I dire game of football where the final whistle came as a welcome relief. Dover barely deserved a point as they continue to play turgid football. Weston were their usual self, parking the bus style tactics, but did show more endeavour those previous seasons.
Although Dover did try new tactics and dropped the Elliot Charles alone upfront idea, it still didn’t click. Elder and Bakare looked flat and non-inventive not helped by a non existent midfield. All resulting in Dover Athletic becoming very hard to watch. So five goals in seven games is pretty poor, even if the defence is one positive thing to look it we need to start firing up front and thankfully we have Sutton United away on Tuesday. Not somewhere we traditionally do very well at, so we are due a victory.
Review time again and we can look forward to a splendid afternoon of hack ball, and a showcase of defensive capabilities. As much as I couldn’t bare missing my football it is starting to become a bit of a joke. All the while I’d support Kinnear if his formation was 10-0-0 he really just has to go for it on Saturday. Yes. Weston will park the bus we must just make sure they don’t put the hand brake on. I think the crowd would be far happier to lose 3-2 then 1-0, if we have to lose at all.
Let’s leave Charles out on the bench. Look he is a great guy, and I mean that but he has had a good run that hasn’t really yielded anything. But he has done as he was told, which is why he keeps getting picked. But we have only scored four in six that suggests something isn’t working. I would get Elder, Ademola and Bakare out there to rip shreds out of Weston. Weston are a tough side to break down and prefer a tactic of anti football, normally hoping to hit teams on the break. Or at least they always do against Dover. Trouble is what happens then anti-football meets anti-football? You spend the whole game watching either goalkeeper gently trotting about getting the ball for a goal kick. Chances are rare and the time drags.
I can’t think of nothing else to say on the matter
My ongoing love hate relationship with this football has vied towards dislike after the unsavoury events on Saturday. One day I hope to see them fighting relegation one day in the Skrill Premier, but until then can we just not enjoy, and be proud of our little football club. It has huge potential that the board seem to want to alienate at every step, only worrying about the corporate angel and how to make the next bit of coin. Now of course making money is important for a club at Dover’s level but it is in the process of snipping off the main artery of income, the fans. Being treated as sub human by beings that have not long walked on two feet is an insult to us all. Anyway, I’ve done that argument. But pissing on your own fans is the lowest you can get.
I bought a season ticket this year, thinking it would be a good investment. No, so far I have seen two Dover goals in three home games. That is a crap return. I want mega football, brilliant players, and superb support. At the moment I am not liking this club, they think the fans are stupid. Well there won’t be many there tomorrow. I’m not going to spend thirteen quid on what will probably be an amazing game. Oh well, if it is it is, I still won’t be there.
A lovely sunny late summer afternoon, nothing more teasing then the walk up to Crabble. Full of expectation and hope. It ended before I even got in the ground. Bag search. They want to search my bag for my own safety. I got wound up saying things like ‘I was coming up here before you were born’, and ‘aren’t you the big man’. I actually said that to a steroid pumped meat head. I got in the ground even thought they were threatening to not let me in. Then when standing behind the goal the Head Honcho decided to start on me and my parents. It was a futile argument nearly ending in my ejection for disagreeing with a person whose IQ is that of a rock. I refused to go and they gave up. That was part one of ruining my afternoon.
I always look forward to home games but they nearly always end in disappointment. Today was no different. We had a couple of chances in the first half, all the while sticking with one up front. Why can’t we be more attack minded at home? It offers up boring football to people who have paid good money, and no disrespect to Hayes, we should be winning these home games if we want to get promoted. I think CK is trying to play like Kettering did in the nineties. Get one goal than shut up shop. It worked well for Kettering and just worked for us on Monday against Whitehawk. But we can’t get promoted playing that. Teams will suss us out very quickly and we will end up being a mid table side.
It we can asses some players we could say they did the job they was told to do. I didn’t even notice Craig Stone until mid way through the second half. Not that he played bad, but he didn’t do anything to capture the imagination. Our play makers tried their best, huffed and puffed and I don’t think Charles got more then three or four touches of the ball. Alas, it was a miserable game, which was part two of ruining my afternoon.
