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Dunston 1
Carr (37')
2 Winterton Rangers
Matthews (51'), Grimes (81')

REPORT | Dunston UTS 1 Winterton Rangers 2

After two months away from the UTS Stadium, Dunston's homecoming was spoiled as Winterton Rangers recorded a 2-1 win to pull themselves off the foot of the table.

Luke Carr fired Dunston into the lead towards the end of the first half however, Rangers turned the game around in the second half as goals from Scott Matthews and Paul Grimes secured the three points for the visitors.

Dale Pearson returned to the starting line-up after finishing his three-game suspension following the red card away at Newton Aycliffe on Easter Monday. Jude Swailes also returned to the XI for the first time in four weeks after suffering a leg injury away at Hebburn.

On the return to The UTS Stadium, Dunston began the game in control looking to build on Tuesday's win. Winterton just about managed to deal with some dangerous crosses into the box and the first real chance came on ten minutes when Robinson sent a shot wayward from the edge of the area.

Despite Dunston dominating the possession, the visitors did create a few half chances as Grimes sent an effort over the crossbar, before Aynsley directed an effort narrowly wide from a tight angle.

On 27 minutes, Winterton 'keeper Nathan Popple was forced into his first save as he denied a powerful effort from Dale Pearson at the near post.

After knocking on the door for most of the half, the deadlock was finally broken with 38 minutes played. Jack Maskell flicked a header into the path of Dale Pearson down the left-hand side. Pearson pulled a low ball toward Luke Carr who fired home with a first-time effort to give Dunston the lead going into the half-time interval.

The second half followed a very different pattern with Dunston slow to get out of the traps. The visitors capitalised on that and found the equaliser minutes into the second half. Owen Vincent slid the ball through to Scott Matthews who placed his first-time shot under Aaron Steavens and into the back of the net.

Winterton had a golden chance to take the lead just after the hour-mark when Harvey Cribb took aim, but his shot was deflected by Chris McDonald and somehow dropped wide of the target.

Dunston did create some opportunities of their own in the second half. With 70 minutes played, Jack Walker won back possession in the final third and swung a cross into the box, but Dale Pearson's header glanced just over the crossbar.

Two minutes later, top scorer Jack Maskell produced some excellent footwork in the area to skip past two Winterton players and he attempted to pull the ball back for Robinson in another wasted opportunity. Robinson then had a chance of his own as went through one-on-one with Popple, but he blazed his effort well over the target.

The visitors managed to come out unscathed after those Dunston chances, and they began to take control back in the final 15 minutes. A free kick by Matthews was met by Ridley, but his header was off-target from close range. Jude Swailes, on his return to the side, was then forced into a huge block to deflect an effort from Vincent over the bar.

In the 82nd minute, Winterton took a deserved lead. A dangerous corner wasn't dealt with and, after some miscommunication amongst the Dunston defence, Grimes fired home on the spin to give his side the lead with time running out.

Despite the defeat, other results in the league mean that Dunston have now secured a play-off position with two games of the regular season to go. The highest finish in the club's 49-year history.

Report by Callum Pattison

Image Credit - Beauty Time Photography

Published Saturday 20th April 2024