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Dunston 2
Pearson (25'), Coulson (60')
0 Pontefract Collieries


In one of the biggest games in the club's history, Dunston continued to deliver by producing a 2-0 win against Pontefract Collieries in front of a bumper crowd of 694 at The UTS Stadium.

Jack Vann was shown a straight red card for the visitors after just six minutes for a nasty foul on Jack Maskell. Dale Pearson then fired Dunston into the lead midway through the first half before Richard Coulson sealed the win with a header in the second half.

There was just one change from Saturday's goalless draw away at Stocksbridge as Phil Turnbull came into the XI in place of Wayne Phillips

The pitch was in perfect condition and the sun was out on a glorious evening NE11. One of the major talking points occurred very early on before any action had really happened. With six minutes played, Colls midfielder Jack Vann was given his marching orders after a late challenge on Jack Maskell

Despite going a man down, the visitors almost took the lead one minute after the red card. Frankie Sinfield was causing early problems and he forced Aaron Steavens into a good save.

With the man advantage, Dunston began to take control of the game playing the ball about the park nicely. The set-pieces have been a weapon for Jon McDonald's side this year, and Turnbull played a low corner to David Robinson who drove his effort over the crossbar. 

Down the other end, Connor Smythe forced Aaron Steavens into his second save of the game. A far more comfortable stop compared to the earlier one.

Dunston's one man advantage and early dominance soon paid off as Dale Pearson scored his 22nd of the season to fire his side into the lead on 25 minutes. Jude Swailes picked out Jack Maskell with a long ball. The Dunston number 9 brought the ball down with an outstanding first touch before playing the ball across the box to Pearson who flicked the ball into the empty net.

With five minutes to go before the half-time break, Dunston were afforded another great opportunity. Richard Coulson was played in behind the Pontefract defence and he took a great touch before forcing Lloyd Allinson into a great save.

With tensions high amongst the Pontefract side, the clearly rattled Craig Rouse was shown a red card at half-time for whinging to the referee.

With the second half underway, Jack Maskell was brought down by Allinson just five minutes into the half and the penalty was awarded. There was a lengthy delay due to Allinson receiving treatment. Dale Pearson stepped up, however, his spot-kick was saved by the Pontefract 'keeper.

Dunston refused to let the setback affect them and responded in the perfect way by doubling the lead on the hour-mark. A Phil Turnbull free kick was met by Richard Coulson who bundled the ball over the line with a header.

With Dunston looking comfortable, they continued to turn the screw searching for a third goal to put the game to bed. Maskell stormed through on the Pontefract goal on 67 minutes but took aim straight at Allinson. David Robinson skipped over a challenge in the 82 minute, but once again Allinson was equal to the resulting shot on goal.

Jordan Lamb, Sado Djalo, and Luke Carr were all introduced in the second half by Jon McDonald. With four minutes of additional time indicated by the referee, Jordan Lamb almost added his name to the scoresheet as he took the ball around Allinson however, it was perhaps one too many touches and the visitors were able to deal with the danger.

Pure euphoria at full-time as Dunston prevail in the crucial play-off semi-final. Only half the job is done and now we progress to the final this Saturday away at Stockton Town.

Report by Callum Pattison

Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Wednesday 1st May 2024