Thursday 01st September 2005

Humphrey earns lucrative replay


Saturday 15th
October 2005
FA Trophy
First Qualifying Round
Stephen McCartney reports from Crabble
Dover Athletic 1 Nick Humphrey 73
Dartford 1 Eddie McClements 14

Dover Athletic manager Clive Walker was visibly angry after losing four key players to injury for their FA Trophy first qualifying round replay at Stonebridge Road against Dartford on Tuesday night, writes Stephen McCartney.

After losing full-back Daniel Braithwaite early on, and midfielder Danny Chapman and local hero Craig Cloke, top scorer with eleven goals this season, Craig Wilkins all join the lengthy injury list at Crabble.

But Dartford manager Tony Burman insisted in the post-match press conference: "I didn't think it was a dirty game."

Eddie McClements' fourth goal of the season gave the Southern League Division One East visitors a fourteenth minute lead, and Dover's second half pressure finally told seventeen minutes from time, when former Tonbridge Angels' defender Nick Humphrey headed home his third of the campaign.

This was a passionate - both on and off the pitch - Kent derby, and we can expect the same when these two giants clash again on Tuesday night.

Dartford's travelling contingent were celebrating after fourteen minutes when their heroes took the lead - as the home faithful in the big crowd were stunned into silence.

Darts' goalkeeper Kevin Hudson's clearance was flicked on by James Carter and was latched onto by Ian Pulman, who made a nuisance inside the Whites' box.  

However, having the door slammed in his face the loose ball was picked up by McClements' and the former Gravesend & Northfleet man drilled a shot to Darren Smith's left.

Dartford's 39-year-old goalkeeper was relieved to see former Hastings United striker Carl Rook's header - following substitute James Rogers' cross - fly over the bar.

Anthony Hogg's burst down the middle of the pitch took him to the edge of the Dartford penalty area, but his right-footed shot lacked conviction and rolled harmlessly wide of the left upright.

Dover went agonisingly close ten minutes before the interval when Hogg's left-footed corner was met by Rook's floating header, but the impressive Anthony Henry - a solid rock at the heart of the Darts' defence - was in the right place to head off the line at the far post.

Going into the half-time interval, the Whites' had already used two substitutes following the injuries to Braithwaite and Chapman, but the Ryman League Division One side deserved to go on and win the game, but Dartford - who rode their luck at times - did enough to cling on to earn a lucrative replay.

And with Kent rivals Margate winning 3-0 at Bashley, another lucrative tie, this time at Hartsdown Park, awaits the winners.

Good play from Dover created an opening after only 38 seconds of the second half.

Shane Hamshare's cross was laid off by Rook into Hoog's path but he drilled his 25-yard shot past the diving Hudson but also wide of the right upright.

Dartford had their experienced goalkeeper to thank in the 51st minute when he blocked Wilkins' shot with his legs as the striker latched onto James Rogers' defence splitting through ball.

Dover kept up their momentum in search of the equaliser, creating several good chances around the hour mark.

First, following Lee Spiller's corner kick, Dover substitute, Dean Reading's looping header sailed over Hudson but Ryan Briggs was there to head off the line at the left post.

Then an unmarked Wilkins headed into the side netting, following Spiller's free kick from midfield and then Hudson's blushes were spared when, after dropping Hogg's corner into his net, he won himself a free kick.

Dover's pressure, however, finally told with seventeen minutes left when, from their seventh corner of the game, Humphrey rose to meet Spiller's delivery and his glancing header from six yards sailed into the far corner.

Dartford escaped late on when Rook's header appeared to go over the line despite a challenge on the goal line by Steve Hafner and Wilkins' was denied late on by the advancing Hudson.

The corner count of ten for Dover and none for the visitors will also give you a true reflection on the contest, but having picked up four injuries today, the Dover Athletic manager is very concerned.

"We'll have to deal with it," Walker raged.  "I've got young players here that will have to come in and grow up and show some maturity, because it won't be easy down there and that's what we've got a squad for.

"Hopefully some will come through and do well.  They've got to show some character and shown some (commitment) and do a job."

Losing Londoner Braithwaite clearly didn't help Dover's cause.  Walker added: "I think after the first twenty minutes, they rattled us a bit.  

"Losing Braithwaite didn't help (as it) knocked us out of rhythm and it looked a bad injury.

"But after that, 75% of this game we totally dominated to be honest - we just needed to get the ball in the net.

"God knows how many balls were knocked off the line, but there you go, that's life for us."

Darts boss, Tony Burman, meanwhile, was a lot calmer and happier during his interview.

He said: "Yes, I'm very pleased with the result.  It's a difficult place for us to come.

"Dover are a good side and they've got some good players in (that have) played at a higher level, so it was a good result for us."

Burman praised goalscorer McClements and his rock in the heart of his defence, Anthony Henry.

"It was a great finish from Eddie I felt," he said.  "He's played in midfield and started to get back into form and it was a good finish and that's the sort of thing (we ask him to do) to arrive in the box from midfield and get us some goals.

"If Dover have experienced players in their side, Anthony Henry is our experienced player, and I was delighted to sign him at the start of the season.

"He calms things down for us - he had an excellent game."

You can sense Dartford relished today's game, and with their return back home to Dartford on the cards next season - they are crying out for for more games like these.

"This is what I want our players to be used to, this type of game," added the Darts' stalwart.

Looking ahead to another passionate clash with Dover, Burman predicted: "Well, it will be another tough game.  We are at home and I hope our crowd get behind us like they did today."

We are in for another passionate clash, which will be won or lost on the night, and no doubt a certain Mr Chris Kinnear will be in attendance, and so will www.kentishfootball.co.uk

Dover Athletic: Darren Smith, Shane Hamshare, Daniel Braithwaite (James Rogers 10), Tony Browne, Craig Cloke (Walid Matata 76), Nick Humprey, Danny Chapman (Dean Readings 29), Lee Spiller (Capt), Craig Wilkins, Carl Rook, Anthony Hogg.  Subs: Michael Smissen, Kevin Lott

Dartford: Kevin Huson, Gary Carter, Tommy Osborne (Capt), Anthony Henry, Richard Avery, Steve Hafner, Ryan Briggs, Ian Pulman (Brad Potter 89), James Carter, Eddie McClements (Tommy Olson 90), Dave Martin (Ryan Hayes 75).  Subs: Craig Maguire, Dominic Elmes.

Attendance: 615
Referee: Lee Venamore (Maidstone)
Assistants: Mr Robin Baker & Mr Ahcene Yahiaoui