Dunston UTS vs South Shields FC.

Wednesday 26th February 2019.

Durham FA Challenge Cup Semi-Final.

Attendance 630.

Match report by: Danny Whalen.


Team line-ups.

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


South Shields FC: Connell, Mouanda, Adams, Lowe (Turnbull), Morse (Bexton), Lough, Foley (Mason), Briggs (C), Harmison, Daly, Bell. Subs not used, Baxter, Guy. Match Officials. Referee: David Webb (Stanley) Asst’s: Michael Burrows (Sunderland), Paul Cooper (Peterlee).


Dunston UTS FC welcome South Shields FC to The UTS Stadium for today’s Semi Final of The Durham FA Challenge Cup. Dunston UTS Manager Chris Swailes will be looking to lead his side to a second consecutive final. The home side are currently on an eight game winning streak and have turned the UTS Stadium into somewhat of a fortress this season, winning 16 games from a total of 20 matches in League and Cup encounters this season.


Dunston UTS progressed through to today’s semi-final following a 2-1 win away to Gateshead FC and have defeated Hebburn Town and Billingham Synthonia along the way. South Shields have progressed to this stage in the competition with victories against West Auckland Tunns, Chester-Le- Street Town and  Sunderland RCA.


In tonight’s other Semi Final Hartlepool United play host to Shildon. South Shields are likely to field a strong side for tonight ’s game, Joint Manager Graham Fenton will be fully aware of the threats the home side pose having taken in Dunston UTS’ s quarter Final win over Gateshead. South Shields will be without Gary Brown, while Barrie Smith and Carl Finnigan continue to miss out due to long-term injuries.


Liam Connell starts in goal for South Shields and will be no doubt given a warm reception by the home faithful. Connell was Dunston UTS keeper for their FA Vase Final win back in 2012 and spent many a fine season at The UTS Stadium before joining South Shields. Tom Bexton spent a brief period on loan at Dunston UTS this season, the former Wolverhampton Wanderers trainee is on the bench for The Mariners today. Chris Swailes makes one change to tonight’s starting XI from the side which won against local neighbours Whickham last Saturday;  Aiden Haley replacing Liam Brooks on the wing, Brooks is named amongst the subs. Cieran Jackson is cup tied and goalkeeper Niall Harrison is named on the bench.


Dunston kick off towards the Clubhouse End and on 2 minutes the first chance of the game falls to the home side; Liam Marrs playing an intelligent ball down the right wing into the feet of Scott Heslop who holds up the ball with a South Shields defender behind him, Heslop rolls off his marker o find his strike partner Mark Fitzpatrick who plays in Michael Pearson, the midfielders shot is well saved one handed by an outstretched Liam Connell in the South Shields goal. South Shields who are backed by a large and vociferous away following, take the lead on 7 minutes as Nathan Lowe is found in space on the edge of the box, Shields having worked the ball well down the left wing see Lowe react incisively to put The Mariners ahead with a superbly executed low drilled shot past Karl Dryden from 20 yards out. Dunston UTS - 0. South Shields - 1.


10 minutes gone and Michael Pearson has a good effort tipped over the bar from a Jack Elliott cross. The resulting corner finds a rising Dan Capewell who is unable to get enough power into the header to beat Connell as Dunston look to get back into the game. The opening 20 minute period of the match has been a tightly contested affair with both sides battling away. The woodwork comes to the rescue for Dunston UTS on 23 minutes as Luke Daly fires a shot off the left post from close range for South Shields, Mouanda playing the ball into Harmison whose clever lay off plays in Daly. South Shields keep the pressure on Dunston UTS who momentarily take their eye off the game, thinking the ball has gone out of play, Harmison scampers to the ball and plays to David Foley on edge of the box, Foley seizes the opportunity and drills his shot past Dryden to give South Shields a two goal advantage.

Dunston UTS - 0 South Shields - 2.


Dan Halliday keeps Dunston UTS in the game with a superb block on 31 minutes, the ball played across to Foley only for Halliday to perform a superb block with the ball seemingly destined for the back of the net. South Shields have increased the pressure over last 5 minutes, they switch wingers to opposite sides in order to further test their opponents, despite the score line the game has been a tight affair. The Dunston UTS midfield duo of Jake Stafford and Michael Pearson have endlessly chased and hurried their opponents in order to break up play and find an opportunity to draw the hosts back into the game against an opponent whose step up in quality in evident. Dunston UTS have found the running and movement of South Shields a constant threat but the home sides work rate is more than equal to that of their opponents. On 39 minutes Scott Heslop plays ball back towards Dan Capewell from the wing. David Foley collects the ball from Capewell’s mis-controlled touch as he sets of at pace towards the goal; Dunston UTS quickly recover through Grant-Soulsby, South Shields keen to exploit any mistakes as they push for a third goal before half time.


