Vanarama National League – Crabble Athletic Ground – Saturday 1st September 2018 – KO 15:00
It’s fair to say, it’s taken some time for the Bees to adjust to life in the National League this season. However, after last weekend, it seems they’re very much starting to find their feet.
A 1-0 win over Chesterfield was quickly followed up by a 2-1 victory over Dagenham & Redbridge in their most recent fixture meaning John Still’s men go into tomorrow’s game in high spirits.
Despite Elliott Romain giving the Daggers the lead inside the opening minute, the Bees hit back moments before the break after Wes Fonguck found the net for the hosts. The goal proved to be his first in Barnet colours and it was a similar case for Jack Barham who bagged the winner in spectacular fashion on 63 minutes.
Attentions now turn to tomorrow where the Bees, who now sit 17th in the table, travel to Dover Athletic in the hopes of clinching their third win on the bounce.
Points were shared last time these two sides met as Barnet completed a wonderful come-back to claim a 2-2 draw despite trailing 2-0 at half-time.
The ball fell kindly to Tom Murphy after a smart save from Bees goalkeeper Graham Stack before Dover’s number 10 squeezed the ball into the bottom right corner on seven minutes to give Dover an early lead.
It went from bad to worse for Barnet 11 minutes later when Jack Saville failed to deal with an unexpected ball towards Stefan Payne, allowing the forward to fire the ball high into the hosts’ net.
However, shortly after the break, the Bees clawed themselves back into the game when Curtis Weston finished off a fantastic piece of attacking play to give his side a lifeline.
After a succession of chances falling to Barnet in the second period, the comeback was to be completed 15 minutes from time. Keanu Marsh-Brown whipped in a delightful cross from the right flank which was met by John Akinde at the far post. He tapped in from close range to make sure the Bees didn’t walk away from the game empty handed.
Manager: Chris Kinnear
Chris Kinnear returned to the helm of Dover Athletic mid-way through the 2012-13 campaign and has since gone on to develop a side who, more often than not, find themselves at the top end of the table each season.
At the end of his first term back in charge, he helped The Whites to a 3rd place finish in the National League South but suffered play-off heartache in the final, losing 3-2 to Salisbury City.
However, it was a much happier ending to his first full campaign as Dover boss after securing promotion through the play-offs.
After needing a season to adjust to life in the National League, they were back in the play-offs the following campaign after securing a fifth placed finish. However, a 2-1 defeat to Forest Green Rovers at the semi-final stage crushed their hopes of securing a remarkable promotion to League Two.
His next two seasons in charge saw them finish in sixth and eighth respectively, narrowly missing out on the play-offs on both occasions.
Kinnear previously managed Dover from 1985 to 1995 and went on to win the Southern League Southern Division before claiming two Southern League Premier titles.
When he left the Whites after his first spell, he joined Margate FC, guiding the club to two promotions in three seasons. He departed the club in 2005 to take a break from management, embarking on a role as a scout for teams such as Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Kinnear returned to the dugout with former club Margate six years later and after two seasons with the club, he found himself back at Dover.
One to Watch: Mitch Brundle
It’s been over a year since Mitch Brundle joined the Whites. After signing from Gateshead in May last year, the 23-year-old has made over 50 appearances for the club, finding the net on six occasions.
Brundle worked his way up the youth ranks at Yeovil Town before moving to Bristol City in 2013. During his spell at Ashton Gate, he spent time on loan at Cheltenham Town. Braintree Town was his next permanent destination in 2014 where he became a National League play-off semi-finalist in his final season with the club. He was also sent out on loan to Hemel Hempstead Town before joining Gateshead in 2016. Brundle only spent one season with The Heed before penning a two-year deal at Crabble the following year.
Not only can the Dover captain occupy a midfield role but he can also play at full-back. His defensive mentality will undoubtedly pose a danger for Barnet tomorrow as he’ll be aiming to do whatever he can to keep the Barnet front-line at bay.
At the other end of the pitch, Brundle isn’t afraid to write his name on the score sheet and has already got off the mark this season, scoring Dover’s most recent goal.
It’s fair to say, Dover haven’t got off to the best of starts this season as they aim to emulate their eighth placed finish last campaign.
With only one win to their name so far this season, the Whites find themselves in the relegation zone, three points behind safety.
Defending has been a real issue of late for Kinnear’s men as they have conceded the most goals in the division so far this season with 17 strikes rustling their net.
Dover, who are yet to keep a clean sheet, go into tomorrow’s game off the back of three defeats with the most recent one coming against Leyton Orient on Monday. Goals from Jobi McAnuff, Josh
Koroma and Matt Harrold secured a 3-0 victory for the O’s as the Whites dropped to 22nd in the standings.
Ricardo Santos spent time with Dover at the start of the 2013-14 season but it was short-lived as he signed for Thurrock shortly after. He failed to make a single appearance for the Whites.
When Still arrived at the club this summer, one man he brought with him to bolster his backroom staff was coach Junior Lewis. The former midfielder spent three years with Dover Athletic from 1993 to 1996 after signing from Fulham, making 84 appearances for the club.
As for the Whites, midfielder Aryan Tajbakhsh had a brief spell with Barnet in 2008 but failed to break onto the scene for the first team.