Ashington 0-1 Dunston UTS
Dunston UTS 1
Ashington extended their winless run to ten matches at Woodhorn Lane on Saturday, writes Brian Bennett.
Mark Fitzpatrick’s spot-kick for Dunston UTS during the first half proved to be enough to seal all three points for the Gateshead-based outfit, but Zak Atkinson came close to an equaliser for the home side in the final minute of the 90 when his right-footer hit the bar.
In many respects, the Colliers’ performance was a mirror image of their display the previous week at Bishop Auckland where they played some neat football but lacked a cutting edge upfront.
UTS had a handful of opportunities to sew the game up but Conor Grant turned in another master-class in the home goal to thwart them.
The defining moment came in the 26th minute following the award of a contentious penalty when Fitzpatrick played the ball across for Michael Pearson whose effort struck the hand of Gez Richardson. The referee pointed to the spot and although Grant got a good fist to the ball as he dived to his left, he could not keep out Fitzpatrick’s effort.
The goal knocked the stuffing out of the Colliers who had started the game well. After only 76 seconds, the ball broke free to Atkinson who from the edge of the area, lashed a half volley wide of ex Ashington ‘keeper Karl Dryden’s right hand post. In the eighth minute, Dunston skipper Daniel Halliday and Fitzpatrick exchanged a one-two with the former firing into the side netting. A dangerous looking cross from Lee McAndrew was cleared then Fitzpatrick cut inside and his shot was charged down by Grant.
The stopper was swiftly called into the action again denying Scott Heslop with a save low down to his left - then came the penalty incident. On the half hour, a slick move by the visitors ended with Liam Marrs squaring the ball to Pearson who shot over from 25 yards. As the half drew to a close, Grant twice denied Jack Elliott and then Fitzpatrick whilst at the other end, Karl Ross – on his return from injury - drove wide from distance.
Four minutes after the break, Heslop went agonisingly close then Jack Butler fed McAndrew whose teasing cross was well defended. In the 53rd minute, Dunston spurned a marvellous opportunity to double their lead on a break from a home corner.
The visitors had three against one but Grant was Ashington’s saviour, saving from Heslop then the forward headed wide a cross from Halliday. Midway through, the determination of Atkinson saw him win the ball from a defender and set up Richardson whose cross was cleared. From the resultant corner on the right by substitute Jake Cunningham, Atkinson headed wide. Fitzpatrick missed the target with an opening in the 78th minute and minutes later, sub Shaun Vipond found Atkinson whose cross saw Richardson’s tame header taken under the bar by Dryden.
There was almost a dramatic climax to the game when in last minute of normal time, a snap shot on the half volley from 22 yards by Atkinson thudded against the bar and bounced away to safety.
*On Saturday, Ashington are away to Consett (3pm).