…the best team in the league

Dunston UTS 0 Ashington 0 – Ebac Northern League Division One

Dunston UTS were tonight handed the Division One trophy, capping a remarkable season for the Tynesiders.

League president George Courtney presented the trophy to captain Dan Halliday.

With a couple of games still to go, their record stands as:  Played 31, won 23, drawn 5, lost just 3.  A 74-point haul and a goal difference of +41, winning the title comfortably ahead of their nearest challengers.

And having clinched the title last week, you could be forgiven for thinking before kick-off that it wouldn’t be the most competitive of games.  The fact that there wasn’t much riding on the game seems to have escaped the players.

The champions played their usual high speed, “going for the jugular” style of football that have been their trademarks all season.  They didn’t score, but that didn’t dampen the end of match celebrations, as they said goodbye to the Northern League, taking promotion up to Step 4.

They kept pressing, they kept creating chances, but a goal proved elusive.

As for Ashington, it’s probably the best I’ve seen them play this season.  The defence were superb, and their keeper Conor Grant put in a man-of-the-match performance.  The double save he made in the 18th minute was simply superb:  first of all blocking a Liam Brooks shot and then agilely getting back to his feet to tip a Michael Pearson shot over the bar while at full stretch.

In the first half in particular they were a match for the champions.  They had fewer chances in the second half, but stood firm at the back.

But, whatever the result, the night belonged to Dunston.

Mike Snowdon