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Deeping Rangers make FA Vase progress with victory over Dunkirk

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Deeping Rangers continued their impressive FA Vase form to book their place in the first round for the fifth successive season with victory over Dunkirk on Saturday.

Having accounted for lower level Holwell Sports in the last round, Deeping defeated United Counties League Division One side Dunkirk in the second qualifying tie at the Haydon Whitham Stadium.

Will Bird followed up his hat-trick in the last round by a bagging a brace with Ta'i Williams and Luke Steele also on target for the Clarets against a Dunkirk side who played three-quarters of the match with 10 men following a first half dismissal.

Will Bird scored twice for Deeping. (51641929)
Will Bird scored twice for Deeping. (51641929)

It's now seven goals in two Vase victories and none conceded for Daniel French's side who will travel to face league rivals Newark FC in the next round.

French said: "Dunkirk were quite physical and it would have been interesting if it had stayed 11 versus 11 after the way the first 15 minutes had gone.

"They looked to unsettle us and caused us a few problems but we dealt with it quite well. It wasn't like we were under pressure though.

"You have to play the game as it happens and we played well for the rest of the first half.

"We then spoke about managing the game at half-time which we did and all our goals were really pleasing.

"We were patient and moved them around which was really good. We played the 11 versus 10 really well.

"We played with quality and pace which was nice considering we have blown a bit hot and cold in that final third this season.

"We have either been on it or not and haven't really had much of an in-between so it was nice to score four goals and keep a clean sheet and get through to the next round."

It was the visitors who created the best opening early on it needed a fine save from goalkeeper Dan Swan to keep the Clarets ahead.

The Deeping goalkeeper got down low to turn a shot around the post from Christian Hatley before Dunkirk fired another effort past Swan's goal.

The visitors were then reduced to 10 men midway through the first half when Jack Reid was red-carded for a high foot on Jack Bloodworth as he went to head the ball and their protests saw the Dunkirk manager also dismissed from the dug-out.

Deeping then had to substitute the returning Robbie Ellis after he sustained a knee injury and he was replaced by Ta'i Williams on his return after a spell on the sidelines.

And Williams made an instant impact as he beat his full-back and was then brought down to give Deeping a penalty on the half-hour mark which Bird despatched to give the Clarets the lead at the break.

They then doubled their advantage six minutes after the restart when Deeping broke swiftly after defending a corner and the ball was moved out to Jones De Sousa whose cross was swept home by the returning Williams.

Bird headed home another well-worked move for his second and Rangers' third goal after 56 minutes to effectively end the contest.

Substitute Luke Steele then saw a header cleared off the line before he completed the scoring in the 92nd minute when he rounded off another fine move as Bird's cross was laid off by Matt Carter for Steele to tap home.

It capped a fine all-round performance by the Clarets who had brought Bloodworth and the impressive Jake Walton back into their starting line-up while Williams made a welcome return after missing several games through injury.

French added: "There were other things away from the result which was really positive with several of the boys getting good minutes.

"We wanted to get through obviously but, if you can do it in a manner where it ticks other boxes as well, then that's good."

Deeping: Swan, Flack (Carter), Bloodworth, Burton-Jones, Hunnings, Walton, De Sousa (Steele), Ellis (Williams), Bird, Wilson, Brown. Subs not used: Coulson, Cowles, Showler.

Attendance: 119.

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