Report by Billy Montague

Wednesday 22nd August 2018

Ebac Northern League – First Division


Dunston welcomed Seaham Red Star to the UTS Stadium for their second home fixture of the season in the Ebac Northern League First Division. Past meetings between the Clubs have always been close affairs so another hard fought encounter was in prospect. Dunston UTS had made a very encouraging start to their campaign while the visitors had started rather slowly but had enjoyed a very good away victory over Newton Aycliffe at the weekend. UTS manager Chris Swailes named an unchanged team from the one that had produced such a good performance at Sunderland RCA last Saturday.


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


Seaham Red Star: Hunter, Toward, Hutchison, Jewitt, Myers, Donnelly, Hetherington,  Gardiner, Gash (Evans), Palmer, Weirs (Johnston). Subs not used: Byrne, Steele, Harkess.


Dunston’s confidence was evident right from the kick-off as they started the game on the front-foot. Some good passing moves made progress but a solid Red Star defence guided by impressive centre-half Anthony Myers ensured that nothing came from the early attacks. Things almost changed on 7 minutes when clever play down Dunston’s left freed Dan Halliday who drove in a dangerous cross which was deflected onto the top of the angle and went out for a corner with Dan Capewell heading over from the flag-kick.


Dunston pressed for the opener but were shocked on 14 minutes when Star’s Paul Gardiner won possession in midfield and released the unmarked Lee Hetherington who sprinted clear on the right before unleashing a terrific shot past the exposed Karl Dryden in the home goal. 0 – 1.


Obviously, Seaham hadn’t read the script and were boosted by the opening goal but the home side battled back to get the equaliser five minutes later when a superb run by Jack Elliott ended with him sending a lethal low cross between defenders and Red Star keeper Andrew Hunter. In his attempt to clear, Anthony Myers stretched out a leg and the ball struck his toe and was diverted into the corner of the net for an own-goal. 1 – 1.


Dunston were now fired up and an overlapping run from Liam Marrs saw him fire over a dipping cross which was well caught by Hunter at his near post. In Star’s reply on 22 minutes, Jon Weirs made a good run before firing across Karl Dryden and past the far post. Two minutes later, Jack Elliott sent in another terrific cross and this time defender Aidan Hutchison clearly handled on the penalty spot. Jake Stafford, the penalty hero at RCA, stepped up to fire in the spot-kick, but this time keeper Hunter went full length to make a fine save and keep his side in the game. In the 25th minute Hunter was in action again when he made another great save to keep out a shot from Mark Fitzpatrick.


Scott Heslop shot wide on the half-hour mark and three minutes later the visitors’ goal had a miraculous escape when a Michael Pearson free-kick from the left sped low across the six-yard box with nobody able to get the final touch into the net.


On 38 minutes Liam Thear tricked his way past three defenders in the box and sent in a pile-driver that looked a goal all-day but Hunter pulled off his best save yet to somehow deflect the effort over the bar. Seaham were now hanging on but were determined to get to the break on level terms. Mark Fitzpatrick fashioned another chance on 42 minutes but his shot flew over after cleverly making space for himself.


Half-Time Score: Dunston UTS 1 Seaham Red Star 1


The home side began the second-half positively and went on the attack from the kick-off. They couldn’t afford to drop points if they were to maintain a challenge to the other unbeaten sides. In the opening exchanges, Seaham remained resolute but that all changed on 51 minutes when an excellent through-ball from Scott Heslop released Mark Fitzpatrick who sprinted through to loft over the diving Hunter from close range. 2 – 1.


The second goal took a lot of pressure off Dunston and they continued to press forward in search of more. Jack Elliott went close on 53 minutes and the lead was doubled just four minutes later when Scott Heslop played a quick one-two with Mark Fitzpatrick which set him up to smash a brilliant shot from 25-yards into the top right corner of the net. 3 – 1.


Andrew Hunter in the Seaham Red Star goal was having a great game but he had conceded three goals which he could do very little about. In the 59th minute Heslop had another fine shot but this time Hunter made a solid save. Chris Swailes used the opportunity to give some game time to his substitutes with Aiden Haley and Liam Brooks being introduced as Michael Pearson and Scott Heslop were given a breather. Both fresh players showed some good touches as they posed a new threat to the visitors’ rearguard. Karl Dryden in the home goal was rarely tested as the Dunston defence dominated on the odd occasion that Red Star managed to break out.


Good build-up play between Liam Brooks and Jack Elliott in the 78th minute saw the former slide a good pass into the feet of Mark Fitzpatrick but the hard working centre-forward sent his drive just over the bar. He went even closer just two minutes later when he burst into the box only to see Hunter pull of a brilliant save to tip his goal-bound shot over the bar. Jack Elliott sent Liam Brooks racing into the left corner of the box in the 84th


minute and the tall striker drew Hunter before shooting just too high. Brooks produced another chance two minutes later when he cut in from the left again and curled his right-foot effort narrowly past the far post.


Full-Time Score: Dunston UTS 3 Seaham Red Star 1


Dunston’s Man of the Match: Jack Elliott – Jack gets the vote for his all-round energy and the fact that he produced a superb low cross that forced the own-goal that got Dunston back on level terms. On a night when, once again, the whole team showed their spirit and togetherness it speaks volumes that they achieved a great result when they were slightly below par.



Dunston man of the match, Jack Elliott