A FAMOUS DAY FOR DUNSTON…

…AND CONFIDENCE BOOSTING WIN FOR BENFIELD

We have two reports from yesterday’s games.

The first is Mark Carruthers’ personal take on yesterday’s fantastic win by Dunston UTS over Chester FC in the FA Cup:

Right, time for a bit of brutal honesty!

I didn’t think they could do it, I wanted them to, god knows I willed them to do it, but I thought it would be a step too far for Dunston UTS.

Yes, they have a talented squad, brimming with some of the best players in the Northern League, But this was Chester, a club that have graced the Football League in the not-so-distant past.  A club in a rich vein of form in the National League North.  A club that will challenge for a place in non-league’s top tier this season.

But how could I forget? How could I disregard a competition famed for proving people wrong round after round?  How could I ignore the spirit and skill that Chris Swailes has within his grasp in the Dunston dressing-room?

But, I have to say, I couldn’t be happier to be wrong.

I couldn’t be happier to see Malcolm James and his hardworking committee visibly moved by their club’s achievements on and off the pitch.

I couldn’t be happier to see Chris Swailes embrace his emotional family within minutes of the full-time whistle.

I couldn’t be happier to see Dunston’s players fall to the floor at full-time, not in disappointment, but in elation, having given every ounce of effort they were required to give.

This wasn’t a fluke win either.

Their goals were well-worked, Karl Dryden was commanding, his defence was organised, the Dunston midfield was non-stop and the strikers were all a constant menace to the Chester backline.

They earned their place in Monday’s fourth qualifying round draw.

Dunston rewarded the 871 supporters inside the UTS Stadium with a performance that will be talked about for years to come.

The atmosphere was crackling throughout the 90 minutes, the bar was full, the tea hut was busy.

It was the sort of day that every non-league club dreams about experiencing.  They fully deserve the £15,000 prize money and the opportunity to develop the club on and off the pitch.

Dunston were a credit to the league, to the town, to the region and most importantly to themselves.

I sincerely hope that they are rewarded with the draw they want on Monday lunchtime.  And I’ll be happy to be proven wrong over and over again if it means experiencing days like I experienced today.

Dunston UTS 4 Chester FC 3 – Emirates FA Cup third qualifying round.

In the second, Mike Snowdon reports from the Newcastle Benfield v Newton Aycliffe game:

It’s amazing what a couple of goals can do for confidence.

Newcastle Benfield have got this season off to a poor start and parted company with manager Mark Convery in the lead-up to the game against Newton Aycliffe.

Three first half goals saw the game wrapped up by the interval and by the end it was a comfortable victory – which is probably just what they needed.

The experience of their front two – Paul Brayson, who was manager for the match and Dennis Knight – was crucial.

In the opening minutes Brayson had a brace of openings and was only denied a goal for the second one by Aycliffe keeper Daniel Scott getting a foot to the ball and the Benfield No. 9 tried to prod it past him.

They were both involved in Benfield’s opening goal:  Rhys Evans delivered a high ball into the Aycliffe box and a clumsy tackle by Liam Browne saw Brayson tumble in the box.  Knight stepped up to score from the penalty spot, despite Scott guessing the right way to try and save it.

Minutes later Knight sent a cross which skidded close to the Aycliffe goal-line but Browne managed to kick it out for a corner just before Brayson could get on the end of it.  Almost immediately after that chance, Knight hit the underside of the bar with a shot that re-bounded to Joe Robson who had the easy task of nodding it in.

In the 16th and 19th minute Knight had a 25 yard shot pushed out for a corner by Scott and then a turn and first time shot go just wide of the post.  Knight had actually started the game looking a bit off the pace – with a couple of poor first touches and passes going astray.

Just over 30 minutes into the game Benfield were awarded a free kick close to the corner of the Aycliffe box.  Brayson drilled it into the net to make it 3-0 and effectively the game was over as a contest.

Dale Pearson almost added to the tally when his ball fired towards the goal had to be cleared off the line by his opposite number Tom Gavin.

In the second half they didn’t have to play in top gear to control and dominate the game.

Newton Aycliffe had a game they’ll want to forget.  The fact that I didn’t make a note of Benfield keeper Andrew Grainger having to make a save tells its own story.

They only came close to scoring in the 77th minute when they had a shot hit the bar.  The best of their forward play came down the left but they weren’t able to get behind the Benfield back four to cause them problems.

Newcastle Benfield 3 Newton Aycliffe 0 – Ebac Northern League Division One