DOVER ATHLETIC (1) 2 ALTRINCHAM (0) 1
played on Tuesday, 17 March, 2015, at 7.45pm
As if a 550-mile round trip to Dover for a Tuesday night fixture was not a challenge enough, Altrincham took to the field at The Crabble without five of their regulars. Out injured were captain and right-back Shaun Densmore, goalkeeper Stuart Coburn, left-back Adam Griffin and midfielder Simon Richman. In addition, top scorer Damian Reeves only started from the bench.
On a cold and misty night, Dover took an eleventh-minute lead when Deverdics drove a low shot from left of goal into the far corner of Dave Parton's net from outside the box.
But, for much of the remainder of the half, Altrincham enjoyed plenty of possession yet scarcely troubled the Dover goalkeeper Rafferty.
The second half was scrappy. Altrincham seemed to have rescued a point, eleven minutes from time.
Stand-in captain Gianluca Havern poked the ball home after it had pinged around the Dover penalty area following an Altrincham corner from the right.
But defensive hesitation, just seven minutes later, rendered their long journey fruitless. After Parton had done well to beat out a 25-yard shot, Dover crossed the ball from the right and Deverdics was left unchallenged to score from close range.
- 11 mins: Nicky DEVERDICS (Dover Athletic 1 ALTRINCHAM 0)
- 79 mins: Gianluca HAVERN (Dover Athletic 1 ALTRINCHAM 1)
- 86 mins: Nicky DEVERDICS (Dover Athletic 2 ALTRINCHAM 1)
REFEREE: Mr Craig Hicks.
Altrincham welcomed back Tom Marshall from suspension but the visitors were without injured captain Shaun Densmore, goalkeeper Stuart Coburn and Simon Richman (also both injured) as well as left-back Adam Griffin (work commitments). Leading scorer, Damian Reeves, was named only on the bench. So it was a much changed back line of centre-back Scott Leather at right-back, Tom Marshall returning from suspension, Luca Havern, elevated to captain, and winger Nicky Clee at left-back, which started the game for Altrincham.
DOVER ATHLETIC (White shirts, black shorts, socks): 30. Andy Rafferty, 29. Connor Essam (c), 15. Sean Francis, 5. Sean Raggett, 6. Richard Orlu, 7. Ricky Modeste, 17. Nicky Deverdics, 4. Chris Kinnear, 16. Tyrone Stirling, 14. Stefan Payne, 10.Tom Murphy. Subs: 3. Tom Wynter, 11. Barry Cogan, 21. Adam Mekki, 28. Solomon Taiwo, 31. James Poole
ALTRINCHAM (Yellow and blue). 17.Dave Parton, 6. Scott Leather, 5. Gianluca Havern (c), 16. Tom Marshall, 11. Nicky Clee, 26. Jordan Sinnott, 25. Peter Cavanagh, 4. Jake Moult, 7. James Lawrie, 19. Ryan Crowther, 14. Kyle Perry. Subs: 9. Steven Gillespie, 18. Sean Williams, 10. Damian Reeves, 1. Stuart Coburn, 20. Joel Swift
Mike Garnett's records show the record of previous matches between Altrincham and Dover Athletic. Alty had drawn the reverse fixture 2-2.
- Home: P6-W3-D2-L1-F13-A6
- Away: P5-W2-D2-L1-F11-A7
- All: P11-W5-D4-L4-F24-A13
On a chilly and misty night at The Crabble, Dover kicked off on what seemed a good surface, and with the stiff breeze against them. They won an immediate freekick inside the centre circle.
Despite the lengthy trip on a midweek day, Alty enjoyed good vocal support from several dozen supporters and their side was soon awarded a freekick when playing advantage would have suited them better (3 mins).
Perry was deployed alone up front and soon a foul by Cavanagh near half way led to a Modeste shot being blocked and a corner being conceded by Havern. After Kinnear had fouled Moult, Marshall's ambitious 55 yarder from the freekick had to be carefully tipped over the bar by Rafferty for an Alty corner. Following this, a Moult cross gained a second corner. After that, Lawrie volleyed across the face of goal (8 mins).
Soon after Moult had brought the ball down well but then misplaced a pass, Dover scored out of nothing. Deverdics received the ball in an inside-left slot and hit a good, low shot across Parton into the far corner of the net (11 mins).
