EMCL - Dunkirk 2 - v - 5 Gedling Miners Welfare
Boatman sunk in Gedling onslaught.
Dunkirk – v – Gedling Miners Welfare
East Midlands Counties Football League
Ron Steel Sports Ground | 15.00 Kick off
Dunkirk ………………………2 (Thomas 7’, Chaplin 46’)
Gedling Miners Welfare ….. 5 (Jepson 29’ pen, 69’, 77', Brown 38’, 60,)
The Ron Steel Sports Ground was the venue for Gedling Miners Welfare as they travelled to face Dunkirk looking to make it 7 wins on the bounce in all competitions knowing their hosts will arguably pose their biggest league test this campaign. The Boatmen meanwhile, playing at home for the first time since mid-September, were seeking to build on their latest result, a midweek cup win away at Barrow Town, whilst also not conceding in their last 3 outings.
As predicted, Gedling picked up where they left off against Kimberley Miners Welfare on Tuesday night with similar intensity and physicality intent on combating Dunkirk’s well-known robust approach, familiarised throughout the years at this level of Football. However, despite the early exchanges being played out with a sparring feel, Dunkirk didn’t take long to take the lead. A loose ball was aimlessly hooked forward with no real intent by Ben Gowling, but the ball trickled its way behind Steven Brett and Martin Holt and was pounced on by Daryll Thomas who slotted the ball through the legs of the onrushing Chris Heltorp.
Through their own admission, Gedling struggled in the first quarter hour and they failed to acquaint themselves with the long-balled approach Dunkirk adapted. Stephen Chaplin, through all his experience and know-how, could have doubled his side’s lead but he fired over. 2 minutes later, he fired into the side netting from a tight angle after a mistake from Martin Holt as Dunkirk continued to settle into the game and utilise their game plan. Though, just before the half hour, Gedling, who had failed to register any meaningful attempt on goal, were handed a chance, quite literally, to get back into the game.
After fine work from Dwayne Brown from the wide right, his cross was inexplicably handled by Oliver Robinson and referee Mr. Swain made no hesitation in pointing to the spot under no real complaints from the home side. Jack Jepson stepped up and calmly fired the penalty in to the bottom right-hand corner, evading the dive of home custodian Liam Mitchell to equalise.
As the half wore on, and the tenacity between the both sides intensified, chances came few and far between. Gedling, now stable and accustomed to the direct approach of Dunkirk, came into the affair and were arguably the better team as the half-time interval neared, and it got even better for the men in yellow as they found themselves 2-1 ahead. An arched ball by Holt found the path of Brown who, with inventive foresight, lobbed the ball over the committed Mitchell as the ball bounced its way toward goal before nestling into the unaccompanied net.
The team talk at the half, one assumes, must have centred on Gedling’s complacency in the early stages of the second half, knowing full well that Dunkirk will retaliate in falling behind. However, only a minute after the restart and all of Gedling’s collated messages and notes were thrown out of the metaphoric window, but not without incident.
A floated free kick by Tim Berridge, arguably Dunkirk’s brightest spark, was met at the far stick by Chaplin and his header, though parried by Heltorp, was deemed over the line by assistant Referee Thomas Buhse despite reports suggesting that the ball was several feet in-play much to Gedling’s bemusement and dismay as their continued protests delayed the restart.
Much like the first, the second half continued to limit both sides in front of goal, but the tough-tackling and forcefulness persisted as it became apparent that no side wanted to finish the game on the losing end, and on the hour Gedling showed such intent by taking the lead for the second time. After fantastic hold-up play by Jepson, characteristic of his style, his delightful penetrating pass found the path of Brown who slotted home into an open net after rounding Mitchell, who again had committed himself to meet the trajectory of the pass.
Once again, Dunkirk, finally realising they were competing against a stubborn and forward-minded Gedling, knew they had to respond and to their credit were nearly rewarded with their second equalising goal with what would have been the best goal of the game, but Ben Gowling’s left footed effort thundered back off the crossbar from 20 yards. However, despite Dunkirk going the closest without actually scoring at one end, the visitors all but sealed the game with their 4th of the afternoon on 69 minutes.
Once more, an innocuous through ball, this time by the commanding Jay Knight intended for but left by a knowingly offside Dwayne Brown, was seized upon by the pace of Jepson who cleverly found the top corner via the outside of his boot as he and his teammates knew that their 7th win in as many games was in sight. A real fine effort by the young striker who has proved that his summer move from Aylestone Park was real shrewd business by the Miners.
This was no doubt Gedling’s finest performance of the season and their togetherness, conjoined with some sublime football and methodology, really made it a pleasure to watch as Dunkirk had no answers. Their players and previously loud technical area were subdued as Gedling continued to pour forward in droves, despite the 2 goal cushion, a reflection of their game management and the impressive attacking football on display in abundance so far this season.
13 minutes from the end, and to add the cherry on top of a very tasty cake, Gedling topped off their 5-star performance with their 5th goal. Now stretched, the Dunkirk defensive line could not cope with the relentless and tireless pressure of Jepson and home skipper Pat Newsome was an unfortunate victim by steering the ball into his own net, but via a nudge from Jepson's outstretched toe as his reaction told a very sad tale that summed up the Boatmen’s sorry afternoon. Later, the dubious goal committee awarding the effort to Jepson that completed his hat-trick and taking his tally to 12 for the season.
As the full-time whistle blew, Gedling’s players and staff congregated in unison as it was evident they were overjoyed with arguably their finest result and performance so far this season. Their 7th win on the spin is an unmatched club record in many a year and they aim to continue such a fine run as they entertain Radford next Saturday (21st) at Plains Road, with a 3pm kick off.
Gedling Miners Welfare Men of the Match –
Jack Jepson and Dwayne Brown
– Mr. Simon Swain
– Mr. Thomas Buhse and Mr. Fanran Meng
Dunkirk – Liam Mitchell, Oliver Robinson (Joel Howes 74’), Will Rawdon, Oliver Clark, Toby Moore, Pat Newsome (c), Ben Moore, Ben Gowing (Adrian Lang 67’), Stephen Chaplin, Daryll Thomas, Tim Berridge.
Unused Substitution – David Robinson
Caution– Mitchell (dissent 71’)
Gedling Miners Welfare – Chris Heltorp, Joe Evans, Lance Cunningham (Ross McCaughey 51’), Steven Brett, Martin Holt, Jay Knight (Jordan Whitehead 78’), Dwayne Brown, Jimmy Spiers (c), Joe Meakin, Jack Jepson, Jurgen Charlesworth (Alex Clarson 79’).
Unused Substitutions – Chris Marks and Keaton Sharpe
Cautions - Cunningham (foul 34’), Evans (foul 82’)
Match report compiled and edited by Marc Williams