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Dunston 3
Maskell (31' pen, 65'), Carr (88')
3 Sheffield
Whelan (49'), O'Boyle (67'), Johnson (84')

REPORT | Dunston UTS 3 Sheffield FC 3

The points were shared at Craik Park on Tuesday evening in a topsy-turvy Northern Premier League East clash against Sheffield FC.

Dunston led twice through two Jack Maskell goals however, Cameron Johnson fired Sheffield into the lead for the first time with six minutes of the ninety remaining. Luke Carr then netted late on in the 88th minute to rescue a point.

Jon McDonald was forced into some changes in the starting line-up as Dale Pearson began his three-game suspension following his red card in our abandoned fixture away at Newton Aycliffe. Sado Djalo replaced him in the starting XI and David Robinson returned following his suspension replacing the unavailable Jack Walker with Richard Coulson slotting into the centre of defence.

The visitors began the brightest and carved out multiple early half-chances. O'Boyle fluffed his lines in the opening minutes from close range. A dangerous free kick was then delivered into the box but again, Sheffield failed to convert inside the six-yard box.

Dunston's first effort of the game came from Luke Carr when he took aim from range, but his effort was deflected wide and out for a corner. Carr then played a pinpoint ball over the top of the Sheffield defence for Jack Maskell who played the ball across the face of goal for Djalo, but the latter couldn't convert from a couple of yards out on the stretch.

Aaron Steavens was called into action for the first time with nearly 25 minutes played. The ball fell kindly to Stephen Brogan on the edge of the area, but the Dunston shot-stopper pulled off a fine save tipping the ball over the crossbar.

The first goal came with just over half an hour played when a Sheffield player was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty area. With Dale Pearson suspended, Maskell stepped up and powered the ball down the centre of the goal to give Dunston the lead.

Nothing more happened until the opening minutes of the second half when the visitors pulled level from a well-executed corner. The ball was delivered into the box and centre half Ben Whelan headed home from close range to make the score 1-1.

A massive chance fell just two minutes after the goal as Luke Carr came close to restoring the lead. The ball fell to Carr at the back post following a set piece, but he poked his effort over the bar from a few yards out.

Down the other end, with 63 minutes played, Sheffield had the ball in the Dunston net when Cameron Johnson finished into the bottom corner. However, the flag was raised for an offside in the build-up.

It was a big let-off, and Dunston made it count by taking the lead once again just a few minutes later. Jack Maskell nodded home from a Phil Turnbull corner to bag his second goal of the game and his twentieth of the season.

The roller coaster game then took another twist as the lead lasted roughly 60 seconds. Dunston failed to deal with the ball in their own half, and Finn O'Boyle, who had been a threat all game on the left-hand side, pulled the ball into the bottom corner with an excellent finish.

The visitors continued to mount the pressure on the Dunston defence and Steavens was forced into another save as he palmed away a vicious strike from Connor Cutts which looked to be heading into the back of the net. Steavens then made another good stop denying Johnson, before Coleman missed an open goal on the rebound.

With Sheffield getting on top, they took advantage and took the lead for the first time in the 84th minute. Cameron Johnson slotted home after making the most of a mix-up at the back to send his side into the lead.

Remarkably, the drama wasn't finished there as there was one late turn in the game when Luke Carr netted for the second consecutive game to rescue a point for Dunston. A flicked header from Robinson found Carr, and the latter took a good touch before slamming a composed finish into the bottom corner to pull Dunston level in the 88th minute.

Johnson almost won it for the visitors in the final minute of stoppage time as his free kick narrowly missed the target. Ultimately, the spoils were shared in an entertaining game at Craik Park.

Next up for Dunston it's *checks notes* Sheffield again on Saturday away from home.

Report by Callum Pattison

Image credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Wednesday 10th April 2024