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Dunston 2
Finnigan (38'), Pearson (89')
1 Shildon
Greulich-Smith (57' pen)

REPORT | Dunston UTS 2 Shildon 1

Dunston recorded their third consecutive win to further bolster their play-off hopes with goals in both halves from Carl Finnigan and Michael Pearson.

The first goal came seven minutes before the half-time break as a neat passage of play saw Finnigan score in his fourth game in a row. Shildon battled back and scored from the penalty spot courtesy of Billy Greulich-Smith to level the game up in the second half.

With just minutes to play, the win for Dunston was wrapped up as Pearson headed home from a corner after a sublime Phil Turnbull delivery.

Dunston named an unchanged starting XI for the third consecutive game. James Anderson retained his place between the sticks, whilst the inform Carl Finnigan started up front alongside Michael Fowler with Liam Thear and Richard Coulson operating either wing.

Shildon started the game the brighter of the two sides and should have taken the lead inside the first 60 seconds. Joe Posthill played the ball into the 6-yard box from the right-hand side where Jon Weirs fired a first time shot which was saved expertly by James Anderson.

The visitors continued to look dangerous every time they went forward and Posthill had another glorious chance after a quarter of an hour. The tricky wide midfielder went one-on-one with Anderson however, the Dunston stopper was once again alert and made a fine save.

With 26 minutes on the clock, this time it was Jude Swailes who came to the rescue as he put in a fine sliding challenge to deny Alex White. Afterwards, Chris Swailes made an early substitution as Jack Elliott replaced Liam Thear.

Elliott made an instant impact and almost had Dunston ahead within minutes of coming on. A ball over the top of Shildon’s high defensive line found Elliott, who drove forwards and his goal-bound shot was blocked by Aiden Haywood.

Dunston began to grow into the half and had another great chance on 37 minutes. This time, Dunston were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box and Phil Turnbull stepped up and saw his effort tipped around the post by Harrison Bond.

A minute later, the deadlock was finally broken by Carl Finnigan who tapped home for his fifth goal in four games. A well worked move finished with Richard Coulson unselfishly squaring the ball to Finnigan, who slid the ball into the open goal from a couple of yards out.

The second half begin in unfortunate circumstances for Dunston as the visitors were awarded a penalty. James Anderson was harshly adjudged to have brought down Joe Posthill inside the area. Billy Greulich-Smith stepped up and rifled the ball into the bottom corner to level the game.

As the half progressed, chances were limited as both sides were unable to carve out any openings on goal. It wasn’t until the 76th minute when the next big opportunity came. Dunston were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area for a push. Will Jenkins stepped up and fired a piledriver towards goal but, Bond made a miraculous save and palmed the ball around the post for a corner.

From the resulting corner, the ball fell to second-half substitute Michael Pearson who lashed a volleyed effort high of the target.

With the game in the final ten minutes, Shildon began to sit deeper and deeper. With 89 minutes played, Dunston were awarded another corner. Phil Turnbull floated the ball into the box, and it was met with a perfect header by Pearson into the bottom corner.

A header which sealed all three points for Dunston which makes it three wins on the bounce as we once again give our play-offs hopes another major boost.

Report by Callum Pattison

Published Wednesday 1st February 2023