Whitley Bay v Dunston UTS
Northern League Division One
Attendance 296
5th January 2019
Report By Billy Montague

Dunston made the journey to North Tyneside to take on Whitley Bay at their Hillheads Park Stadium in this Ebac Northern League First Division fixture. The home side had been suffering a recent disappointing run of results

but seemed confident of a change in their fortunes. They named a strong starting line-up while Dunston UTS manager Chris Swailes had to reckon without the suspended Jake Stafford. Andrew Grant-Soulsby returned to the squad after illness but Scott Heslop was carrying a knock and took a place on the bench.


Whitley Bay: Flynn, McFarlane, Walton, Christensen, Hassan, Taylor (Caines), Martin  (Carr), Redford, Ardelean, Glen-Ravenhill, Salmon (Suddick). Subs not used: Brannen, Anderson.


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


On a cold but still afternoon, Dunston UTS kicked off the game with the slight slope of the pitch to their

advantage.nHowever, it was the home side who made the more positive start as they attacked in the early stages. The referee made a couple of questionable decisions in favour of Whitley Bay early on, giving them the

opportunity to launch free-kicks into the visitors’ box. In the fifth minute a Craig McFarlane delivery from the left found its way to central defender Iby Hassan outside of the far post and he hammered a shot across goal and past the far post. In Bay’s next attack a minute later, wide-man Luke Salmon lofted in a speculative cross which was met on the edge of the box by Oliver Martin who sent a looping volley high over Karl Dryden and into the top corner of the net. 1 – 0.


Dunston had fallen behind before they had managed to get started in the game and worse was to follow just two minutes later when another Bay attack saw skipper Peter Glen-Ravenhill latch onto a wayward shot from Ryan Redford before smashing across goal. His effort struck Dan Halliday as he tackled Whitley’s Andrei Ardelean and the ball ended up in the Dunston net. 2 – 0.


The shell-shocked Dunston team struggled to come to terms with events and Oliver Martin almost added to his

team’s lead in the 9th minute but fortunately for the visitors, his well struck shot flew just over. After this disasterous five minute spell, Dunston got a foothold in the game at last and on 16 minutes Jack Elliott made a telling run past his marker only to see his shot blocked and cleared away from the line. Two minutes later Aiden Haley made inroads into the left side of the Bay box before sending over an inch-perfect low cross to the far post where the onrushing Jordan Nellis thrashed over when well placed.


The impressive Andrei Ardelean caused more danger for Dunston on 21 minutes before a brilliant move at the

other end on 25 minutes saw Michael Pearson exchange passes with Mark Fitzpatrick before scraping a post with a low shot with keeper Tom Flynn well beaten. Dunston were now well on top but the elusive goal would not come as the Bay players, with the exception of lone striker Ardelean, protecting their penalty area and keeper Flynn pulling off a couple of brave saves to maintain their lead.  


The Dunston pressure finally paid off in the 35th minute when Liam Marrs delivered a free-kick to the edge of the box where Liam Brooks beat his man before drawing a great save from Flynn. Brooks latched onto the rebound to lash the ball into the top corner. 2 - 1.


Sensing that they could draw level before the break, Dunston piled on the pressure and went close in the 40th

minute when an exchange of passes between Dan Halliday, Mark Fitzpatrick and Liam Brooks released Michael Pearson whose low shot went agonisingly across goal and just past the far post. A minute later Flynn made a superb double save to deny Jack Elliott and Liam Brooks before saving yet again from Brooks on 43 minutes. The tall Dunston striker headed over just before the break and then Aiden Haley saw his goal-bound shot deflected over by Luke Taylor just before the half-time whistle.


Half-Time Score:  Whitley Bay  2   Dunston UTS  1


Whitley Bay almost caught Dunston cold again at the start of the second-half when they made a swift raid in the 47th minute and only a last ditch challenge by substitute defender Andrew Grant-Soulsby averted the danger. After this early scare, Dunston resumed their pursuit of an equaliser and almost got it on 50 minutes when a penetrating run by Jack Elliott saw him beat two defenders before setting up Liam Brooks whose shot was cleared off the line by Lewis Walton. Bay were defending in numbers and once again they were happy to leave Andrei Ardelean to plow a lone furrow up front. On 55 minutes it looked like Jordan Nellis had levelled things up when he made a sharp turn past his marker to send a superb shot arrowing towards the top corner only to see Tom Flynn come from nowhere to brilliantly tip the ball onto the corner of the angle and behind.


The pressure continued and the equaliser finally arrived on 61 minutes when clever interplay between Jack Elliott and Liam Brooks saw the latter release Mark Fitzpatrick into the box where he made no mistake and slotted low past the helpless Flynn. 2 – 2.


In the next few minutes Dunston continued to relentlessly go at the Whitley defence but they held firm to bravely repel the attacks. When the defenders were beaten keeper Flynn was in magnificent form and they were able to make some useful breaks with Ardelean occupying the Dunston defenders single-handedly until his team-mates could join in. With Dunston over-committing to attack, one such break-away in the 71st minute brought a rich reward for Bay when Ardelean released Craig McFarlane on the right. He made ground before feeding in Oliver Martin who cut inside before sending a low shot across Karl Dryden and just inside the far post. 3 – 2.


The goal was a body blow to Dunston but they set about turning things around again and almost succeeded in the 75th minute when only another outstanding save by Flynn denied Liam Brooks as tipped over a goal-bound header after a Jack Elliott corner. From the resulting flag-kick Brooks headed on to Mark Fitzpatrick but the keeper saved at the feet of the Dunston top-scorer. Jordan Nellis was replaced by substitute Cieran Jackson and the talented young player was immediately in the action in the 84th minute when his powerful drive from 25-yards was deflected narrowly over the bar.


 In the next minute Liam Brooks almost did the trick when he turned and smashed a shot against the post and his follow-up effort was scrambled off the line with Flynn beaten. Despite all their efforts, Dunston could not break down a resolute Whitley defence and another three points had slipped away.


Full-Time Score:  Whitley Bay  3   Dunston UTS   2


Dunston’s Man of the Match:  Liam Brooks –  Liam worked hard against his old team. He grabbed a goal and was only denied more by some inspired goalkeeping by Tom Flynn.


Dunston UTS man of the match
Liam Brooks
  Match pictures