Hot on the heels of a topsy turvy bank holiday fixture Dover Athletic find themselves back at HQ with a big point to prove. First they need three points but that can’t happen until…until what? If we play like we have in the last quartet of games then there is a 75% chance we will win. That is a damning statistic that will gnaw at Kinnear’s conscience. Because it is a good statistic, one that is better then throwing away the big book of Kinnear tactics and starting all over again. I still think he will start with the same XI we saw start at Whitehawk, simply because it is working. How Dover fans derided Martin Hayes for squad rotation, that admittedly didn’t work, only for Kinnear to get ironic sneers for not participating in a My Football club type team selection widget. I would like to see Dover start a little more attack minded and I would start with Ademola but it’s none of my god damn business. Perhaps we should take a look at the opposition.
Hayes have an inverse record to the Whites so far this season and are languishing in the lower half but will no doubt provide tough opposition if we wish for the three points. They are managed by ex Liverpool fullback Phil Babb who was a regular in the nineties. And a return to Crabble for Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz who was our man between the sticks the season before last. I’m sure he’ll get a warm reception, he is definitely a good keeper for this level and maybe the next, but he’ll hopefully have a stinker tomorrow, and he may even run over and give me his gloves. On paper it seems Hayes have a half decent side, but it is yet to be seen if Babb has the managerial criteria to guide this side back to the Conference premier.
As with Whitehawk on Monday, Hayes and Yeading are another poorly supported club. OK, they are groundsharing with Woking and I suppose crowds of 150-200 is not bad for a club who before the switch was only getting 3-400 a game. I wonder what Dover would get if we ground shared with Ashford, or Margate. This is their 3rd season season at Woking and I wonder when they will give us all a new ground to attend. Just looking, it seems a fair way off yet before Hayes move back ‘home’. Good luck to them, but hopefully their dire start to the season will continue tomorrow, while we look back on Dover’s and wonder how we have managed it with the most defensive line ups seen at Crabble for a long time.
Nice sunny day, no car sickness, and a new ground as well. It did look as though Whitehawk had erected their 1000 seats not through expectation more ground grading issues. It felt like being at a really large Tennis match.
All though it must be said the location in the bosom of the South Downs was nice, and how many teams can boast their mascot is a chalk drawing on a hillside? Nice touch that. I don’t want to knock them but what are they hoping will happen? The crowd today was 338 and I expect half of them were Dover fans. What’s the point if you have no fan base? I would expect them to be in the lowest quartile of attendances this season. But they are not my club and I don’t know why the football people of Brighton are indifferent to Whitehawk, maybe because they can already watch a nearby club that could get into the premier league next season.
Anyway, the game. No surprises really as Kinnear opted for nearly the same tactics, again, but leaving Wynter on the bench this time. Dover showed glimpses of promise throughout the first half and were rewarded when Murphy converted a penalty. But then they just seemed to sit back to soak up increasing amounts of Whitehawk pressure. The huge diagonal slope the pitch possessed didn’t help either and it was hot enough sitting in the open stand let alone run around. But, Dover players are paid athletes, they know they will have to play some games in furnace like conditions so they should be well prepared. But they went flat, totally inert. Not through the heat I don’t think, but through the tactics employed. As an attacking force we were non existent not muster one single attack let alone testing the keeper. Whitehawk showed how they can score six goals in a game by launching blow after blow as we sat back on the ropes relying on the impressive Mitch Walker to save us. As has been said we should have got Ademola and Bakare on to run at the tired Whitehawk defence, and it is bewildering either have hardly featured yet this season. Bringing Elder on seemed to be a token gesture. He is a big, strong lad but lacks pace, and caused little bother. I think the Charles up front alone hasn’t really been the shining light we may have hoped for. He needs someone to work off. Murphy plays a little too deep to be classed as an out and out striker.
But, in saying all that, at least we won and we may look back on this result and see it as a title clincher. I’m sure we will get better, and sitting fourth with the likes of Eastleigh, Ebbsfleet, and Sutton below us is a good thing.
Coming thick and fast on the heels of a gloomy defeat Dover pack up their troubles and head to the realms of sunny Brighton where they take on another gang of new boys in Whitehawk FC. They have had the fun, like the Whites, to float straight from Ryman South to Skrill South as if the Ryman Premier was never there. I don’t know who witnessed it, though, apart from the players, because they are not the best supported of teams, which is a shame as it seems they have a lot to give the floating punter. Championships, ex-pros, Jerahl Hughes, and a bureaucratically sounding ground name, ‘The Enclosed Ground’. They haven’t found life in the Skrill South that comfortable yet, as they suffered two early defeats. But then go and thrash Dorchester, away, 6-2. Boring 0-0 I suppose it’ll be then.
