Monday 17th October 2005

We're not a dirty side, insists Burman


Dartford manager Tony Burman admits Saturday's game at Crabble, which saw three Dover Athletic players leave the pitch injured, has been blown out of proportion, writes Stephen McCartney.

Dover defenders Craig Cloke and Daniel Braithwaite will be out for at least two months, while midfielder Danny Chapman faces two to three weeks on the sidelines.

In a statement issued on www.doverathletic.com today, the Ryman League Division One club revealed the extent of their injuries.

"Danny Chapman was caught badly on his knee under a heavy challenge (involving Richard Avery) and Daniel Braithwaite dislocated his knee from a shocking tackle in the first-half (involving Eddie McClements), which was not even punished by a yellow card.

"The Whites full-back (Braithwaite) dislocated his knee as a result - although it was later clicked back into place - but it emerged today that he has suffered serious ligament damage.

"But early indications suggest that Cloke's injury is the worst and chairman Jim Parmenter even fears he could be out for most of the season."

But Darts' boss Burman, who was full of sympathy for the injured trio, defended his players and insisted in an EXCLUSIVE interview with www.kentishfootball.co.uk that "it wasn't even a dirty game."

His side took a fourteenth minute lead through Eddie McClement's fourth goal of the season but Dover's second half pressure finally told when Nick Humphrey scored his third of the season, with a glancing header, which sailed into the far corner of the net following Lee Spiller's corner.

Admitting the replay will be "tough", Burman is counting on the club's brilliant vocal supporters to cheer them into the next round, where a visit to Margate awaits the victors on 12 November.

"We've given ourselves a chance by bringing Dover back to Stonebridge Road," said a delighted Burman.

"Dover are a very good side and it will be another tough game.

"But I think we deserved a second chance against them and hopefully we can get the result the Dartford supporters want."

Reflecting on the injuries to Braithwaite, Chapman and Cloke, Burman said: "I didn't think it was a dirty game at all.

"If you look at the reaction of both sets of players and both dug outs, I don't think anyone had any problems with the majority of what was going on out on the pitch.

"Unfortunately Dover had three players that had to leave the field, which were nothing really to do with the tackles.

"Braithwaite caught his studs in the pitch and hurt his knee and Chapman was in a 50/50 with Richard Avery, which wasn't even given as a foul and it seemed he pulled a muscle.

"I have managed to see the (video) footage of these two incidents - and I rest my case."

McClements, however, should be fit for tomorrow's replay, and Burman feels there will be no reprisals towards the former Gravesend & Northfleet midfielder.

But he added: "I hope our younger players we've got have learnt from Saturday with the atmosphere and the level of football that was played.

"I want that sort of atmosphere when we go to the new ground."

Burman doesn't want any animosity from anybody at Dover Athletic tomorrow night, and added:  "I praised the officials of Dover before the game for keeping their club going and to be fair it was a good atmosphere on Saturday and I'm pleased we are taking them back to Stonebridge Road to get the (same) atmosphere again."

Dover, however, travel to Stonebridge Road with a patched-up team, and Dave Clifford and Sam Vallance are two players that are set to be drafted into the squad.

Clive Walker's side should be boosted soon by the return of another injured player, striker, Tommy Tyne.

Mr Parmenter told www.doverathletic.com : "Thank goodness we have a big squad.  The likes of Buster Smissen, Chris Wright, Sam Vallance and Dave Clifford are here to compete for first-team places.

"I've every confidence that Clive (Walker) will get the best of these young players and we can still win matches.

"Obviously, we'll be monitoring the situation closely and will act if we feel our promotion chances are suffering due to these players being out injured."

But Burman admitted Dover's fringe players will still ask questions of his team.

He added: "Let's just say, Dover should have got a strong enough squad to put out very good players whoever they've got out injured.

"As far as we're concerned we will be having a tough game tomorrow night whoever they put out."

With Margate manager, Chris Kinnear awaiting to greet the winner at Hartsdown Park next month, Burman admitted: "We've got to think of tomorrow night's game and that is the only game we can look at, at this stage.

"We have an important game at Rothwell Town on Saturday but we'll try and give it our best shot tomorrow night."

And speaking about the talk about his side being "a bunch of thugs", Burman is not too concerned, adding: "I'd worry about it more if it came from any of their players or management, but as I said before it wasn't a dirty game at all."

Speaking on the Whites' website, Cloke relived the horror moment when he broke tibular ligaments.

He said: "I jumped up for a header, came down hard and my leg and body went over the top. I heard a crack near my ankle and couldn't really walk on it.

"I told Browney (Tony Browne) what I heard and showed him the divot where I landed. He picked up a bit of grass and poked fun, saying 'that's not your foot!' He was just mucking about. But I told Frank Clarke, the physio, that I couldn't walk and had to go off.

"I was taken to hospital, had an X-ray and they said I'd broken two bits of my tibular. It was amazing because I was in and out of the hospital in one hour.

"Now I've got to go to Folkestone a week Wednesday for an appointment with a doctor about my ankle and leg and get a proper cast put on it because at the moment I've got one on there which allows the swelling to come out.

"These things usually take six to eight weeks. The nurse told me it was not a bad break and I should be fit in that time.

"She said the swelling is not bad and it should heal fine. The lady just told me to take it easy, which is exactly what I intend doing because I want to be playing as soon as possible."

Dartford v Dover Athletic
FA Trophy First Qualifying Round Replay
Tuesday 17th October 2005
Kick Off 7:45pm
at Stonebridge Road, Northfleet