*BS*Ahead of Monday lunchtime’s draw for the third round of the FA Trophy, Jack O’Sullivan takes a look at the potential sides Whites could be drawn against in this last 16 stage.*BF*
Goals from Sean Raggett and Ricky Miller saw Dover overcome fellow Vanarama National League side Southport on Saturday in round two, and with a number of top-half sides already out of the competition, a favourable draw on Monday would really give Whites confidence of making a real push for Wembley for the first time in the club’s history.
The bookmakers have Dover down as 7/1 third favourites to lift the Trophy in the Final on Sunday 22nd May.
Below, we take a look at the sides that Dover could be drawn to face in the last 16, and their odds to win the competition:
*BS*GUISELEY*BF* – 40/1
Mark Bower’s men are at this stage courtesy of a 2-1 win away at Dulwich Hamlet on Saturday, having beaten Northern Premier League Division One North side Burscough 3-2 in a replay, after an initial 2-2 draw. Whites played out a 0-0 stalemate with Guiseley back in September at Crabble, but would fancy their chances against the side sitting in 18th in the Vanarama National League standings. The FA Trophy has been the only real positive of their recent form, with Bower’s side winning just one of their last eight league matches. Dover are due to visit Nethermoor in the return league fixture in the middle of March.
*BS*HAVANT & WATERLOOVILLE*BF* – 50/1
Their always seems to be an underlying sense of inevitability that Whites will face Havant at least once per season in a competitive fixture, with the sides having locked horns for the past six consecutive seasons. Last season, the two met in the second round of this very competition, and it took a late goal from Ricky Modeste – the only strike of the game – to put Whites through to the next stage. Matches between the sides have always been closely-contested, however Havant’s league position is alarming – they are rock bottom of the Vanarama National League South, and they have struggled on the road especially – picking up just five points from a possible thirty-six on the road. They are into the last 16 of the FA Trophy courtesy of a 2-1 weekend win over Welling United, which followed up previous round victories against Forest Green Rovers (2-0) and Basingstoke Town (2-1).
*BS*TRURO CITY*BF* – 100/1 or *BS*MACCLESFIELD TOWN*BF* – 10/1
The sides drew 2-2 at City’s Treyew Road home on Saturday, meaning they must face off in a replay this Tuesday evening. A quiet game sparked into life in the last third of the match, with City taking the lead on the hour mark before two goals from Town’s Kristian Dennis looked to be sending the favourites through. However, a goal from Isaac Vassell minutes from time saw the sides unable to be separated. Truro are seventh in the Vanarama National League South, two places and four points away from the playoff places, whilst Macclesfield sit in seventh in the league above – three places and two points behind Dover. Truro previously beat Cirencester Town (1-0 in a replay, after an initial 2-2 draw) and Kingstonian (3-0) in the competition, whilst John Askey’s Macclesfield side overcame Ashton United 4-0 in their only previous Trophy tie this season. Macclesfield have won the FA Trophy on two occasions.
*BS*STOURBRIDGE*BF* – 66/1
Whites’ FA Cup conquerors are also potential opponents – and if the sides are drawn together once again, revenge over the Midlands side’s Cup victory at Crabble in November will surely be a key motivational tool. That day, the Northern Premier Division side played the role of giant-killers perfectly, winning 2-1. In the league, they hold games in hand over many of the sides around them, owing to their impressive performances in the knockout competitions. They beat Whites’ divisional rivals Braintree Town 1-0 away from home on Saturday, having previously defeated Kidderminster Harriers (2-1), Spennymoor Town (4-2), Carlton Town (2-0) and Halesowen Town (2-1).
*BS*CHESTER*BF* – 14/1
Steve Burr’s side have fallen short of expectations in the Vanarama National League so far this season, sitting in 16th place. Whites have already played their two league fixtures against the club this season, which both ended in draws – 0-0 at Crabble back in August, which was followed up by a 1-1 draw in November at the Lookers Vauxhall Stadium – a match which will stay in the memory of Whites fans for many years, thanks to Ricky Miller’s goal-of-the-season certainty. They hosted Hungerford Town in the second round, and comfortably won 4-0, with their 2-0 first round win at AFC Telford United meaning that Burr’s men are yet to concede a goal in the competition this season.
*BS*FYLDE*BF* – 16/1
If any Whites fans are hoping to visit a new ground in a good away weekend location, then AFC Fylde absolutely tick those boxes – the side, based just a couple of miles from Blackpool, are fourth in the Vanarama National League North table, seven points behind league leaders Solihull Moors. Of the sides outside of Dover’s league, Fylde – who have already beaten Eastbourne Borough (4-1), Skelmersdale United (4-0 in a replay, after an initial 4-4 draw) and Warrington Town (2-0) – would arguably be one of the tougher opponents. If the sides are drawn against each other on Monday, feel for the away team – it’s a 650 mile round trip for the unfortunate side drawn out second.
*BS*SUTTON UNITED*BF* – 25/1
Whites’ old adversaries beat Curzon Ashton 2-0 on Saturday, having previously beaten Lowestoft Town (3-1) and Concord Rangers (2-0). The last time the sides met was famously in the 2013/14 season, when Dover won 4-1 on aggregate in the Conference South playoff semi-finals – memorably winning 3-0 at Gander Green Lane. In the Vanarama National League South, United are going well. They sit third in the league table, having lost just four times all season.
