dr martens tan boots Dover lack killer instinct
Dover Athletic 1 Ilkeston Town 1
IF you had to pick one game to illustrate Dover single biggest weakness this season, the lack of a natural goalscorer, then Saturday Dr Martens League game against bottom of the table Ilkeston would suffice.
Despite creating enough pressure and chances to win three matches, Whites only scored once to take their for to 31 the lowest total in the division ahead of tonight’s home game with Halesowen.
The fact that Dover are nonethless riding high in the table speaks volumes for the qualities that Clive Walker side do contain: a high work ethic, good team spirit and well organised defence. If they also possessed a fit and in form 20 goals a season striker, the big gap that now exists between themselves and leaders Tamworth would be appreciably smaller.
Time after time on Saturday, the ball pinged about the Ilkeston box waiting for a natuaral predator to complete the but in the end it was left to midfielder Jamie Day Dover best player on the day to salvage a point 20 minutes from time.
One point was hardly the reward Dover were looking for against a side who have yet to win away in the league this season, but afterwards manager Clive Walker had few complaints with his side general performance.
Dover were lively and bright right from the start, prompted by Day and new loan signing Mark Munday, and they forced three corners in the first 10 minutes against an Ilkeston side which contains several ex League players who have seen better days.
But the Derbyshire outfit boast pace upfront, notably in the shape of Leon Kelly who made a favourable impression with many Whites fans during his loan spell at Crabble last season, and the bustling, hard working front man was quick to punish a rare error by Dean Readings after 16 minutes.
The normally reliable young central defender conceded possession just inside his own half, and Kelly burst clear before burying a low drive beyond Paul Hyde.
Ilkeston big centre halves, Mark Lever and Barry Woolley, were happy when Dover delivered high balls to Paul Sykes, but it was a different matter when Whites played through and around them, and the chances soon began to arrive.
Tony Browne long crossfield pass after 25 minutes was cleverly chested past his marker by Tommy Tyne, who then wasted his good work by shooting tamely into the side netting. Soon after Matt Carruthers, who has scored a number of valuable goals this season, gave the first indication that this wasn going to be his day in front of goal either when a mistake by Lever gave him a free run on goal, only for the midfielder to miscue horribly wide.
As Dover pressure increased so did the blood pressure of Ilkeston manager Charlie Bishop, who was ordered from the dug out by referee Tony Mason with 33 minutes gone for some comments he made to a linesman.
Desperate defending by Bishop side, plus the reflexes of goalkeeper Andy Love, kept Whites out until half time, and Love was even busier after the break as Dover piled on the pressure.
And, just when it looked as though they would never score, Day finally popped up with a goal he richly deserved, squeezing home a 70th minute rebound after Love had blocked his initial effort from Carruthers low cross.
Day creativity and energy ensured that, apart from the occasional rare break by Kelly, Dover pushed forward relentlessly in search of a winner during the final 20 minutes.
Carruthers missed making decisive contact with one low Day cross by a matter of inches, while the episode that best summed up Dover day came in injury time: a classic scramble saw Day and Munday both denied by Love before, from the resulting corner, Carruthers lifted Dover final chance of a frustrating afternoon over the bar.