However it is Dunston UTS who take advantage of their opponents mistake, grabbing a goal back on 44, Jack Elliott twists and turns on the wing to drive a low cross in between the defenders and goalkeeper to Jake Stafford, Connell is unable to cleanly collect Staffords initial shot, with the ball dropping back at his feet, the midfielder calmly dribbles around the former Dunston UTS number 1 before nonchalantly poking the ball into the back of the net and giving his side a life line on the stroke of half time.


Half Time score: Dunston UTS - 1. South Shields - 2.


Neither side make changes at half time. The first chance of the second half sees Dunston UTS appeal for handball on 51 which the referee waives away. With the opening stages looking tight, the hosts earn a corner as a South Shields defenders back pass is cleared by Connell. Unfortunately Dunston UTS are unable to create any chance from the set piece. South Shields make their first substitution of the game on 54 minutes as Tom Bexton replaces Dillon Morse. Shortly after the substitution, a Darren Lough long range effort flashes well wide of the Dunston UTS goal following a great shift but Grant-Soulsby. On 60 minutes Foley plays a lobbed pass over the top of The Dunston UTS defence to Connor Bell, Grant-Soulsby once again gets across well to put him off his shot as the former Inverness Caledonian Thistle, who is making his first start for The Mariners, fires over the bar. Jack Elliott pulls up with a hamstring injury on 63 minutes but manages to briefly continue on. The game is going end to end in a tightly contested affair with Dunston UTS very much still in the game.


With Jack Elliott unable to continue, Chris Swailes makes his first substitution of the game as Jordan Nellis replaces Jack Elliott on the left wing On 68 mins South Shields win free kick only for Karl Dryden to pull off a fine reaction save low down from a Ben Harmison header from a Nathan Lowe cross. Darren Lough puts an effort wide of the post from corner on 70 minutes as South Shields attempt to up the tempo and pressure. Dunston UTS make their second substitution on 71 minutes as Liam Brooks comes on for Heslop. Heslop, as ever has has put in a solid shift up front, but has had few opportunities to continue his fine goal scoring run. Dunston UTS on 73 minutes see Aiden Haley play a intelligent pass over the South Shields defence to an on running Liam Brooks only for the ball to be hooked away by Lough. Haley is looking to pull strings in the middle again moments later with an excellent ball into the box from the left which Nellis heads over following some good build up from Pearson.


On 75 minutes South Shields replace the impressive Nathan Lowe with Phil Turnbull. A Liam Connell poor clearance spins wildly and the ball falls to Nellis but South Shields just about recover in time to remove the danger. Disaster strikes for Dunston UTS on 83 minutes as South Shields are awarded a penalty. Mouanda seemingly with a high foot on Nellis, sees no foul called, he plays into David Foley who applies his pace to drive in on goal, Grant- Soulsby has him covered only for Foley to get in front of the defender with the ball at his feet before going down. South Shields captain Robert Briggs makes no mistake from the spot by firing into the bottom corner,  Dryden guessing the right way but the ball is out of reach. Dunston UTS - 1. South Shields - 3.


Despite all the pressure and energy Dunston UTS have applied during the second half, the quality South Shields possess and the short time remaining makes any comeback for the home side seemingly insurmountable. South Shields make their final substitution on 85 as they look to manage the closing phase of the game with Lee Mason replacing David Foley who has posed a threat all night. Chris Swailes tries a final roll of the dice as Callum Elliott comes on for goalscorer Jake Stafford as Dunston UTS go to 3 at the back. Aiden Haley executes a impressive double turn from inside his own half before knocking the ball up to Fitzpatrick, the Dunston UTS striker has been shackled throughout the night by The Mariners defence and sees the ball knocked out of touch. Liam Marrs picks up yellow card for a foul on Connor Bell on 91 minutes as Bell attempts to break down the touch line. ​


Substitute Lee Mason hits a shot over the bar for South Shields on 92 as the game is drawn to a close by referee David Webb, who it must be said, has been superb on the night as he has looked to let the game flow in what has been a tightly contested and well fought out Semi Final.


Final score: Dunston UTS - 1. South Shields - 3.


Credit must go to Dunston UTS who gave a side currently riding high in The Evostik Premier Division a tough game. The home side were unable to create a lot of clear cut chances but certainly matched their opponents for work rate and effort. The focus now moves onto promotion and clinching The Ebac Northern League title this season. Todays game will have provided further valuable experience to this very good team as to what challenges they are potentially likely to face should they succeed in their promotion objectives. South Shields make it to The Durham FA Challenge Cup for the second time in three seasons where they will face Shildon who managed to overcome a youthful Hartlepool Utd side with a 2-0 win in the other Semi-Final.


Dunston UTS man of the match: Jake Stafford. The midfielder, along with Michael Pearson, chased everything he could in order to get Dunston into the game. Considering the level of opponent he was up against he gave as good as he got and his goal provided a lifeline for Dunston UTS.


Next Game.. 2nd March 2019, Dunston UTS v West Auckland, League Fixture, 3:00pm.