The home side under the new management team of Craig Clark and Dave Robinson and supported by the experienced Jimmy Albans soon took control though on a heavy playing surface.
The youthful Dunkirk team began to dominate the game and it came as no surprise when Oliver Clark tapped home via the post in the 14th minute for a Dunkirk lead. 1-0 (Dunkirk)
Dunkirk captain Tom Maddison and Oliver Clark were controlling the game from midfield allowing wingers Ben Fairclough, on loan from Lincoln United, and Ben Gowing licence to get forward giving the Bridgford full backs of Erentz and McCaughey a torrid time – thankfully for the visitors Martin Kearney made two excellent saves.
In the 28th minute though the home side deservedly doubled their lead – Oliver Clark was left completely unmarked from a Ben Gowing corner to stab the ball home, his second of the game.
HT 2-0 (Dunkirk)
Bridgford made a half time substitution bringing on the enigmatic Abou Sylla for Tom Coole – how apt a Frenchman at Dunkirk. Sylla had an immediate impact on the game with his direct running and pace sparking a resilient Bridgford fightback.
The midfield quartet of Aaron Large, Kevin Spriggs and Jamie Spiers had now sprung to life and were starting to influence the game and despite the reds missing skipper Jonathan Ventrella his replacement Dave Belshaw made a superb goal line clearance.
Both sides made tactical substitutions as the heavy ground took its toll. Akintomide Jayeiola was introduced along with Will Heath for West Bridgford – Heath returning after a 5 month lay off through injury.
Sylla continued to run at the Dunkirk defence and on the 68th minute he found Aaron Large who delightfully curled the ball into the top corner. 2-1 (Dunkirk)
Bridgford continued to surge forward – Pat Newsome missed a free header from 6 yards and Tim Hopkinson shot wide.
Back came Dunkirk with Rob Norris and Steve Chaplin forcing two great saves from Martin Kearney. In the 85th minute Dunkirk’s Oliver Clark was unlucky to be shown a second yellow card for an innocuous looking tackle.
The home side held on despite late Bridgford pressure and secured all three points..
FT 2-1 (Dunkirk)
Man Of The Match: Abou Sylla
Joint Manager Chris Marks was disappointed after the game, he said, ‘The first half was our worst display of the season with an excellent Dunkirk side taking full advantage, the second half was much better but we’d given ourselves too much to do’