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.
Onwards to Hayes and Yeading it is then.