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of the most astonishing play-off games in football history – the Hollywood ending that refused to go Hollywood’s way.

Despite Jack Spring’s film clearly having a fraction of the budget, it packs in a broader range of emotion simply by finding more time to talk to actual fans (as ever, Noel Gallagher doesn’t count). There’s also one other crucial difference that sets the Mariners’ achievement apart from City’s. Grimsby may not have won the treble, but there’s very little danger of their season ever having an asterisk added to it.

Tom Lines

The pitch which has caused a f ixture backlog for Dunston

Dunston players celebrate winning the FA Vase in 2012

Dun roamin' DUNSTON

Pain and frustration were etched on the faces of key figures at Dunston as their fixture backlog was further extended by a late postponement on the evening of February 28.

Just hours after a local referee gave permission for their Northern Premier League East home game with Sheffield FC to go ahead, the official appointed to oversee the game arrived ahead of kickoff and opted to postpone the fixture. The pitch at the club’s UTS Stadium in Gateshead was unplayable after a heavy downpour just two hours before kick-off.

The club originally known as Dunston Federation Brewery joined the Northern League in 1991-92 and have changed their name three times since. As Dunston UTS they won the FA Vase in 2012, with an FA ruling on sponsor names being incorporated into club names meaning the initials were dropped after becoming Northern League champions for the first time five years ago.

Manager Jon McDonald

The club’s upward trajectory is now under threat due to a league ruling that they had to play home games elsewhere. Since that late February night, Dunston’s home fixtures have taken place at the grounds of other former Northern League clubs, Consett and Morpeth


B E A U T Y T I M E P H O T O G R A P H Y ( 2 ) ,

Town, both of whom possess 3G pitches. However, possibly the most bizarre move was a decision to host a “home” fixture against Belper Town at league rivals Brighouse Town in West Yorkshire, some 113 miles away from the UTS Stadium.

Such has been the impact of the wet weather, the rearranged fixture against Sheffield did not take place until almost seven weeks later on April 9, as Dunston’s use of various non-League grounds continued with a thrilling 3-3 draw in a game held at Morpeth’s Craik Park. Dunston’s expenses in holding the game there were covered by an anonymous supporter.

But with heavy rainfall a persistent feature of their season, Dunston’s pitch issues have caused debts to rack up, to the extent that co-chairman and the man who led the club to their FA Vase triumph Billy Irwin believes their long-term future is “in the balance”. He explained: “Our hands are tied at the moment and it’s a good job we have a hardworking committee because they are doing everything they can to get things in order. It’s a massive hit financially, it’s killing us, and we have 23 or 24 committee members who are there every day. We’ve all been hit really hard. It’s thousands of pounds we are losing. The food cabin, the crowds, the bar, all of the takings from them are up this season – but we don’t have any




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