Dunston UTS v Hebburn Town
Durham Challenge Cup Round 2
Attendance 124
8th January 2019
Report By Billy Montague

Dunston welcomed Hebburn Town FC to the UTS Stadium for this delayed Durham County Challenge Cup Second Round Tie. Manager Chris Swailes gave the reliable Niall Harrison a rare start in goal but had a rather thin squad to choose from with Jake Stafford serving the final game of his suspension, on-loan Tom Bexton and Cieran Jackson ineligible and Dan Capewell struggling with injury.


Callum Elliott came in to give Liam Marrs a breather and Aiden Haley continued his comeback after a lenghthy spell out through injury. Hebburn, fresh from their excellent win in the FA Vase on Saturday, also made several changes.


Dunston UTS: Harrison, Elliott C, Halliday, Haley, Grant-Soulsby, Scott, Elliott J, Pearson, Fitzpatrick, Heslop (Nellis), Brooks. Subs not used: Marrs, Dryden, Capewell.


Hebburn: Hubery, Tumilty, Read, Wallace, Smith, Spence, Armstrong, Malley (Bowie), Kerr, Chow, Dibb-Fuller, Shaw. Subs not used: Rutherford, Taylor, Mallinson.


After a spell of relatively dry weather, the pitch looked in decent condition at kick-off on a still, cold evening. The early exchanges were very even with neither side able to create any clear chances of a goal. This all changed in the 8th minute when Mark Fitzpatrick made ground thirty-yards from the Hebburn area before sending a good pass to the feet of Scott Heslop. Quickly taking control on the edge of the box, he turned his marker and sent a low right-foot shot across keeper Steven Hubery and into the bottom left corner of the net. 1 – 0.


The goal was just the boost that Dunston needed after their recent set-backs and they went close again just two minutes later when Liam Brooks got on the end of a Jack Elliott corner but his powerful header flew just over the bar. On 12 minutes another great run from Mark Fitzpatrick saw him go past three defenders but when he fed in Scott Heslop again his shot was bravely blocked by ex-Dunston player Dan Smith. Hebburn were working hard to make progress but, despite some good approach play, were finding the Dunston back-four a tough nut to crack. Callum Elliott overlapped on the right flank in the 18th minute and his excellent cross was headed narrowly over by Scott Heslop with the keeper nowhere.


On 26 minutes, Hebburn produced some skillful approach play through Ben Dibb-Fuller, Gary Shaw and Paul Chow but when the ball was set-up for Lee Kerr, his powerful shot sailed over from 25-yards. In Dunston’s next attack a minute later, Scott Heslop shot straight at Hubery when put through by Aiden Haley. Dunston increased their lead on 33 minutes when Hubery pulled off a brilliant save to parry a close-range shot from Liam Brooks but unfortunately for the keeper, the ball fell to the feet of Scott Heslop who slotted home for his second goal of the game. 2 – 0.


Liam Brooks was putting in some surging runs on the left and when he broke away again on 36 minutes, he cut inside before sending an inviting waist-high ball right across the Hebburn six-yard box but nobody could get the vital touch to convert.  


Half-Time Score:  Dunston UTS  2    Hebburn Town  0


As in the first, the second-half opened with little to choose between the sides but Dunston made the first opportunity in the 52nd minute and some tricky play by Jack Elliott opened up a chance for Michael Pearson on the penalty spot. He blasted in a low shot but Lee Kerr blocked and when the ball fell back to Pearson, his second effort was saved by Hubery. Heavy rain at the interval had made the playing surface slick and on 61 minutes Liam Brooks did well to win possession just outside the box before going past two defenders but as he drew the keeper he lost his footing slightly and his effort went over.


Hebburn almost reduced the arrears on 68 minutes when another Ben Dibb-Fuller run opened up a shooting chance for Lee Kerr but his long-range effort dipped past the angle. Three minutes later it looked like Scott Heslop would complete his hat-trick when some excellent play by Jack Elliott on the left resulted in him sending over a great cross to the head of the goal-scorer. Keeper Hubery looked beaten all-ends-up but he managed to twist in mid-air to tip the ball onto his bar and away to safety. In the 76th minute Callum Elliott made a surging run on the right flank before sliding a perfect ball to the hard-working Mark Fitzpatrick and only a fine last-ditch tackle by Graeme Armstrong deflected the shot for a corner.


Hebburn were battling to get a goal back but Andrew Grant-Soulsby and Craig Scott were playing at their best to protect Niall Harrison’s goal. The crucial third goal arrived in the 81st minute after another speedy run from Jack Elliott saw him blocked on the bye-line before Graeme Armstrong slid in on him with a foul tackle. The referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty and Scott Heslop stepped up to confidently slam home from the spot to complete a deserved hat-trick. 3 – 0.


Jack Elliott was at it again on 83 minutes when he beat two defenders on the right to cut in and send in a wicked low cross which flew through a sea of bodies near the goal-line and amazingly past everyone without a touch. Hebburn kept on pressing right to the end of the game and went very close to getting on the scoresheet in the 87th minute when the impressive Ben Dibb-Fuller let fly from all of 25-yards but Dunston keeper Niall Harrison went full length to pull off a magnificent save at his top right corner. Harrison was called upon again two minutes later when ex-Dunston player Gary Shaw sent over a menacing cross from the Hebburn right but the keeper held on safely under pressure from Paul Chow.


Full-Time Score:  Dunston UTS   3   Hebburn Town  0


Dunston’s Man of the Match:  Michael Pearson – A very difficult decision to select any one individual in a game where Dunston turned in an excellent team performance but Michael produced an industrious effort in defence and attack. His passing was first class and he was always willing to put in a challenge when Hebburn threatened. A great effort from all over the pitch with the whole team contributing to the victory. Special mention to Scott Heslop for his goal-scoring and solid displays from Aiden Haley, Andrew Grant-Soulsby and Craig Scott.



Dunston UTS Man of the match
Michael Pearson.