Hucknall Town battle back to rescue point at Dunkirk
Hucknall Town came back from behind on two occasions to draw 2-2 with Dunkirk at the Ron Steel Sports Ground on Saturday afternoon, writes George Wilson.
The Yellows’ leading marksman Craig Westcarr took his goal tally for the season to 19 by netting a very well-taken brace as Andy Graves’ side secured a valuable point on the road.
The opening stages of the United Counties League Division One match were fairly uneventful as both sides adjusted to the wet and windy conditions, with Hucknall making a conscious effort to keep the ball on the floor.
Town’s first significant chance to score arrived midway through the first half when the ball fell to Louis Kinnerley inside the Dunkirk box, but his low left-footed shot narrowly missed the target.
Just two minutes later, agile midfielder Jack Oldham opened the scoring for the hosts by poking the ball home at the back post after some neat build-up play on Dunkirk’s right flank.
Hucknall’s response to going behind was impressive and they pulled themselves level in the 34th minute when Westcarr curled the ball into the top-right corner of Jake Want’s net superbly with a free-kick from at least 30 yards out.
However, the Boatmen managed to restore their advantage before the break, with Oldham taking advantage of some sloppy defending to slot his second goal of the afternoon past Keaton Sharpe.
After the interval, the hosts looked to increase their advantage; Oldham went close with a free-kick from outside the box which whistled just wide of the post, before Sharpe made an impressive fingertip save to keep out Oliver Robinson’s header.
The majority of the Yellows’ attempts to find a second equaliser involved Westcarr, whose low shot had the beating of the Dunkirk goalkeeper but was cleared off the goal line by a defender just before the hour mark. The former Nottingham Forest striker also almost netted another free-kick goal moments later, but his effort flew just wide.
With just over seven minutes of normal time remaining, Town were rewarded for sticking to their principles when Joe Ashurst’s pinpoint cross from the left flank was glanced into the net by Westcarr.
On the balance of play, Hucknall thoroughly deserved their point after battling hard in difficult weather conditions and left their manager feeling more than satisfied at full-time.
Graves said: “I thought we performed excellently out there today. This is a difficult place to come and they [Dunkirk] are not the easiest side to play against but I thought the commitment and work rate shown by our lads was outstanding.
“To come back from a goal down in both halves is really encouraging because it shows that there is plenty of character in that dressing room.
“I think a draw is more than fair and we had a couple of chances to win it. I thought we were the better footballing side, particularly in the second half, and we controlled it well despite the heavy rain.”
Graves’ men will aim to extend their unbeaten run to three games next weekend when they welcome Graham Street Prims to Watnall Road.
Hucknall: Sharpe, Bartley, Brown, Sims, Short (c), Phillips, Lamb, Ashurst, Westcarr, Brian (Crawford 70’), Kinnerley (Bell 81’). Subs not used: Banister