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Dunston 4
Maskell (14'), Pearson (32'), Robinson (89'), Constantin (90' og)
1 Ashington AFC
Ross (26')

REPORT | Dunston UTS 4 Ashington 1

Dunston made it eleven consecutive games unbeaten with a clinical 4-1 victory against neighbours Ashington at The UTS Stadium.

Jack Maskell scored his twelfth of the season inside the opening 15 minutes to join Dale Pearson at the top of the goalscoring charts. The visitors equalised through Karl Ross midway through the half, before Michael Pearson scored his second of the season to restore Dunston’s lead.

Deep into the second half, the win was sealed as David Robinson scored his ninth of the season, followed by an own goal from Will Constantine.

Jon McDonald was forced into some changes in the squad as Dale Pearson and Richard Coulson missed out through injury. Josh King was also unavailable after being recalled by Morpeth Town.

Craig Baxter and Jude Swailes returned to the starting line-up with 18-year-old prospect Dom Pegram making the bench for the first time.

It was almost a disastrous start for Dunston as Ashington came close to capitalising on a mistake at the back. A pass from Jack Walker to Dan Staples was intercepted by Maguire and Jude Swailes was there to mop up as he hacked the ball away off the line.

After the early scare, Dunston began to settle into the game. Chris McDonald was getting down the left and floated a teasing ball into the box which was just about cleared by the visitors.

On 14 minutes, the opening goal of the contest came as Jack Maskell added to his tally for the season. Sado Djalo will perhaps take the plaudits as he took aim from 30 yards out on his left foot and rattled the woodwork. Jack Maskell was there to react and cleaned up, placing the rebound past Karl Dryden.

The Colliers, a goal down, but still looked dangerous in attack and came close to an equaliser on 21 minutes. Staples was called into action for the first time as he palmed away a shot, and Connor Thomson followed up on the rebound by placing his effort narrowly wide.

On 26 minutes, The Colliers found the equaliser through their captain Karl Ross. A long-range strike from nearly 25 yards caught everyone by surprise as his effort glided into the top corner.

The scoreline didn’t stay level for long as another captain got in on the action when Michael Pearson fired Dunston ahead. It was a spectacular goal as Jordan Lamb sprung down the left, the ball fell to Pearson, and the skipper placed the ball past Dryden from the edge of the box.

Dunston had their tails up and looked the much more likely in front of goal. Another shot on target came towards the end of the half as Maskell searched for his second of the game. McDonald broke into space on the counter, slipped the ball through to Maskell, but his effort was comfortably claimed by Karl Dryden.

The final chance of the half fell to Maskell again. Jordan Lamb floated a cross into the box towards Djalo. The ball narrowly evaded Djalo’s head however, the ball fell to the Maskell who fired straight at Dryden on the turn.

The second forty-five didn’t begin as fast paced as the first half, with the first effort not coming until 61 minutes. Michael Pearson went searching for his second goal of the afternoon, but his effort was dragged wide of the post.

The visitors starting to look more and more dangerous as the half wore on. Kneeshaw was always looking a threat and came close as he struck an effort high of the target.

With 20 minutes to go, Dunston were forced into their first change. Jack Maskell pulled up with what looked like a groin injury and was replaced by Luke Carr.

It was almost an instant impact for Carr as the ball fell to him following a corner however, his shot on goal was blocked and The Colliers cleared the danger.

With the final ten minutes approaching, Ashington began to turn the screw. Kneeshaw again came close as he drilled an effort straight at Staples. Just a minute later, a deflected effort from Ben Williams forced Staples into an excellent save as he turned the ball around the post.

With Ashington pushing further up the park, Dunston capitalised and put the game to bed with a devastating counterattack. A delicate ball from Luke Carr found David Robinson, and the latter made no mistake poking the ball into the bottom corner.

Then, just minutes later, Dunston’s lead stretched to four goals as Will Constantine chipped his own keeper to make sure the three points remained in NE11.

Next up for Dunston is another home game this Tuesday night as we welcome Stocksbridge Park Steels to The UTS Stadium.

Report by Callum Pattison

Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Saturday 3rd February 2024