*BS*TORQUAY UNITED*BF* – 33/1
Kevin Nicholson’s side will be prioritising the league above all else this season, with The Gulls sitting in 23rd in the Vanarama National League – seven points from safety, they have a lot of work to do in the final few months if they are to avoid an unprecedented drop to the sixth tier of English football. Their FA Trophy performance has provided some hope in an otherwise poor season, with Saturday’s 1-0 win over league rivals Wrexham following up their 2-0 replay victory (after an initial 0-0 draw) against Chesham United. Whites travelled to the South West in a league fixture in October, winning 3-2 thanks to Stefan Payne’s last-minute goal.
*BS*GRIMSBY TOWN*BF* – 4/1 favourites
Paul Hurst’s Mariners have been made the favourites to lift the FA Trophy by the bookmakers, and rightly so – their recent run of form in all competitions has been exceptional. Whilst their focus this season will be on finally returning to League football, a trip to Wembley would be the perfect addition to this. Dover lost 1-0 at Blundell Park last month, with the return fixture taking place at Crabble in April. Town have beaten Weston-super-Mare (3-1) and Solihull Moors (3-2 in a replay, after an initial 1-1 draw) to get to this stage. This would likely be the draw that Chris Kinnear’s men would hope to avoid, at this stage at least.
*BS*FC HALIFAX*BF* – 20/1 or *BS*BARROW*BF* – 40/1
These two sides saw their second round match postponed on Saturday, meaning that they must try again on Tuesday night. Both recorded wins to nil in the previous round, with Barrow beating Sutton Coldfield Town (1-0) and FC Halifax breezing past Tamworth (5-0). Each side will be disappointed at how their Vanarama National League campaigns have fared thus far, with Barrow sitting in 17th and Halifax in 19th. Dover have played both league matches against Barrow in this season, losing 2-1 away from home on the opening day, before exacting revenge at Crabble in November with a 3-1 victory – whilst against Halifax, Whites lost 4-2 away from home and have the return fixture scheduled for early April. Barrow have won the FA Trophy on two occasions.
Another long trip up to Tyneside could be in order after Monday’s draw, with Gateshead another potential opponent. Whilst it is a journey that has proved fruitful for Whites in the last two seasons – wins of 2-1 and 3-2 have been recorded – a shorter trip would be preferable. Gateshead racked up the miles in round two, impressively winning at Eastleigh (2-1), which followed up a first round win at home to Stocksbridge Park Steels (4-1).
*BS*BOGNOR REGIS TOWN*BF* – 100/1 or *BS*ALTRINCHAM*BF* – 50/1
This second round fixture will take place on Tuesday night, owing to Altrincham only playing their first round match on Saturday. Then, they overcame Leamington 2-1 after extra time in a replay, following their initial 1-1 draw. Lee Sinnott’s side are in 21st place in the Vanarama National League table, with Bognor Regis sitting sixth in the Ryman Premier League. The West Sussex club have beaten Maidstone United (1-0), Bath City (1-0), Taunton Town (4-1) and East Grinstead Town (3-0) in the competiton thus far.
*BS*BRADFORD (PARK AVENUE)*BF* – 50/1 or *BS*NANTWICH TOWN*BF* – 100/1
After their second round tie was postponed on Saturday, these two will try again on Wednesday evening. An historic side, Bradford (Park Avenue) are a reincarnation of the club that played in the Football League up until 1970. They now ply their trade in the Vanarama National League North, and are 15th in the league after 21 games. Nantwich Town, based in Cheshire, are in 4th place in the Northern Premier Division, seven points behind league leaders Blyth Spartans. Already in this season’s FA Trophy, Bradford (Park Avenue) have beaten Lincoln City (2-1) and Buxton (2-1), whilst Nantwich have seen off Matlock Town (2-0), Stockport County (2-0), Kings Lynn Town (5-1) and Salford City (2-1).
*BS*WOKING*BF* – 8/1
Garry Hill’s men were the big winners in round two on Saturday, winning 6-1 at home to Maidenhead United. In the previous round, they beat Boreham Wood (2-1) and have serious Trophy pedigree, having already won the competition on three occasions – the joint highest of any club. Despite losing Dan Holman to Cheltenham Town, Woking continue to impress after an early-season slump and are now sixth in the Vanarama National League table. In terms of distance, a trip to Kingfield would be one of the closer options.
*BS*OXFORD CITY*BF* – 80/1 or *BS*CHELTENHAM TOWN*BF* – 5/1 second favourites
In an obvious sign of prioritising their promotion push, Cheltenham fielded a side predominantly consisting of teenagers – including five debutants – in their 2-2 draw away at Oxford City on Saturday. That draw means the side will try again on Wednesday evening, with Cheltenham facing Kidderminster Harriers in the league the night before, signifying that they will keep faith in their youngsters in their FA Trophy campaign. Town are top of the Vanarama National League table, two points clear of Forest Green Rovers and eleven ahead of Dover – and with the sides set to meet at Crabble in front of the BT Sport cameras this coming Sunday, what price a league/trophy double header? Oxford City are sixth in the Vanarama National League South, and previously beat Ebbsfleet United (3-1) and Marlow (6-3) in the competition. Cheltenham’s first round win came against Chelmsford City (3-1). Cheltenham have won the FA Trophy once before, in 1998.