Run and Football 2023-24 Pre-season game 3

A rainy weekend in July started with a Friday night visit to Dunston. Pre-season is well underway with multiple interesting fixtures taking place on various days. I’m drawn towards Dunston v Dartford as it should be an interesting game. National League South taking the long trip from Kent to Tyne and Wear to take on Dunston of the Northern Premier East. Dartford are two steps further up the pyramid but Dunston will be keen to do well in their first home pre-season game.

Friday Run Club is the Mark, Graham and Bruce Club again. We run a 10K route which takes in the area I’m balsam bashing that afternoon. It is my final dynamic risk assessment of the area before the school children get there at 1.15pm.The weather forecast says rain from 3pm and possible lighting later in the evening. We have some fun and help the environment pulling up Himalayan Balsam. It starts raining as I get home and doesn’t stop.

Dunston v Dartford

Shooting practice with the covered seating behind

Friday night becomes one of those weather fronts which feel like October or March but are actually July. Heavy driving rain and a couple of weather warnings in place. There is a parking space available only a couple of hundred metres outside the ground so I’m only wet not soaked when I get inside. I’ve already done my homework, making sure the covered stands are big enough for the expected crowd of a few hundred.

My first visit to the ground was at the back end of the last century to watch Dunston v Consett. I can’t remember anything about the game or the ground only the cold weather for a midweek game under floodlights. That match ended in a 1-1 draw which helped Consett who were struggling at the time.

Can shop

Sandbags Anyone?

Both the terracing and seats have adequate cover and I choose to stand between the dug outs. In normal weather I’d choose a better place to take photos but tonight I’m just going to watch from here. Before the match starts I’ve got a phone call I don’t want. Residents are contacting the village hall asking for sandbags as they are worried about flooding. An electric pole is on fire and electricity is off. They need to contact Durham County Council not the village hall is the obvious response. I spend the next 20 minutes nervously looking at my phone but the threat of flooding doesn’t materialise.

Covered terrace

Wet & Wild

I know the Wet & Wild slide park was at North Shields not Dunston but I couldn’t resist. Some interesting challenges come in from both teams but the referee seems to have water in his whistle and doesn’t give many free kicks. In the conditions this isn’t a bad plan but after a few perceived fouls the Dunston manager gets a couple of stern warnings from the referee after one too many complaints.

One of the few free kicks awarded leads to the half’s only goal. A late tackle in Dunston’s left back area creates a long stoppage in play. Despite having around 5 minutes to prepare the home side are nowhere near the Dartford attacker as he scores a diving header on the edge of the six yard box.

“It’s your last warning John”

Second Half

Five or six changes from Dartford at half time. If anything they make their team even bigger and more athletic. Early in the second half Dartford score from another set piece. A corner is headed in and a substitute rolls it on his chest and pokes home. It looks like an easy win for the darts from here but Dunston start to grow into the game.

Aerial duel

On 71 minutes a slick passing move pushes the ball out wide. A cross from the left is poked in at the back post to make the score Dunston 1 Dartford 2. The rain has alternated from torrential to light rain throughout the night and in the closing stages it seems to fall less. The pitch has held up well and both side are passing well.

Throw in on the halfway line

With only ten minutes to go an equaliser. A trialist sneaks in at the back post to score, wheeling away delighted. He has hair like Jack Grealish and has tried to play the same way since being introduced with half and hour left in the match. There are chances at both ends before the game ends 2-2. A good work out for both sides and a test in the weather conditions.

Match Highlights

Entry Fee Adults £6

Programme none

Attendance (approximately) 200

Run fun 5/10

Parking availability 6/10

Match entertainment 6/10

2023-24 Number of games attended 3

2023-24 Number of new grounds 2

Dunston FC website

Run on Strava

If you enjoyed reading Run and football 2023-24 Pre-season game 3 I’m sure you will like dipping into our other articles on Run and Football for the 2023-24 season.

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