3:00pm - MondayMon 6th AprilApr 2015
Crabble Athletic Ground | Att: 1089

Dover Athletic
Dover Athletic
2 - 1


Tough Crabble test for Cards

Brian Caffarey
11:04am, Sun 5th Apr 2015
Dover Athletic v Woking
3pm on Monday 6 April 2015

The Cards travel to familiar foes Dover Athletic tomorrow afternoon in fifth place after their draw at home to Welling United yesterday, which was enough to take them above Forest Green Rovers on goal difference. Dover, like Aldershot against Forest Green on Friday, were kind enough to do Woking a favour, with the Whites beating play-off rivals Eastleigh yesterday, but that simply emphasises what a tough game the Cards can expect at Crabble against another in-form side. However, the Cards ought not to lack confidence on the back of four successive away wins.


The frequent unpredictability of Conference football has been very apparent over this Easter weekend so far. None of the teams chasing the two remaining play-off places was able to muster a win, with Macclesfield, Halifax and Woking all drawing and Forest Green Rovers and Eastleigh losing. In the end the Cards’ draw against Welling didn’t look too bad a result but they will surely be rueing an excellent chance to have gained a much greater advantage. As it is, the result puts added pressure on Garry Hill’s side to come up with the goods tomorrow afternoon.

Cards fans will be hoping that the Woking defence, which has conceded two goals in each of the last three games, will be more resilient than of late: it is likely to be tested by Connor Essam in particular at set pieces, while Tom Murphy and Stefan Payne will also pose a considerable threat.

The Cards were boosted yesterday by the return of Adam Newton from injury, enabling Mark Ricketts to move into midfield once Adam came on as a substitute in the second half. The industrious Manny Oyeleke also impressed after he came on as a substitute, making his Woking debut.

Woking’s play-off rivals are in action as follows tomorrow: Chester v Forest Green Rovers; Macclesfield Town v Wrexham; Welling v Eastleigh; and Lincoln City v FC Halifax Town.


The Whites, who were promoted through the play-offs last season, recovered from a very difficult start to the present campaign (including a 6-1 defeat at Kingfield back in August) to surge up the table, taking them just above Woking at the point when the two sides met in the FA Trophy 3rd Round in January (see below). Their surprising charge towards the play-off places lost momentum subsequently just as the Cards staged their own remarkable recent recovery. Indeed, following their FA Trophy victory, Dover didn’t win one of their following seven league and Trophy games. However, their recent form has been impressive, with only one defeat (at home to Grimsby Town) in their last seven league games. Yesterday Dover did the Cards a huge favour by beating Eastleigh 1- 0 away with a header from Sean Raggett.

Manager Chris Kinnear, who returned to Crabble after a gap of 18 years to lead Dover into the play-offs, kept faith with many of the players who gained promotion to the Vanarama Conference. Those still remaining at Crabble include winger Ricky Modeste, midfielders Barry Cogan and Chris Kinnear Jnr and defenders Craig Stone, Richard Orlu and Sean Raggett.

Newcomers included striker Stefan Payne, who scored 31 goals for AFC Hornchurch and who numbered Fulham, Gillingham and Sutton among his previous clubs; Jake Reid, another striker, who had played for several Conference clubs, including Salisbury City and Newport County; highly-rated Italian midfielder Christian Nanetti, signed from Havant and Waterlooville; defender Tyrone Sterling, returning after a year away at Dartford; and well-travelled midfielder Nick Deverdics, whose most recent club had been in the Faroe Islands. Subsequent arrivals included influential captain ex-Gill Connor Essam; ex-Braintree striker Dan Holman, on loan from Colchester United; and keeper Andrew Rafferty, who had been with Hartlepool United; and, most recently, central defender Joe Cearuill, joining from Heybridge Swifts but who has played at a much higher level, including winning two caps for the Republic of Ireland.


Crabble Athletic Ground
Lewisham Road
CT17 0JB

Official website: www.doverathletic.com

By coach

The Cards Trust coach leaves Kingfield at 12 noon and is fully booked.

By car

The directions on Dover’s official website are as follows: make your way to the M25 and then take the M2/A2 (following the signs to Canterbury and then Dover) as far as the Whitfield roundabout (there is a McDonald's Drive-Thru on the left).

Take the fourth exit at this roundabout, down Whitfield Hill. At the bottom of the hill turn left at the roundabout and follow this road until the first set of traffic lights. At the lights turn right (180 degrees down the hill) and follow the road under the railway bridge, the ground is a little further up the road on the left.
There is no parking for supporters within the ground, although parking is available in the rugby ground, which is just inside the main entrance.

If you have to take the M20/A20 leave the A20 in Folkestone (the exit immediately after the tunnel through the hill) and travel through the Alkham Valley (turn left at the roundabout at the end of the slip-road and then left again, following the signs for Alkham) which will eventually take you near Kearsney train station (turn right into Lower Road just before the railway bridge, before you get to the station).

