Two goals from Mark Fitzpatrick gave top of the table Dunston UTS a 2-0 win over North Shields; whose losing streak in the league now stretches to four.
After an evenly contested first half, the league leaders opened the scoring shortly before half time when Fitzpatrick broke the offside trap before firing home from close range.
The Robins almost levelled early in the second period when both Gary Day and Jordan Summerly struck the post in quick succession.
However, a late penalty converted by the league’s top goalscorer ensured the Robins poor run of form in the league continued.
After a wind-affected opening to the game, Duston carved out the first chance on goal in the 10th mintue when forward Liam Brooks tried his luck from the edge of the box, only to see Michael Robinson make a comfortable save
Chances for either side were few and far between as the wind and rain took ahold of the first half. However, in the 28th minute, Paul Robinson carved his way through the Dunston midfield, only for his dangerous cross to be cut out by a defender.
Almost immediatly at the other end of the pitch, UTS were once again probing away at the Robins back line; with another comfortable save from Robinson this time denying Fitzpatrick.
As the half wore on, the league leaders were beginning to dominate time in possession but still couldn’t breach the hosts’ defence. Jordan Nellis tried his hand in the 36th minute but his effort sailed harmlessly over and out of the stadium.
Chances were now starting to fall the visitors’ way and in the 38th minute, a Fitzpatrick shot, following a cross from Nellis, skipped narrowly wide of the goal.
Unfazed by his miss, Fitzpatrick went one better only one minute later when he managed to beat the offside trap, from a cross, before hammering the ball past Robinson; giving Dunston their lead.
Sensing the opportunity to double the score, Nellis took matters into his own hands in the 41st minute when he had the ball on the edge of the box. Despite better options, the striker attempted to curl the ball into the corner of the net, missing the target by a couple of inches.
The pressure from the visitors wasn’t relenting at the start of the second half as in the 48th minute, a Fitzpatrick effort struck the bar before Nellis somehow managed to put the rebound wide from about two yards out.
Dunston were continuing where they had left off in the first half and in the 53rd minute, a mazy run from defender Liam Marrs saw the former Darlington player through on goal. Thankfully for the Robins, the in-form Robinson charged off his line to block his eventual shot.
The Robins had vastly improved in the second half and following one or two Dunston chances early on, they began to have far more of a say on proceedings. In the 55th minute, Jack Donnison went on a brilliant run down the right hand side, only for his fabulous cross to be cut out by a scrambling defender.
With their tails now up, the hosts came within a whisker of drawing level in the 58th minute. Following a brilliant turn, Day unleashed a ferocious shot which beat the keeper but smacked against the base of the far post. Summerly then collected the ball on the rebound but his effort then brushed off the outside of the post before the ball was eventually cleared.
Dunston knew they got away with one the and almost immediatly burst forwards themselves. On the break, Fitzpatrick charged in to the Robins box before going down under a challenge from Kevin Hughes. With every visiting player and fan appealing for a penalty, the referee adjudged Fitzpatrick to have dived and swiftly booked the striker.
The game was very back and forth now, with both teams causing trouble. As the game entered the 66th minute, Brooks rose highest to head a freekick towards goal, only to see the ball cannon off the crossbar before it was scrambled to safety.
Having been brought on for Josh Nearney at half time, Jack Cooper came within inches of scoring the equaliser in the 72nd minute. After some good midfield play, Cooper stormed down the left-hand side of the Dunston area before firing a shot which bobbled only inches the wrong side of the post.
With Dunston looking as though they were going to hold on for a narrow 1-0 victory, they were handed a chance to kill the game off late on after being awarded a penalty for a foul on Fitzpatrick.
Stepping up to take the spotkick himself, he sent Robinson the wrong way to double the lead and secure the victory as well.
Final Score: North Shields 0 Dunston UTS 2
Referee: Graeme Hopper
North Shields Starting Eleven: Michael Robinson, Jack Donnison, Jordan Summerly, Gary Ormston, Josh Nearney (Jack Cooper 45), Kevin Hughes (c), Cam Cunningham (Sean McRoberts 71), Craig Spooner, Gary Day, Gareth Bainbridge, Paul Robinson (Callum Johnston 77)
Yellow Cards: Michael Robinson 89
Unused Substitutes: Greg Purvis, Chris McDonald
Dunston UTS Starting Eleven: Karl Dryden, Liam Marrs, Daniel Halliday (c), Aiden Haley, Andrew Grant-Soulsby, Daniel Capewell, Callum Elliott, Michael Pearson, Mark Fitzpatrick, Jordan Nellis, Liam Brooks
Yellow Cards: Mark Fitzpatrick 59
Unused Substitutes: Craig Scott, Niall Harrison, Kieran Jackson, Jack Elliott