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Dunston 3
Page (17'), Fitzpatrick (24'), Scott (26')
3 Runcorn Linnets
McGivern (31'), Gibson (44'), McCarthy (70')
Durham FC Officials open our new ground improvements with Malcolm James far right.

Dunston FC v Runcorn Linnets...

Dunston FC v Runcorn Linnets
BetVictor Northern Premier League N/West

Match Report by Dan Whalen.

Dunston FC were left feeling disappointed as Runcorn Linnets fought back valiantly to take a share of the spoils at The UTS Stadium. The hosts were three goals up within the first 25 minutes of the game and will possibly feel that it was two points dropped rather than a point gained. Dunston defender Michael Hall made his first start of the season as Chris Swailes started the game in a 3-1-4-2 formation with Hall playing in front of the back three.

The hosts looked to focus on starting positively, having struggled to get going early doors in previous games this season. The opening ten minutes of the game provided few clear cut chances as the wind swirled around the pitch. The best chance during the opening phase of the game saw Linnets winger Ryan Gibson force his way through to the near post following a mistake at the back, his cross and subsequent effort narrowly missing the target. Neither side had managed to assert any dominance on the game with the blustery conditions playing their part.

Dunston took the lead on 17 minutes, a Liam Marrs free kick  caused confusion amongst the Runcorn defence as Luke Page  reacted quickly to take advantage by sliding in from close range  and give the hosts the lead. Mark Fitzpatrick scored his first  goal league goal of the season, taking himself to 6 goals this season. Michael Pearson slotted a perfectly timed pass through a gap in the Runcorn defence, Fitzpatrick slid in to turn his marker, an exchange of neat passes between Marrs and Pearson picked out the top scorer who was upended in the box. The referee instantly pointed to the spot and Fitzpatrick made no mistake as his blasted the spot kick straight down the middle to give Dunston a two goal lead. A minute later the home side extended their lead.

From the kick off Fitzpatrick intercepted a misplaced Runcorn pass and found strike partner Cedwyn Scott who danced around defenders with mesmeric foot work to calmly slot the ball into the bottom corner. Despite Dunston’s lead, the score line was not a fair reflection of the game. Runcorn pushed to get back into the match. Combining well in and around the box an effort from distance was bravely blocked by Dan Capewell, a fierce shot which knocked the stuffing out of him but prevented Runcorn from pulling one back. Linnets were to grab a goal on 32 minutes. Louis Corrigan curled a free kick into the back post, Declan McGivern rose well at the back stick to glance his header into the back of the net from two yards out.

Dunston had a superb chance to regain their 3 goal cushion five minutes before the break, Cedwyn Scott had his effort blocked by Runcorn keeper Bayleigh Passant having been fed in by Fitzpatrick as Callum Elliott made a excellent supporting run out wide. Runcorn capitalised on Dunston’s indecision at the back. Ryan Gibson latched onto a Kyle Hamid pass from deep, controlling with his chest, Gibson’s first effort was blocked. The ball rebounded to him kindly and he lashed his effort from close range past Dryden and reduce the arrears just before half time.

Although Runcorn trailed they had the impetus going into the second half. Dunston needed to weather the first phase of the second half which to be fair they did. A Paul Shanley looping headed effort from an excellent delivery nearly levelled matters for Runcorn after 10 minutes if the re-start. In an effort to shore up the midfield and restrict Runcorn space in wide arrears, Chris Swailes made changes on the hour.

Dan Wright replaced Michael Hall and Liam Brooks came on in place of Callum Elliott as the hosts changed to a 4-4-2 formation. Dunston were finding the second half conditions difficult as they struggled to form any cohesive passes together.

The wind was against Dunston and Runcorn were dangerous with balls over the top. Connor McCarthy was creating a menace of himself against the home sides back line. The Runcorn forward went close on two separate occasions with curling efforts which narrowly missed the top corner. McCarthy eventually levelled the game on 70 minutes to complete the comeback. Ryan Wade turned well on the left hand side to deliver an excellent cross into the six yard box. The Runcorn Linnets number 9 found space too easily in between two Dunston defenders and firmly planted his header into the bottom corner, much to the jubilation of The Linnets Support behind the goal. Dunston were struggling to win second balls and find passes.

Too many passes were played long against the wind which often resulted in the ball coming back towards theirown half. Cedwyn Scott had two chances at the end only to be thwarted by Passant in the Linnets goal. The former Dundee youngster went close from a Brooks flick on as the keeper reacted quickly to prevent the home side from taking the lead. Luke Page turned well inside the Runcorn box with Scott’s effort just bobbling over. Runcorn spurned a great chance to leave Tyneside with all three points in the closing stages of the game as Ronnie McCarthy put an effort over over Dunston’ s crossbar.

Dunston had a penalty appeal waived away as Cedwyn Scott appeared to be held whilst attempting to turn off his marker. Whilst right at the end Bayleigh Passant ensured the visitors left with a deserved point, closing down Scott’s angle as the ball bobbled up and around the strikers feet as he raced through on goal. As a result of this game Dunston now slip down to 13th position in The BetVictor Northern Premier N/West Division.

The team are still trying to find their feet in this division and adjust to the transition from The Northern League. There has been very little between the sides we’ve faced so far and once Dunston stabilise themselves there is a general feeling that they can push on. The high standard of the league is evident however, If Dunston can get back to doing what they done so well last season they could well be a force to be reckoned with.

Final Score: 

Dunston FC - 3. (Page 17’ Fitzpatrick pen 24 ’ Cedwyn Scott 25’)
Runcorn Linnets FC - 3. (McGivern 30 ’ Gibson 42’ C McCarthy 70’).

Dunston FC Line up: Dunston FC Dryden, Marrs, Halliday (C), Hall (Wright) Grant-Soulsby, Capewell, Elliott, (Brooks), Pearson (Heslop), Fitzpatrick, Cedwyn Scott, Page. Subs not used: Lowther, Harrison.

Dunston UTS FC Supporters Club Man of the Match: Liam Marrs.
Liam Marrs is kindly sponsored by:
Home shirt: Billy Park.
Away shirt: Steve Wraith Newcastle Legends.
Recovery equipment: Gracie Robinson.

Match pictures HERE

Published Saturday 14th September 2019 (last updated Tuesday 11th February 2020)