Thursday, 28 March 2019

Dunston UTS - UTS Stadium

Dunston UTS FC
UTS Stadium
Wellington Road
Tyne & Wear
NE11 9HE

0191 493 2935
Official Website

Ground Number: 840
Tuesday 26th March 2019
Dunston UTS 3-1 Guisborough Town
Northern League D1


The club was established in 1975 and was initially a works team of the Office of Public Sector Information. Known at their inception as Whickham Sports, they've also been known as Dunston Mechanics, Dunston Federation and Dunston Federation Brewery up until changing to Dunston UTS in 2009. They started out in local leagues such as the Newcastle City League, Northern Amateur League and Newcastle Combination. In 1987, they joined the Wearside League, winning it in 1989 and 1990 as well as finishing as runner-up to Eppleton Colliery Welfare in 1991. The following season saw them join the Northern League Division 2. They were champions within a couple of seasons and have remained in Division 1 ever since with a high of3rd in 2012 and a low of 15th in 2017. This season sees them sitting atop the table with a clear lead and games in hand and with mandatory promotion now in place, it looks inevitable that they will be playing NPL football next season.

As well as having a great season in the league, this season has also seen their record run in the FA Cup. Beating Hebburn Town, Pontefract Collieries, North Ferriby United, Irlam and most notably Conference North playoff contenders Chester, they found themselves in a 4th Qualifying Round game against Conference high-flyers Gateshead. In a game live on the BBC FA Cup stream, a sloppy start saw them lose 4-0 although they did record their record attendance of 2,520 for the game. Dunston UTS won the FA Vase in 2012, overcoming Blackwell Miners Welfare, Parkgate, Wisbech Town, Bethnal Green United, Peterborough Northern Star and Staveley Miners Welfare on the way to a 2-0 victory over fellow Northern League side West Auckland Town at Wembley Stadium. In terms of local cups, they've won the Northern League Cup six times, the Cleator Cup five times, the Wearside League Cup in 1991 as well as others whilst in lower leagues. Their most notable former player and current manager is Chris Swailes who played in the Football League for Rotherham United and Bury. He is well known for scoring the opening goal for Morpeth Town in the 2017 FA Vase Final. The club is based in the Dunston area of Gateshead, most well-known for being where footballer Paul Gascoigne spent his early years.


Usually, on Tuesday's, I do a groundhop with fellow hopper Anwar, But he was not really in the mood at the moment and extremely fussy, so when I saw the dreadful selection of games available to us, I knew it would be a hard sell. I thought about it for a few days, trying to find inspiration from the limited selection. Eventually, I came to the conclusion that I night saw would be in order, even if it meant giving my Wednesday night trip to Tipton with another hopper, Chris, the elbow. Despite it only being around 4 days before departure, I was able to secure a return on the Megabus for little more than £20 and also a single room for £18 for the Tuesday. My bed would be a coach seat on Wednesday night, but compared to the train which would cost me around £50 each way plus an extra night in a hotel, it was a good deal. The night before was a decent one, watching another great England performance as they beat Montenegro 5-1. The only negative point was some racist chanting by a small section of backward inbreds claiming to support Montenegro. I had a few drinks with the game, although not too many and I was in bed just after 10. I woke early just after 5 am and watched TV for a bit, getting up at 6.30. I freshened up and got my things together before having breakfast and leaving at 7.20. There was a small delay on my way thanks to roadworks but soon enough, I was parked up in Cumberland Close, the nearest road to Chalfont and Latimer station without restrictions. I'd allowed extra time and it was just as well as there were 'severe delays' on the Metropolitan Line thanks to a signal failure at Aldgate. I waited 15 minutes and caught the Chiltern Line to avoid the issues. It was then the usual journey across London to Victoria, then a 15-minute walk to the coach station.

I got to the station just after 9 and walked to bay 20 where my coach was leaving from. It was a pretty efficient service, being called to board five minutes before departure and leaving bang on time. I was pleased to bag a seat at the front with a good view, but not so chuffed when a bloke decided to sit next to me, despite there being plenty of seats available. Once we got going, I moved back and bagged a double seat to myself. Generally, it was a decent, if long trip and I’d certainly recommend it for the bargain price of £11.10 that it cost me. I found out from the North East Non-League podcast that Dunston UTS would be crowned champions if they gained just a point tonight, a real achievement at this point in the season. I got to Newcastle at 3.50, ten minutes ahead of schedule. It was a couple of minutes walk to the Euro Hostel where I got a fairly nice room for £18 a night. After unloading, I headed out on a pub crawl. The City Tavern was my first stop. They did their own cider, Hector’s Cloudy House. It was pricey at £4.95 a pint but tasted nice, very similar to Weston’s Old Rosie. Next up was the Mean Eyed Cat, a favourite of enthusiast ‘Cider Mike’ on Twitter where I had a pint of Gwatkins Farmhouse. I needed food by now, so headed to Wetherspoons. The Five Swans was a disappointing outlet, only a Mango fruit cider so I opted for a Strongbow with my double Tennessee burger which was £9.20, drink included. I stopped at a convenience store en route but after a pint of Hunts Cider at the Split Chimp, it was time to head off to the game. Catching a bus from Newcastle Central to St Omers Road, it was a 5-minute walk to the ground. There I paid £6 entry plus £1 for a decent programme and £1.50 for a great mince pie.

The two sides pre-match form could not have been any different. League leaders Dunston UTS were flying, winning 9 out of their last 10 league games, the only defeat coming at Sunderland RCA when they lost 3-0. Struggling Guisborough had not won for 6 games, their last win being in mid-January when they beat North Shields 2-0. It was no surprise then when the hosts took the lead after a few minutes. The goal was an extraordinary one though. An 85 yard shot from Liam Brooks was hooked off the line by a backpedalling Jordan Nixon but Mark Fitzpatrick followed up with a header. The visitors were still in the game and they got the equaliser on 14 minutes with a decent effort from Dan Earl. Neither side was consoling which made for a decent game. Guisborough had a good spell either side of half time and may well have upset the form book, but it wasn’t to be. A quick break and decent through ball from Brooks allowed Jack Elliott to slot home after an hour. From then on the hosts had much the better of the game, Elliott getting a third on 75 minutes with a low drive into the bottom left-hand corner from just outside the area. They held out for the final whistle as jubilant celebrations greeted their league title win.

So after the game, I headed back to the bus stop, practically meeting my bus at the bus stop. I had two pubs I wanted to visit. Firstly Beer Street, a nice little Micropub. The cider range was unremarkable but nevertheless, I had a pint of Weston’s Family Reserve. It was then a 10-minute walk to my second underwhelming Wetherspoons of the day, The Quayside. No real cider, so I had a pint of Thatchers Gold. The setting was nice though, right on the banks of the Tyne. I gave some spare change to a homeless bloke, cos well, some of us have been screwed over by the government more than others. I stopped at McDonald's on the way, getting a chicken selects meal before bed. It wasn’t the best but it was one of the few places that were open. I was back to my room well before midnight, where I watched Porridge and had a can of Irn Bru before going to sleep just after midnight.


The UTS stadium is a decent setup for step 5 football. I didn’t visit the bar, but the tea bar was very good, a decent range at fair prices and the pies were very nice. I can’t recall if there was much around the ground, but my pre-match research indicated that there were no pubs that I fancied visiting. The ground itself is decent, an area of cover on each side holding around 200 seated and 300 standing whilst the rest of the ground is open hard standing.

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