Altrincham continued to see plenty of the ball. Following a foul on Moult, 40 yards out, a Clee freekick was cleared. But it was again Dover who came nearer to a goal as another shot from the left by Payne just cleared the bar (18 mins).
Now, Francis pulled over Perry, 35 yards out, but Marshall glanced his header disappointingly wide from Sinnott's freekick (19 mins). Altrincham continued to have more possession than Dover and, following a throw near half way, a decent Clee shot just flew over the bar (22 mins). Next, a Moult run, prompted by a Clee advance, came to naught.
But a sloppy spell followed as, in quick succession, Sinnott mis-controlled and lost the ball, Parton sliced a kick into touch and Leather did the same. When Essam took out Crowther from behind, with a very poor challenge, he was fortunate just to see yellow (26 mins).
Despite their superiority in terms of possession, Altrincham were not causing any serious threat of a goal. However, from a Lawrie break, a Clee shot won a corner on the left but it was poorly taken by Lawrie (29 mins). Soon, another Alty corner arrived, from a deflected Perry shot. After 34 minutes Perry was set running forward but miscontrol prevented his getting clear.
Dover came to life when an underhit pass back to Havern by Sinnott led to Deverdics getting in a shot, which went just wide (36 mins). Indeed the home side were not at their best as Raggett and Orlu were clearly heard swearing at each other (40 mins). Yet it was Alty who looked the more vulnerable at the back and it took an important Marshall interception to halt the next Dover probe (42 mins).
Just before the break Sinnott's 22-yarder went wide, so half-time arrived with Alty trailing despite having had more of the ball. However, they had not seriously troubled Rafferty other than from Marshall's long freekick.
|Half-Time: DOVER ATHLETIC 1 ALTRINCHAM 0|
As the mist got a little worse, Dover appealed for a foul as Parton collected an alleged Havern back-pass (48 mins). At the other end, a Perry shot was blocked and a Sinnott shot deflected to the keeper. However, the play was generally scrappy.
After Essam had gone down exaggeratedly from a Clee challenge, a Dover corner followed, but to no effect. Play stuttered on uninispiringly before Murphy won a corner (56 mins). Kinnear now fouled Moult before a Murphy shot hit Marshall and won another corner (58 mins).
From this, a very clear foul on Parton forced him to drop the ball into his own net but Alty were given a freekick (59 mins). When Alty won a freekick, 35 yards out right of centre, it was poorly taken by Sinnott. Another warning from Dover came as a Payne snap-shot just cleared the bar.
For the second time in the game, Parton slipped over in kicking the ball before he made a fine stop from Payne inside the Alty box. The resulting corner led to a second corner but in the 67th minute Alty introduced Reeves for Crowther.
Dover went forward again and a corner came off Havern. But Alty then went close as Perry rolled a ball into the box, where the arriving Reeves flicked a difficult chance wide at the near post (69 mins). Dover replied as a Murphy cross flew across the face of Altrincham's goal.
After Modeste had tripped Leather, Lawrie was tripped on the edge of Dover's box and a card was shown to Raggett. Unfortunately, Sinnott hit his freekick into the wall (72 mins). Dover brought on Poole for Payne (73 mins) and then Cogan for Modeste (75 mins).
Alty had yet to work the Dover keeper and when Sinnott broke upfield, a poor Perry cross followed before Reeves won a corner on the right. Lawrie's corner was cleared for a second right-side corner. From this, the ball pinged around the box and was cleared off the line before Havern scored to make it 1-1 (79 mins).
Immediately after this, Clee missed an aerial ball but the unmarked Murphy hit a weak shot to Parton. After a melee in the Alty box, Dover had the ball in the net only for it to be ruled out for an infringement (84 mins). However, two minutes later they did score. A long shot was beaten out by Parton but indecision in defence allowed the ball to be played in from the right where an unmarked Deverdics netted easily (86 mins).
Now Williams came on for Sinnott (87 mins) but it soon took a fingertip save by Parton to keep out Dover. In the three added minutes, Dover had to head an Alty effort off their own line for a corner but Marshall headed this wide. Wynter belatedly replaced Murphy (90+3 mins) just before the final whistle confirmed a defeat for Alty.
With a weakened side and after a long trip to Kent, they had put up a decent performance but shown little threat in front of goal. They are currently limping rather than surging over the line of ensuring survival in the Conference's top flight with a small squad hit by untimely injuries.
|Full-Time: DOVER ATHLETIC 2 ALTRINCHAM 1|