wrong way, with seven minutes of the second half gone.

The set back was not to deter Dunston. On 56 minutes Michael Hall’s intelligent pass found Liam Brooks out wide, his cross was shanked only for Michael Pearson to race in unmarked and loop his shot over Marine keeper Shamal George as the visitors restored their lead.

Chris Swailes made changes on 66 minutes minutes, replacing Scott Heslop, who had chased everything in front of him having had to lead the line, with Dan Wright. Liam Thear, who had shown glimpses of his fine foot work throughout the game, was to be replaced by Callum Smith with Liam Brooks moving into a central position up front.

Dunston had the woodwork to thank as Niall Cummins rattled the cross bar with a ferocious volley from distance on 72 minutes. Luke Page was to try his luck from distance moments later at the opposite end. Dunstons Callum Elliott was to find himself the the referees book for apparent time wasting, Marines assistant manager was to be red carded following his protestations and touch line behaviour towards the youngster. Despite Marines’ attempts to force an equaliser, Dunston looked the more likely to score on the break. Liam Brooks was eventually replaced by Dan Lowther, struggling in the final stages of the game, Brooks seemingly found it difficult to close the Marine defence as they were easily able to play the ball from the back whenever Dunstons defenders cleared their lines or the ball found itself deep in their opponents half.

With 7 minutes of injury time added, Marine were kept at bay, Dunston deservedly claimed the win despite a list of injuries. The game was by no means a classic, but in terms of progress, desire and attitude Dunston were the better side and deservedly go through to Monday’s draw.

Speaking after the game Dunston FC Assistant Manager Chris Errington had commented that the game may not have been the greatest, but given the injuries going into the game the result’s fantastic. It’s about results and getting into the next round is what matters. Today we learned a lot from the game and that hopefully the performance is a turning point in respect of understanding the sides we’ re up against and I thought we had learned a lot from the game.

Final score: Marine AFC 1 (Cummins 52’ pen) Dunston FC 2. (Brooks 43, Pearson 56 ’)

Dunston line-up: Dryden, Callum Elliott, Grant-Soulsby, Hall, Capewell, Craig Scott, Thear (Smith), Pearson, Heslop (Wright)  Page, Brooks (Lowther)

Subs not used: Harrison.

Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club Man of the Match awarded to: Liam Brooks.

Liam Brooks is proudly sponsored by: 

Home kit - Jack Hunter. 

Away kit - Gateshead Foodbank on behalf of The Dunston FC sub committee. 

Recovery equipment - Luke Fitzpatrick.

Published Sunday 22nd September 2019