Today we saw a top of the table clash between Hastings, whom before the game were sitting in 1st place having played four fixtures, against second placed Dover having played three and unbeaten.
The first half was a scrappy affair where physicality and fitness played a huge factor early on. These two sides are by far the most attacking teams within the division so there was always going to be entertainment and goals.
Dover took an early lead with left winger Kyle Miller heading from close range into the bottom right corner after some great build up play down the left flank. However, it was an even match for the first 45 mins, with Hastings equalising on 43 minutes, just before half time after some poor defending from a set piece.
Second half Dover came out of the block fired up, and begun to get into the game far more. Dover created a series of chances, hitting the post and bar on three occasions in a frustrating opening 20 minutes of the second half. Hastings pushed forwards with 15 minutes left, producing a searching ball on the edge of the Dover penalty area, the Dover defence should have cleared their lines in good time, a lack of communication between the defensive units provided an opportunity for Hastings to score against the run of play, of which they duly took full advantage of making it 1-2 Hastings with 10 minutes left on the clock. The Dover manager, immediately changed to a 3-4-3 formation bringing on all Strikers to press the opposition for the final ten minutes searching for an equaliser. On 85 minutes Athletic’s Attacking Midfielder Cassingena had a goal disallowed for off side.
On 90 minutes Athletic striker Cody Allcock, after coming off the bench, levelled the score 2-2 with a close range low drive leaving the goal keeper no change. In injury time Atheltic Striker Jack Gealer found himself in the right area at the right time from 15 yards out fired home into the bottom left hand corner ensuring the three points and sending Dover top of the table maintaining their unbeaten start to the season.
Today was an important match in terms of league position. Going into the game in second place knowing we had what it takes to finish the day top of the table. Hastings offered good competition, however, we were our own worst enemy at times. We created 14 goal scoring opportunities, which none of them were converted, including hitting the bar and post on several occasions, and having a goal disallowed for offside. Our final ball was not up to standard today, over hitting a vast majority of them from advanced positions. However, we got the three points in a game which was frustrating to watch at times. The second half we begun to settle down and try to play our attractive possession based football, had we have done that from the start we would have made easier work of it.
We go again next week at home against Lordswood where we aim to play the great football we all know we can play, and maintain our unbeaten record.
Head of Youth/U18’s Manager
Dover Athletic FC