Match Report: West Bridgford FC vs Dunkirk FC

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Rae’s Hat-trick wins the Derby for West Bridgford FC
21st September 2019

West Bridgford FC vs Dunkirk FC
East Midlands Counites League

Final Score West Bridgford FC 3 Dunkirk FC 0

West Bridgford welcomed their nearest rivals to Regatta Way yesterday in their sixth league match of the campaign. Dunkirk came into the game at the top of the league, with 5 wins and 2 draws from their 7 games to date. Bridgford also approached the game high on confidence following their 5-0 demolition of Selston the week before in the FA Vase.

Playing in glorious sunshine, Bridgford immediately took control of the game. On 4 minutes good work from Lloyd in the middle of the pitch released Oldham down the left, he neatly supplied John Whitehurst who was brought down by the touchline on the left side of the box. Oldham curled the free kick to the edge of the six yard box where Josh Rae was all alone to flick the ball past the Dunkirk keeper to give Bridgford the perfect start.

Dunkirk looked to respond, feeding direct balls from deep into their front three. Bridgford instead favouring getting the ball out wide to Oldham and Whitehurst and the over-lapping full backs of Ellis Williamson and Ryan Wheatley whenever possible.

On 15 minutes Bridgford doubled their lead. Rae chased down a back pass and blocked the keepers clearance. The ball spun across the six yard line with Rae arriving to the ball first. Showing great composure he checked his shot, sending the keeper tumbling past him and casually rolled the ball into the empty net for his, and Bridgford’s second of the game.

The remainder of the first half became a physical battle with cards shown to both sides. Bridgford’s midfield three of Callum Lloyd, Joe Terry and Jordan Wheatley all put in huge efforts to assert control on the game and force Dunkirk to go long with their attempted attacks. These in turn were excellently repelled by Stevenson and Richardson who put in committed performances to deal with the strong physical threat of the league leaders.

Half Time West Bridgford 2 Dunkirk 0

The second half saw Bridgford adopt a counter attack approach as they looked to see out the victory.

Tireless running from Oldham on the right and Whitehurst on the left gave them very effective outlets throughout the half. However, the shining light in the Bridgford side on the day was Rae in the lone striker role. So far this season Rae has been played out wide, however injuries to Hopkinson and Ryan Whitehurst in the lead up to the game saw him asked to play as number nine for this fixture. He consistently got the better of the 2 Dunkirk centre backs and his energy, linked with his terrific ball skills gave him numerous quality moments throughout the 90 minutes.

Chances were created for Oldham and Jordan Wheatley from fast Bridgford counter attacks, but although Bridgford remained in the ascedancy the game was not totally put to bed until the 89th minute and it was a moment of pure magic from that man Rae that sealed the win.

Picking up the ball just inside the opposition half he beat his first man and advanced towards the area, excellent support runs from Batterham and Oldham either side of him were used as decoys to confuse the final defender as he tricked his way past him too, before having the presence of mind to draw the Dunkirk keeper and dink the ball over him into the far top corner of the net. This goal sealed his hat-trick and ensured the three points would be heading to Bridgford.

A stunning goal to put the seal on an excellent team performance from Bridgford.

Full Time West Bridgford 3 Dunkirk 0

Bridgford emerge from three home games in a row against Sherwood, Selston and Dunkirk with two wins and a draw and have served up some brilliant football to watch along the way. There have been consecutive hat-tricks scored by Bridgford players in each of these games (two for Hopkinson and this one from Rae)

Bridgford move to 11 points from 6 games. They stay in 10th place in the league due to a number of teams above having played as many as three games more than them. One of those games in hand is next up as Bridgford travel to Shirebrook Town on Wednesday night, looking for three more points.

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