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Kingstonian 1-3 Dover Athletic

Kingstonian welcomed Dover Athletic to Kingsmeadow this afternoon in one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the season. With a new manager installed during the two week break between games, and Alan Dowson's reputation for getting the best out of a group of players preceding him, hopes of a new beginning began to resurface amongst the fans. However, a quick check of the form guide was enough to instill some reality into this afternoon, with Kingstonian having won only one home game in the last four, with a goal difference of minus four.

The warm up

With all three of Dowson's new signings on the pitch at the start of the game, Kingstonian kicked off towards the Athletics Ground. An early attack, begun after a free-kick, saw Gary Drewett collide with Dover's Humphrey. The innocuous challenge left the Dover fullback requiring treatment from the physio, but he was fit to continue.

The early stages of the game belonged to Kingstonian. Clever movement, and a solid cross from the left wing allowed Wes Goggin a free header inside the penalty box, which flashed wide of the near post. Dover then mounted a counter-attack, forcing the ball into Kingstonian's box, before K's stopper Luke Garrard punched out for a corner, which was cleared immediately.

As the ball broke forwarded, a wonderful one-two between Goggin and Martyn Lee, beginning in the centre circle, allowed Goggin a free shot from the corner of the box, this time going wide with the aid of a Dover boot. Although the resulting corner was again cleared, Asher Hudson was able to move the ball up the right flank, winning a throw for Richard Taylor. Taylor picked out the lively Goggin on the edge of the box, but Goggin's long range bicycle kick had more style than substance, and found the safe hands of Smith in the Dover goal.

As the first half progressed, Dover began to find their feet in the game. Cloke shot narrowly wide of the post after a free-kick on the edge of the Kingston box, and Richard Taylor nearly committed the defenders cardinal sin, when a mistimed clearance went over his own head and into the path of Dover's No. 9 Dryden. Fortunately for Taylor, Garrard had read the danger, and his reaction was sufficient to gather the ball safely before Dryden could reach it.

Kingstonian's concentration was beginning to slip by this point. Spiller, the Dover Captain, lofted a free-kick high and deep into the box. Garrard came for it, but fell over one of his defenders, leaving a free header for the attacking team, which fortunately blew out for a goal-kick.

With Dover mounting waves of attacks, Garrard was forced to produce a moment of brilliance. A free-kick from the left wing, curled into the near post, saw the Kingstonian stopper rise out of a sea of bodies to parry the ball. A Dover attacker picked up the loose ball, and rifled a shot back at Garrard, who was by this time on the floor. Garrard picked himself up and with Herculean effort threw himself back down, to again parry the ball out. A further shot was driven wide, relieving the pressure of the attack.

As frustration mounted in the Kingstonian ranks, Craig Lewington threw himself into a late challenge on Spiller, leaving him flattened and requiring the attention of the physio. The referee immediately removed Lewington from the melee of angry Dover players, before producing a Yellow card.

Moments later, Kingstonian produced some good build up play, Hudson releasing Martyn Lee, who threaded the ball between defenders and into the path of Goggin. Humphrey's resulting challenge on Goggin provided the game with its biggest talking point to date. Whilst there was nothing malicious in the challenge, there was a clear push on Goggin, which the referee spotted, awarding a penalty to Kingstonian on 36 minutes, Bobby Traynor stepped up to slot Kingstonian into the lead on his debut.

The penalty

Kingstonian 1 - 0 Dover Athletic (36 mins)

However, a few moments after the excitement had died down, Craig Lewington was dismissed, after receiving his second yellow card. Dover then worked the ball into the box, only for Kingstonian to concede a corner. The ball was swung out to the far post, where Humphrey rose above his marker to plant the ball in the back of the net with a convincing header.

Kingstonian 1 - 1 Dover Athletic (42 mins)

After half time, Kingstonian came out with renewed energy and passion. An early Martyn Lee free-kick from the left nearly caught Smith unaware, and a deep cross from Hanson on the right wing had to be gathered up at the second time of asking by the Dover stopper.

It looked as though Dowson had reminded his players that the game was still there to be won, and for large parts of the game Kingstonian responded, exerting pressure by utilising both flanks. A Steve Symes corner from the right saw the increasingly unsteady Smith flap, and from the following corner came shouts for a second penalty, as Goggin found himself floored in the box.

Steve Symes was looking lively down the left, and a well judged low cross from the wing flashed across the face of goal, with no-one able to put the boot in. Gary Drewett nearly released Goggin, running through the centre of the pitch, only for the ball to bounce off his heels and be cleared to safety.

As the second half wore on, it became abundantly clear that Kingstonian would not be able to continue at the pace they had begun with. Gradually Dover began to re-assert themselves. A deep cross from Browne on the right was just headed wide, and shortly afterward Dover were awarded a free-kick right on the edge of the box.

As the Kingstonian wall crept forwards, the referee halted play and marked the 10 yards out for the defenders. Spiller, the only Dover player standing over the ball, curled a perfect free-kick into the near post, dropping just before it reached the crossbar and curling into the inside corner of the netting.

Kingstonian 1 - 2 Dover Athletic (79 mins)

Having fought so valiantly with 10 men, Kingstonian heads began to drop. A goalmouth scrambled was insufficiently cleared. As it was driven back across the face of the goal, and through the outstretched legs of both teams players, Dover's Dryden kept his head long enough to toe-poke the ball into the goal.

Kingstonian 1 - 3 Dover Athletic (81 mins)

With the game virtually over Kingstonian became stretched across the pitch. Dover began looking for a fourth, asserting even greater control, particularly in the centre of the pitch. There was just enough time left for one more chance, as Symes found himself in space on the edge of the box, but his shot rose above the goal, leaving Smith's goal safe for the second half.

The referee blew for full-time shortly afterwards. There were a number of positives the spectators could take from today's game. In his short tenure so far, Dowson looks to have made some bright, attacking signings, and we can look forward to greater things as the new players fit into the side. We also saw, after the sending off, how Dowson was prepared to alter the tactics to fit the situation. Both Hudson and Symes looked more lively in the second half after being asked to use their pace on the flanks. Dowson looks to be the man to change the face of Kingstonian's fortunes.

Saturday 20th January 2007
(Dover Athletic H)
Alan Dowson interview
[WMA file - 5:58 - 1,438Kb]

Sat 20th Jan 2007
Kingsmeadow Stadium
Isthmian League Division One South
Traynor (pen)
Dover Athletic3
1Luke Garrard
2Asher Hudson
3Steve Symes
4Julian Sills
5Richard Taylor14
6Simon SobihyCautioned
7Gary Drewett
8Craig LewingtonCautioned and Sent Off
9Bobby Traynor
10Martyn Lee12
11Wes Goggin
12Scott Corbett10
14Niall Connery5
15Adolph Amoako
16Steve Potterill
17Stephen Windegaard
Match Report By
Darren Bell