In an enthralling encounter where the fortunes fluctuated, Basford were looking to go one better than their first team who had been beaten in the Saturday Senior Competition just three days before and it looked on the cards as early as the fourth minute, as Jack Duffy’s well flighted cross, fell for Zaire Birchall Jackson to fire home a stunning half volley, to put them ahead. It could have been two, shortly after, when Dunkirk forced a corner that was cleared up field to Duffy, who advanced on goal but fired over from an acute angle
However, a remarkable three minute period turned the game on its head.
With eighteen minutes gone, Dunkirk’s George Harrison deftly supplied Ellis Read whose cross picked out Thomas Moore to head back across goal for Tim Berridge to slot home and two minutes later they were ahead, as Berridge found himself in the right place at the right time again, volleying in Harrison’s cross and they added to their advantage within sixty seconds, with Berridge returning the compliment by releasing Harrison, who coolly slotted the ball under the advancing ‘keeper.
The game could have been over as a contest soon after but for two stunning saves by Danny Brown within a couple of minutes. Firstly, he finger tipped just wide a low drive by McKenna Parton and soon after he repeated the feat to thwart Sam Harbottle.
However, it was Basford who created the next opportunity but Dunkirk’s custodian Ryan Howes proved himself the equal of his counterpart by brilliantly saving Harry Wakefield’s close range strike.
Basford did have the ball in the net through Burchell-Jackson but a foul was given for a push on Pierce Bird and then, with a minute of the first period left, Dunkirk’s Parton sent Berridge away down the left and his cross picked out Harbottle whose back heel was easily saved to leave the score 3-1 in Dunkirk’s favor at the break.
Basford made a couple of changes at the start of the new period that seemed to lift them, as they great opportunity, with Duffy through on goal. His ball is tipped by Howes on to Wakefield, who from five yards out saw his back heel fall to Duffy but he fired straight at Howes who gathered.
However, it wasn’t long before United’s pressure told, as. Bettison Paixao smashed a tremendous shot from twenty five yards to reduce the arrears on the hour.
Dunkirk immediately retaliated, for Harrison’s corner to be headed back across goal by Bird for Harbottle to crash a header against the underside of the crossbar and down, to be hacked clear and Basford capitalised on their reprieve to breakaway and level the scores.
Unfortunately, the otherwise faultless Howes was at fault, as he failed to deal with a high ball that fell for the lurking Malcolm Podier to drill home with twelve minutes remaining.
This set the game up for a tense finish and it was Dunkirk that emerged with the winner, following a long clearance that fell into the path of Man-of-the-Match; Tim Betteridge, who was brought down by Brown to concede a clear penalty.
Berridge was injured in the challenge and after a lengthy delay left the field of play, leaving Sam Harbottle with the tension filled responsibility of taking the crucial kick. The striker proved he was cool under pressure and finished comprehensively to complete an excellent, enjoyable game in favor of his AFC Dunkirk colleagues.
The Trophy was presented by The Nottinghamshire FA Chairman; Brian Hambidge supported by fellow Board Director and Chair of the Open Age Committee; Peter Adams.
Match report courtesy of John Wheat, Nottinghamshire FA Board Member
Photographs courtesy of Alexandra Johnson Photography www.alexandrajohnsonphotography.co.uk @ASJphotography