Today’s encounter saw high flying top of the table Dover Athletic at home against title contenders Hollands & Blair who at the start of the day sat in third place. Dover were once again without No.1 Stefan Lawrence & left back Kyle Miller who failed a last minute fitness test due to injury.
The first half saw Hollands & Blair take control for the opening 15 minutes, they were first to the ball and looked as thought they desperately wanted the result a little more than Dover did. We didn’t have to wait long before the dead lock was broken. On 10 minutes a poorly taken 25 yard free kick from Blair managed to bypass 8 players inside the Dover box, outwitting also the Dover Goal keeper and rolled into the bottom left hand side corner. On 15 minutes another set piece down the right hand side of the field produced a half decent delivery into the Dover box once again, which found the Dover’s defense sleeping, Blair’s attacking midfielder out maneuvering the center half and getting to the ball first with a powerful header striking the bar and in. So, 15 minutes played Dover Ath 0 – H&B 2.
Athletic Manager instantly made a formation change from 4-5-1 to a 4-4-2, which begun to settle a slow starting Athletic team. Within 20 minutes Dover begun to fight back. Creating opportunities, and looking solid a the back.
Second half Dover entered the field with real purpose, foe the next 45 minutes Dover were in control, limiting H&B to one decent shot on goal, whilst at the other end, creating several opportunities. The Dover midfield battled hard throughout this period, but were unable to capitalize. Unfortunately for Athletic, the damage had been completed in the first half.
Final Score Dover Athletic 0 – 2 Hollands & Blair.
The first 20 minute display was poor by our standards, as we know if you allow a team of H&B’s caliber time to play and do not match them physically the top tams will cause you damage. It was disappointing to concede the two goals in the manor of which we did. The first, our defensive units had completely switched off and the second being first to the ball is a must especially inside our own box. However, changes were made, and as a result the remaining first half performance stepped up a gear. The second half we went out and played football nearer to our standard, H&B were unable to penetrate further, and on another day we could quite easily have overturned the deficit.
For me the most pleasing performance by far was the determination and pure effort of Man of the Match Charlie Corrigan who won everything int he middle and never once gave up, he left nothing on the field.
We go into the Christmas break with an opportunity to rest those who require it, and come back fresh for the title deciding next two months. We have games against H&B Away, Bearsted Home & Faversham Away, If we win those we win the league.
Manager U18’s/Head of Youth DAFC