By train

The main railway station in Dover is Dover Priory, which is about two miles from Crabble and would take you about 25/30 minutes on foot. The closest station to Crabble is Kearsney, which is about a 15/20 minute walk from the ground. Normally, you would be able to reach Kearsney via trains from London Victoria (via Faversham and Canterbury East) but engineering works mean that the best option is undoubtedly to make your way to St Pancras International (the Southeastern services from platforms 11-13) and either take a train direct to Dover Priory or go via Canterbury West and Canterbury East to Kearsney.

The 12.37 from St Pancras International arrives at Dover Priory at 13.41. Unfortunately, there isn’t a good connection to then pick up a train to Kearsney: you’d have to wait for the 14.28 service, arriving at 14.32, and you’d still have a 15/20 minute walk from there. If you go direct to Dover Priory, walking or getting a bus or taking a taxi look the best bet.

Another option is to take a train from St Pancras International to Canterbury West and then take the shortish walk to Canterbury East (well signposted in the city) to pick up a train going to Kearsney and Dover Priory. If you travelled on the 12.12 from St Pancras it would get you into Canterbury West at 13.08 and you could then take the 13.38 from Canterbury East, which gets into Kearsney at 14.00.

If you get off at Kearsney, turn right as you leave the station, go under the railway bridge and then take the first road on the left (Lower Road). Follow Lower Road all the way along, past a pond on your right and Crabble Corn Mill on your left. At the end you will see the Cricketers pub on the other side of the road. Turn right and you will see the entrance to the ground.


Adults: £15
Over 60's: £12
Under 18's: £6
Under 11's: FREE

Transfer to the seated stands:

Adults: £1.50
Over 60's & Under 18s: £1
Under 11's: Free


Dover Athletic 1 Woking 0
FA Trophy Third Round Replay
27 January 2015

This was a disappointing performance from a Woking side which had come back in dramatic fashion at Kingfield to earn a replay in a 3-3 draw.

The Cards started well and looked in control for the first 20 minutes or so but Dover gained the ascendancy from that point onwards and thereafter looked much the more threatening side, with only some fine goalkeeping from Jake Cole keeping the result in any doubt. The Whites had several good chances before the break, with both Stefan Payne and Tom Murphy going close.

After the interval Stefan Payne’s stooping header hit a post before Dover took the lead in the 60th minute through a superb free-kick from Nick Deverdics which crashed down off the underside of the bar. Woking rallied a little after Charles Banya and Gez Sole came on, with Kevin Betsy missing a great chance to equalise with a header from close in. Dover had chances to extend their lead but, in the end, held on fairly comfortably to the single goal lead.

So ended Garry Hill’s hopes that he might take the Cards to a Trophy Final this season. Dover were eliminated in the following round by Bath City.

Woking: Jake Cole, Joey Jones, Joe McNerney, James Clarke, Chris Arthur, Adam Newton, Keiran Murtagh (Charles Banya 71), Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Scott Rendell, Ross Lafayette (Giuseppe Sole 72)

Unused subs: Mark Ricketts, John Goddard, Andy Little

Booked: Kevin Betsy, James Clarke

Dover Athletic: Andrew Rafferty, Connor Essam, Tyrone Sterling, Sean Raggett, Richard Orlu, Sean Francis (Tom Wynter 72), Barry Cogan (Chris Kinnear 90 +4), Nicky Deverdics, Solomon Taiwo (Ricky Modeste 87), Tom Murphy, Stefan Payne

Unused subs: Mitch Walker, Jake Reid

Booked: Solomon Taiwo, Ricky Modeste

Attendance: 953


The Cards are at home to Gateshead this coming Saturday, 11 April, in their penultimate home league game of the season. Don’t forget that the Cards’ final home league game against FC Halifax Town on Saturday 25 April kicks off at 5.15pm.

Come on, you Cards!

P.S. Have you booked your place yet for the Cards’ 125th Anniversary Summer Ball on Saturday 23 May?

Cards falter in play-off race

Brian Caffarey
9:02pm, Mon 6th Apr 2015
Dover Athletic 2 Woking 1
6 April 2015

A tired-looking second-half display from Garry Hill’s side saw them slip behind in the play-off race as the Whites recovered from a one-goal deficit at half-time to dominate play and deservedly earn all three points. Woking had looked comfortable at half-time with a lead given to them by Yemi Odubade, who pounced when the Dover keeper Mitch Walker couldn’t hold a Kevin Betsy shot. But the Cards never got going in the second half and Stefan Payne after equalising early on won the game with a late penalty after Brian Saah was adjudged to have brought down Ricky Modeste.

Garry Hill was forced to make one change from the side which had drawn 2-2 at home to Welling United on Saturday, with the suspended Joey Jones being replaced by Manny Oyeleke, who started on the right of midfield, with Mark Ricketts partnering Saah in central defence.

On a cold, cloudy afternoon, the Cards, backed by plenty of vocal support, started confidently enough, Oyeleke having the first shot on goal with a volleyed effort over the bar. From a Woking perspective, there was hope to be had from the fact that Kevin Betsy, out left, seemed to have the beating of his opposite number, forcing three corners in the first twenty minutes – but Woking have rarely scored from set pieces this season and it was no different on this occasion.

