Match report: Two late Dunston goals condemned Cleethorpes Town to defeat
Cleethorpes Town suffered a heartbreaking late defeat at Dunston following a dramatic end to the game.
Goals from Curtis Bateson and Dec Howe put the Owls two-nil up, before the hosts fought back to claim the three points, scoring twice in injury time in the North East.
Nathan Arnold made three changes to his starting lineup that drew 0-0 draw at North Shields last week.
New signing Tom Jamieson came in for Josh Smaller, while Bateson was preferred to Harvey Tomlinson and Sam Topliss got the nod over Will Annan, who was carrying an injury.
Having survived a precautionary early morning inspection, the pitch was very heavy at the start of play, meaning the players would have to dig deep in what looked sure to be a tough battle.
Clee took the lead in the seventh minute after enduring a scare at the other end. Liam Thear crashed a drive against the underside of the crossbar, before the visitors raced up the pitch and opened the scoring through Bateson following a good switch of play.
The winger picked the ball just outside the box, cut inside and sent a left-footed daisy-cutter into the corner of the net.
Tim Lowe was in commanding form at the heart of the Owls’ defence and did well to head a Michael Pearson effort off the line near the half-hour mark.
It was then Bateson’s turn to be the provider with 37 minutes on the clock when his floated ball in was delightfully guided home by Howe, who cleverly found space to head past Daniel Staples.
Any thoughts that Clee were in for a comfortable afternoon were quickly dispelled, though, as Carl Finnigan converted a pass from Jack Elliott within 90 seconds of going two behind.
The second period become a real battle on a difficult pitch, before the game exploded back into life in injury time.
In the pick of the chances, a darting run by substitute Jon Oglesby caused trouble for the rearguard, with Pearson nearly putting the ball in his own net to gift Clee a third.
For Dunston, a Thear header from a corner went closest to grabbing an equaliser and the seven minutes of additional time was not a welcome sight for the battling Owls.
As the clock reached the 92nd minute, however, they were awarded a penalty to ensure all three points would be heading back down the A1.
There were no real protests about the referee’s decision. Young substitute Harvey Tomlinson was clearly fouled as he surged towards the byline.
Up stepped Jack McMenemy but the diving Staples spread himself to make an excellent stop and keep his side in the game.
That seemed to re-energise the hosts and a superb towering header from Sado Djalo levelled the scoreline just two minutes after the penalty miss.
In a dramatic finale, Dunston then snatched an improbable winner when a corner resulted in captain Pearson scrambling the ball home from close range to claim the victory.