Today’s fixture saw Dover Athletic travel to North Kent to face a strong Chatham Town side.
Dover, once again without four key players, were high in confidence after two successive league wins against top of the table Bearstead and then Hythe.
Dover altered their formation to a 4-5-1 for the first time this season, in order to counteract Chatham’s fast paced wingers. The overload in midfield yielding instant success from the first whistle. Dover, employed the high press with intense work rate not allowing Chatham any time on the ball. On three minutes, a great cross into the Chatham box by Dover’s Joe Hunnisett found new signing Amir Zureiqi in the six yard box, who duly slotted home to give the visitors an early lead. The next 40 minutes saw a combination of fast paced Dover attacks resulting in heavy Chatham defending and some great phases of play through he thirds with (at times) pin point accurate passing finding their intended targets more often than not.
The home side were limited to two break away’s inside the Dover half which were dealt with by a strong back four consisting of Calvin Jaconelli, (Captain) Alfy Galvin, Harry Saunders and Kyle Miller. Top Goal Scorer Max Brunetti-Leach, whist creating several opportunities , was unable to get himself on the score sheet.
On 44 minutes Liam Jones ran into the Chatham box using his strength and sheer determination where he managed to win the ball and stroke it home from close range making it half time Chatham 0 Dover Athletic 2.
Second half, Chatham came out fighting, wanting to compete for every ball. Their success came on 50 minutes from a fast paced counter attack down the right flank, firing home from close range to make the score line 1-2. The following 20 Minutes Dover where exposed to heavy pressure from a clearly re-invigorated Chatham, who came close to gaining the equalizer on 55 minutes.
Dover, realizing the game was now not over, begun to fight their way back once again. Both Liam Jones and Charlie Corrigan in the middle of the pitch held their positions well and fought hard for every 50/50 ball, winning most of them. There were some strong breaks down both wings from Dover wingers Nebi Adhaom and Joe Hunnisett. However, towards the last 30 minutes, Dover sensing there were more goals to come begun to once again close down their opposition at every opportunity, whilst pressing them in the final third. On 65 minutes substitute striker Cody ALLCOCK, controlled the ball from 20 yards out, turned his man and fired a great right footed shot into the bottom left hand corner making it 1-3 Dover. It was now all one way traffic, on 78 Minutes, a great run down the right hand side from Alfie Bryant provided the perfect pass to find Liam Jones who fired home his second and Dover’s 4th. Three minutes later Ben Cassingena taking to the field in his favored striker role, replacing Max Brunetti-Leach took the ball past two defenders and slotted home from close range to seal a fantastic 1-5 win for an impressive Dover Athletic side.
This result was down to hard work and individual commitment from every player, I cant ask for any more than what the lads gave today, the first half display was the best I have seen all season. Chatham are a good side, they were prevented from even getting a decent pass off for over 40 minutes. The start of the second half didn’t quite go as intended, we stepped off the gas a little, and to be fair to Chatham they came out fighting managing to grab a dangerous early goal which reduced the lead to one. We rode our luck a little, and changes were required in order to freshen up the field.
I am pleased to say all substitutes played their part today, and put in a shift. As soon as Allcock made it 1-3 the game was over, it was then just a matter of how many. I am extremely pleased with the level of professionalism showed in the last 30 minutes, slowing down the play when required and knowing when we could make the simple, effective string of passes, maintaining possession whilst puling the opposition out of shape at every available chance. Owen Harman when required made some very professional saves, it was great to see Ethan Challinor back in the squad after a back injury, who also won some very good headers in the center of midfield, and was very unlucky not to have got onto the score sheet himself, with a great first time shot from just outside the box forcing the GK to make a fantastic save.
We reclaim top spot and lead the pack going into the Christmas break by two points, with seven games remaining this season. The title is ours to loose.
Man of the Match again for the third week running goes to Liam Jones, he is growing in stature game by game, winning everything in the midfield, his distribution is usually first class, his off the ball work is also immense. Today, he scored two very well taken, important goals. Fantastic win, Fantastic attitude.
I look forward to Hollands & Blair next week at home another very strong opposition.
Manager – Chris Lynch