They do seem to have picked up a few ex Gillingham stalwarts along with ex-white Jerahl Hughes. How we miss his tormenting of opposition defences. Perhaps he’ll overlay tomorrow and miss his bus. Also, I have just noted they have a player called Danny Mills who mucked in with five goals yesterday. I think this is a tough one for Messrs Kinnear and Leberl. I reckon they will stick with the same defensive line up that has served well for 66.66% of the season so far. Why not just go 4 4 2. Have someone to work off Charles and win the channels, maybe Ademola or Bakare. We need someone to run at defences and have support so that when/if they carve an opening someone is there to have a pop. Murphy. The man Murphy, give him the freedom to run. Scare the life out of them. Defenders will mop up long balls all day. Something to shake things up.
So Dover lose to a team that is named after a stretch of beach, is that a first? Anyway, Concord Beach did it’s shingle proud after performing the classic smash and crab on a lacklustre and below par Dover. That is not to say we did have chances because there were very few, I can only recall one good effort by Tom Murphy. He was the best player in a white shirt but seemed to disappear as the frustrations of the second half wore on. Even after going a goal behind, and with over twenty minutes left, Dover just carried on in the same vein. At every opportunity they lobbed it forward with scant regard for who the recipient may be. Orders are blast it up, so blasted it will get.
Poor old Elliot Charles. He started lively but even his keen enthusiasm wore thin before he was yanked from the scene of play; a miserable, wet, afternoon, in suburban Dover. He didn’t, to be fair, do a lot, apart from having the ball clip his hair and landing to no-one. But it’s not his fault. He was constantly marked and had little support. Surely he is ideal to get the second ball down to another forward. I can appreciate playing one up front away from home, or even those tough games like on Tuesday, but against Concord. Surely we should have gone for it and put them under lots of early pressure in the hope of nicking one or town. Then may be sit back a bit. Or mix it up a bit. Concord came with a plan, and it worked perfectly.
One last thing. I can’t believe how poor the crowd was yesterday. 1500 there on Tuesday, all happy minus 250 from Gravesend, and about 700 decided not to come back. Why? OK, it was raining. Poor excuse it was still warm and Crabble has areas to stand where you needn’t get wet, plus most people have coats and hats. The standard of the opposition. Poor excuse again. Did people only turn out to see ex-pros like Stacy Long on Tuesday or Paul Lorraine? No, so why does it matter who we are playing? I expected it to be around 900-1000 but sub 700 must make the money men wonder why they bother. Say we got into the football league did OK for a bit then started to struggle. How ludicrous it would be if we started getting crowds like 734 against Bury on a Tuesday night. Anyway that’s by the by. Football fans can be fickle I suppose.
After such a great result on Tuesday evening Dover will be looking to continue their perfect start to the season when new boys Concord Ranger visit Crabble. I have to say I know very little about Concord apart from them being based on Canvey Island and have risen from the Essex Senior league to Skrill South rather quickly, well in about six seasons. I have looked at their wiki page and there is not really much information about them, about the club or current players. The only player with a wikipedia page is an ex West Ham player I had not heard off called Tony Stokes. He seems fairly prolific scoring 78 in 124 games for Concord.
They gained a credible draw against Chelmsford the other night so they should not be taken lightly. I shouldn’t imagine Kinnear will let his players believe they are easier opponents the Ebbsfleet. They won’t be. I imagine they will be hard to break down and play one up front. I don’t think they will park the bus so to speak and may fancy getting something from the game. I think we will make hard work of it and win 2-1 but that is all part of the fun and why we turn up. Talking of turning up I would be hoping plenty will return after Tuesday match, and it would be nice to get a four figure crowd again. If we carry on in this manner we will be the best supported this season. We know there is a good fan base in Dover, it just needs a bit more success and they’ll come flooding back. But I think we will get 863. The weather may play a part, meant to lash it down tomorrow and I can’t imagine Concord bringing much of a following. Either way though, I expect they will be noisy.
A prospective line up for Dover I would expect Kinnear to keep the same as Tuesday. I thought Mr Charles held the line very line and he ran for every cause. I’d love to see him bang a few in to prove we made mistakes in letting him go before. To be fair to Charles it was the inability of the manager at the time in knowing how to get the best out of raw talent. Kinnear will get the best out of him. Really there is no need to change much apart from Harrington’s position (hope he comes back soon) needing to be filled which seems like it will be by one of the new signings today in Santos. The defence is solid with Orlu very commanding alongside Forbes who seems to has slipped into non-league football quite well. We also has a new signing, the striker Sam Akinde. He looks big, strong, and lively but very raw and I would imagine he is going to be a back up player.