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Trafford 3
O'Brien (14'), Salmon (78', 81' pen)
2 Dunston
Heslop (43'), Halliday (57')

Trafford FC v Dunston FC

Report by Billy Montague

Saturday 28 th September 2019
BetVictor Northern Premier – N/West Division..

Dunston FC made the long journey to Manchester to face Trafford FC on a day that had seen torrential rainfall. The roads on the approach to the Shawe View Stadium were almost flooded but on entering the Ground itself, the pitch was almost perfect. Dunston manager Chris Swailes had to reckon without the injured Mark Fitzpatrick and Liam Marrs. In further set-backs, Luke Page was on holiday and Craig Scott was a late withdrawal caused by his wife going into labour early on Saturday morning. On the positive side, Jack Elliott was available to make his full debut after his return to the Club from Hebburn Town.

The home team made a dominant start to the game with Dunston struggling to get going as they seemed to be suffering the effects of an arduous journey through heavy traffic. On the excellent playing surface Trafford zipped the ball around on the deck in the early exchanges but they suffered a blow when centre-forward Jordan Johnson picked up a knee injury in the 5 th minute and had to be replaced by Altrincham loanee Lewis Salmon. Though their approach play was good, the home side failed to trouble Dunston keeper Karl Dryden until the 13 th minute when good play between Curtis Miller and substitute Salmon opened up the Dunston defence but a fine tackle by Callum Elliott averted the danger. From the resulting corner, Trafford grabbed the lead when the flag-kick caused a scramble in the visitors’ six- yard box with the ball falling kindly for defender Keil O’Brien who poked over the line as Dryden almost kept it out. 1 – 0 .

Dunston went close to an equaliser in the 16 th minute when Liam Brooks made a fine run on the right before slipping in Scott Heslop who was dumped to the ground on the edge of the box. Jack Elliott stepped up to send the free-kick towards the top corner but keeper Matthew Cooper pulled off a fine save. Trafford replied with a speedy attack but good approach play by Curtis Miller was spoiled by a cross which drifted behind before Darius Palmer went close again in the 26 th minute.

On 28 minutes the visitors produced danger to the Trafford goal when Jack Elliott showed great pace and control before the ball was deflected for a corner. He repeated the feat just two minutes later and again his effort was deflected wide. In the 33 rd minute Liam Brooks made an opening for Scott Heslop but this time his low shot was straight at the keeper. After Heslop tried his luck with a long-range shot that flew over, Dunston almost drew level on 38 minutes when some excellent play between Liam Brooks and Scott Heslop ended with Dan Halliday getting on the end of a low near-post cross but his audacious back-heal scraped just past the post with the keeper beaten.

At the other end, the speedy Darius Palma worked his way into the Dunston box before sending a power-drive that was blocked by Andrew Grant-Soulsby. In a flurry of Dunston corners on 41 minutes, both Cedwyn Scott and Dan Capewell went close but when Jack Elliott sent over another corner on 42 minutes it was Scott Heslop who finally headed home at the far post for the equaliser. 1 – 1 . Dunston produced some determined defending before the break with the dangerous Palma being forced to hurry his shot and Karl Dryden was able to make the save.

Half-Time Score: Trafford FC 1 Dunston FC 1

The start of the second-half mirrored the first with Trafford getting into a blistering rhythm. It took only two minutes to produce a scoring chance when Darius Palma found himself in possession right in front of the Dunston goal but Karl Dryden pulled of a brilliant save to deflect his close-range effort past the post. From the resulting corner first-half scorer Keil O’Brien headed over the bar as Dunston survived the early onslaught. Further chances fell to Curtis Miller when he blazed high and wide on 52 minutes and then he drew a save from Dryden a minute later. Dunston then came more into the game and mounted a couple of good attacks through some energetic play by Jack Elliott and some hard running from Scott Heslop.

They took the lead on 56 minutes when the pressure was maintained after a corner which the Trafford defence only partially cleared to Michael Hall. He fed the ball through to Dan Halliday who slotted into the corner past the helpless keeper. 1 – 2 . Dunston’s confidence was boosted by the goal and they began to dominate as Jack Elliott probed on the right as the home side were forced onto the back foot for the first time in the game. Liam Brooks had a goal-bound shot blocked on 63 minutes but this was to be his final contribution before being replaced by Liam Thear. In a double substitution, Callum Smith also replaced Cedwyn Scott as manager Chris Swailes added fresh legs in an attempt to push home Dunston’s advantage. Liam Thear almost did the trick in the 68 th minute when he beat two defenders before smashing a dipping shot over keeper Matthew Cooper but the effort hit the bar and bounced back into play.

Thear went close again two minutes later before Trafford responded when Sam Egerton headed over from a corner-kick. In the next Dunston attack, Cooper was forced to pull off a brilliant save to claw away a Jack Elliott shot which was curling towards the top corner of the net. In the 76 th minute, an incident occurred that was to change the course of proceedings. Trafford’s Thomas Schofield committed a bad tackle on Michael Pearson and was about to be shown a red card by the Referee. For some inexplicable reason, Dunston’s Michael Hall got involved and pushes the offender in the upper-chest repeatedly.

The Referee had no alternative but to dismiss both players. Dunston seemed to be adversely affected by incident. Just two minutes later, Trafford left-back Sam Grimshaw made a strong run down the flank before sending over a great cross into the box and as Lewis Salmon made a run to get on the end of it, Dunston’s Dan Capewell got the last touch to send the ball rocketing into the top corner for an unfortunate own-goal. 2-2. Trafford were given a great boost by this unexpected equaliser and threw bodies forward in an attempt to find a late winner.

As the game reached the 80 th minute a good through-ball by Ross Davidson released the tricky Lewis Salmon into the right side of the Dunston box and when Dan Capewell made contact from behind, a penalty-kick was awarded.

After a torrid four minutes for Dunston since the double dismissals, Lewis Salmon picked himself up to confidently convert the spot-kick to give his side the lead. 3 – 2 .

Dunston fought hard to restore parity in the final few minutes but their frantic efforts were in vain and the nearest they came was in stoppage time when a Liam Thear shot was deflected narrowly over the angle.

Final Score: Trafford FC 3 Dunston FC 2

Dunston FC: Dryden, Elliott C, Halliday, Hall, Grant-Soulsby, Capewell, Elliott J, Pearson, Cedwyn Scott (Smith), Heslop, Brooks (Thear). Subs not used: Wright, Harrison. 

Published Thursday 10th October 2019 (last updated Thursday 17th October 2019)