Sun 15
I Bird (25')
Honours even in a feisty top-of-the-table clash

Honours even in a feisty top-of-the-table clash

By Steve Beresford
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Calverton take a point against leaders Dunkirk to stay in touch in the league title race.

Calverton went in to this game 5 points behind leaders Dunkirk, knowing that defeat would seriously damage their chances of beating them to the league title. In a tense opening 10 minutes, both teams enjoyed possesion without really putting pressure on the opposition goalkeeper.

As the half wore on, Dunkirk began to get the upper hand and looked to have scored; a through ball found their striker just inside the penalty area whose shot was parried by mark Armstrong in goal. The rebound fell to another, unmarked Dunkirk player who tapped in from close range but the offside flag was up and after consulting with the linesman, the referee disallowed the goal for offside, under much protestation from the Dunkirk players and officials.

Undeterred by this, Calverton then took the lead just after the mid-point of the first half; a fine iundividual effort from Ian Bird who picked up the ball on the left wing, before cutting inside, beating one defender and firing a right-footed shot in to the far corner of the goal, the Dunkirk keeper getting a hand to the ball but being unable to prevent it from hitting the back of the net.

Calverton took a 1-0 lead in to the break but Dunkirk came out strong in the second half and the game became increasingly physical and niggly as it wore on. Ian Bird caused numerous problems down the Calverton left and after finding himself through on goal, was brutally hacked down just outside the penalty area. The Dunkirk player amazingly escaped a yellow card, as did several others who got involved in the ensuing melee as players from both sides piled in to give their 'opinion' on the situation.

Dunkirk forced a couple of good saves from Armstrong - having another good game in goal for Calverton - before finding a leveller with around 20 minutes to play; a deep cross from the left found an unmarked centre-forward at the back post who directed a powerful header past Armstrong to bring the sides level.

As the game headed towards its conclusion, Evans and Williams found themselves in the referee's book and Calverton were clinging on towards the end as Dunkirk looked for the winner that they needed. Calverton held firm though, with everyone standing up to the challenge, players throwing themselves in front of everything that Dunkirk had to offer. Carl Wall, inparticular had an exceptional ganme at the heart of the defence for Calverton.

A point leaves Calverton 5 points behind Dunkirk with 3 games in hand. Next up is a trip to bottom-of-the-table Hardly Athletic. But we can't take anything for granted...

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Match details

Match date

Sun 15, Feb 2015