The thought of playing in the play-off final is brilliant, says Dover midfielder Chris Kinnear
The Whites grabbed fifth-place in the table on the final day of the season when Barry Cogan’s 87th minute penalty sealed a 2-1 win at Hayes & Yeading United.
The result saw the Crabble club seal a place in the play-offs, replacing Havant & Waterlooville, who were held to a goal-less draw at Tonbridge Angels, who were relegated on Easter Monday.
Hayes & Yeading United were relegated as a result and will play at a lower level of football at their new base at Maidenhead United’s York Road next season.
Kinnear, 23, said: “It’s been a good season in that we have reached our play-off objective and also had a great run in every cup competition, The FA Cup, Kent Senior and FA Trophy.”
Dover Athletic finished with 69 points, 12 adrift of a Sutton United side that finished as runners-up in the table after 42 games, 5 points adrift of champions Eastleigh.
But it’s been the club’s home form that has frustrated Dover Athletic fans this season.
The Whites are in fifteenth-place in the home form table, having won seven, drawn six and lost eight league games at Crabble.
However, the club are sitting proudly at the top of the away form table, winning 13, drawing three and losing five on the road this season.
Kinnear (junior) added: “We haven’t been as good at home as we have away and I’m sure that will be addressed for the start of next season.”
Sutton United took the lead inside the opening minute in Wednesday night’s first leg, Craig Dundas heading home.
But Dover Athletic restored parity just before the break through Moses Ademola.
“It was a tough game against a very good team,” said the midfielder.
“As the game went on we grew stronger and had chances to win it.”
Sutton United go into the home leg with the second best home form in Conference South this season.
Paul Doswell’s side won 15, drew 3 and lost 3 at Gander Green Lane.
This tie could go all the way, extra-time and even penalties to see which side could face Ebbsfleet United in the play-off final on Saturday, 10 May.
The Fleet romped to a 4-0 win over Bromley at Stonebridge Road in midweek.
Bromley, who celebrated their best season in seven years in Conference South football by finishing third, were 2-0 down after only 500 seconds and Ashley Nicholls was sent-off.
Steve Brown’s side eased through – goals coming from Ben May (62 seconds), Billy Bricknell (9, penalty), Joe Howe (60) and Daryl McMahon (80) – and Bromley need a miracle at Hayes Lane to progress through to the final when the two Kent clubs meet again in the second leg tomorrow.
Kinnear said: “Well our away form is the best in the league and have been told the fourth best in the whole of the country, so we are going into the game full of confidence thinking we can win it.
“Well the thought of playing in the play-off final is brilliant. We obviously have a tough game away to Sutton and you never know Bromley might turn the tie around.
“Just hope lots of Dover fans can get to Sutton on Saturday as last week against Hayes & Yeading showed that their support does drive us on and that is vital in big games.
“But if it was Ebbsfleet it would certainly add to the excitement,” added Kinnear, who played for The Fleet as a teenager.
Dover Athletic face Ebbsfleet United in the Kent Senior Cup Sponsored by Portablefloodlights.com Final at Gillinghan’s Priestfield Stadium on Bank Holiday Monday, 5 May (3:00pm).
The two clubs could still face each other in two games this week.
But the two managers are focusing on their play-off second legs before they contemplate facing each other at Priestfield Stadium for Kent’s prestigious cup competition, which celebrates its 125th anniversary.
Kinnear (junior) said: “I don’t think anyone has thought about the game on Monday yet. We’re just fully focused on winning this game on Saturday.
“But after the game on Saturday our focus will change to the Kent Senior Cup and it’s something we have wanted to win from our first game in it.
“Obviously there is added spice as it’s against a league rival, who have a lot of Dover players from last season.
“We really want to win as it’s a chance of silverware.”
Kinnear (junior) had just finished playing a major part in Corinthian finishing in fourth-place in the Kent League this time last season.
The midfielder said he is pleased with his progress from Kent League to Conference South.
“Obviously it’s a considerable step up, but Corinthian was a great club that play good football and have a management team of Matt Longhurst and Tony Sitford that are all about developing and making young players better, which I couldn’t thank them enough for.
“I feel as if I’ve managed the step up well and had a good season on a personal level and hope to improve and drive Dover on next season.”
Visit Dover Athletic’s website: www.doverathletic.com
Sutton United v Dover Athletic
Skrill South Play-Off Semi-Final Second Leg
Saturday 3rd May 2014
Kick Off 3:00pm
at The Borough Sports Ground, Gander Green Lane, Sutton, Surrey SM1 2EY