From about the midway point of the half the home side, who had initially looked content just to absorb any Woking pressure, began to come more into the game, stringing a few passes together. Mark Ricketts made a crucial block in the box and Dover gained a couple of corners but without causing any real problems for the Woking defence. Michael Crowe had to hold a decent strike from Tom Murphy and then, on 31 minutes, had to be alert to tip a header from Connor Essam over the bar. This was followed by another dangerous Murphy cross, which Crowe took cleanly.

Having survived this bit of Dover pressure, the Cards struck in the 37th minute. Betsy once again got the better of his opponent, twisting and turning him, before hitting a left-footed effort which Mitch Walker could only parry into the path of Yemi Odubade, who slotted home.

The Cards continued to look fairly comfortable till half-time, with only a shot from Murphy, straight at Crowe, the cause of any concern.

Half-time: Dover Athletic 0 Woking 1

Dover started the second half as though they meant business – and set the pattern for the whole of the second half. The Cards simply could not get going, with the midfield creating very little and balls forward being swallowed up by the Dover back line. The Dover keeper was largely a spectator as his team mates were first for nearly every ball and pushed forward at every opportunity, with Stefan Payne suddenly looking a handful for the Woking defence.

With two minutes gone, Modeste was able to hook the ball across the front of the penalty area and Tyrone Sterling, charging in, blasted a fierce effort just over the bar. But it was a brief reprieve. Mark Ricketts conceded a ‘cheap’ corner. The ball was cleared but hammered back in and Stefan Payne deflected it with his head past Crowe to level the scores at 1-1.

Dover continued to press, with Stefan Payne shooting wide and then Crowe did well to grab a free-kick at the second attempt. He was called into action again in the 61st minute when Adam Newton lost a swirling ball forward in the air, with his back header falling short, but Crowe was just able to hoof clear.

Garry Hill brought on Gez Sole and John Goddard for Oyeleke and Odubade but neither was able to make any significant impact on the game, not least because of the poor service being provided to them. On the one occasion when Goddard pressed forward he passed behind Scott Rendell and the ball ran out of play.

With only one team looking as though they might score, Murphy struck a shot sweetly but straight at Crowe and then Ricketts made a superb block to deny Modeste. Stefan Payne tried a shot from distance which bounced awkwardly in front of Crowe, who nevertheless took it cleanly. As the game moved into the final ten minutes Ricketts just managed to clear ahead of Modeste.

Woking’s fans hadn’t had much to cheer about in the second half, so voices were raised when Gez Sole managed to win a corner with five minutes to go, but the keeper claimed the ball easily.

Dover finally broke through again in the 88th minute. A ball played forward saw Modeste fractionally ahead of Saah, who was adjudged to have brought him down in the box. Saah was red-carded for his troubles before Stefan Payne confidently slammed the ball past Crowe.

With four minutes added on, Woking’s hopes were raised as Betsy slalomed into the box but the ball seemed to bobble just as he hit it and it looped harmlessly wide and over the bar.

The Cards’ miserable second-half display was summed up by the final kick of the match. With Crowe thrown forward for a corner, Josh Payne’s kick didn’t even clear the first defender.

With only one point gained from their two Easter games, Woking now sit in 7th place, three points behind fifth-placed Forest Green Rovers, who won 4-1 at Chester, and one point behind Eastleigh, who won 2-1 at Welling United and also have a game in hand. A win at home against Gateshead next Saturday is an absolute ‘must’.

Woking : Michael Crowe, Adam Newton, Mark Ricketts, Brian Saah, Chris Arthur, Manny Oyeleke (John Goddard 65), Keiran Murtagh, Josh Payne, Kevin Betsy, Scott Rendell, Yemi Odubade (Giuseppe Sole 65)

Unused subs: Charles Banya, John Nutter, Andy Little

Goal: Yemi Odubade 37

Sent off: Brian Saah 88

Booked: Chris Arthur, Keiran Murtagh

Dover Athletic: Mitch Walker, Sean Raggett, Richard Orlu, Ricky Modeste, Tom Murphy (Tom Wynter 92), Stefan Payne, Sean Francis, Tyrone Sterling, Nick Deverdics, Solomon Taiwo, Connor Essam

Unused subs: Barry Cogan, Liam Bellamy, Chris Kinnear, James Poole

Goals: Stefan Payne 49 and 89 (pen)

Booked: Richard Orlu

My Woking MOTM: Michael Crowe

Dover Athletic LINEUP
30Michael Crowe
2Adam Newton
32Chris Arthur
4Mark Ricketts
24Brian Saah
7Josh Payne
8Keiran Murtagh
29Manny Oyeleke
11Kevin Betsy
17Yemi Odubade
9Scott Rendell
31Andy Little
15John Nutter
22John Goddard
12Charles Banya
10Giuseppe Sole

Dover Athletic 2 - 1 Woking (Garry Hill Interview)

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