Saturday 30th April 2016 3pm
Notts Senior League Premier Division
Dunkirk AFC 3 Burton Joyce 1 ht: 2-1 att: 25
Hemagou 25, 45 (pen), Moore 65; Player 15
from Ron Steel Ground
I’d seen two games already today on the Notts Senior hop. I was told, after entering Beeston, that the third game of the day on the hop at Nottinghamshire FC was as basic as they come. Hearing this, standing next to a pitch in a park, I wondered just how basic it could get? Did Nottinghamshire FC not even have nets? Knowing the kick off was scheduled for 3.15pm, I looked for an alternative 3pm kick off, and found Dunkirk AFC, who share with their older brother Dunkirk FC, who play at step five in the Midland League. It would feel like coming up for air, seeing a proper ground with seats, floodlights and everything. As it turned out, the game was better too.
Dunkirk is an area of Nottingham and the football club were founded in 1946. Their nickname is the boatmen. They spent their early years in Notts Leagues, before moving to the Central Midlands League. In 2008-09, they became founder members of the new step six league, the East Midlands League. In 2009-10 they won the EMCL and were promoted to step five, where they remain today. Dunkirk AFC are essentially their reserves, although these teams often call themselves AFC, as a technicality to get round some league’s rules over allowing reserve teams. Like tax avoidance, but fairly harmless.
Dunkirk’s ground is just down from Greenwood Meadows’ ground, on Lenton Lane. It has the usual East Midlands backdrop of electricity pylons, but alos a nice row of Poplar trees behind one goal. There are two stands, one very temporary looking one, comprised of naked scaffolding.
The other was more impressive, in the middle of the far side, just down from some covered terrace. This was a 96 seater, four rows of gleaming white bucket seats, all unused on the day. I like the way the perimeter bar traced a higgledy-piggledy route down one side.
This was a much better Notts League game, much more open than the previous two, with both sides not worrying too much about defence. Burton Joyce, the opponents, had lost their last game 10-1 at home, so I thought they’d be walkovers, but they weren’t at all. They took the lead with a delightful lob over the keeper. The home team then showed their Dunkirk spirit to get back into the game. Hemagou showed some fine legwork in the Burton Joyc box before firing in from close range. He then put away a penalty on the stroke of half time.
Burton Joyce had a man sent off shortly after the break and from then on the game never looked in doubt. Hemagou missed a penalty, and then Moore fired in a great free-kick to make it 3-1. Bonus points for Dunkirk AFC issuing a programme, for 50p. Very unusual to get a programme at step seven, more so from a reserve side, so that was very welcome.