Whites fail to break the deadlock in a much improved performance away from home.
All three new signings were thrust straight into the starting eleven for Mitch Brundle’s side as the gaffer looked to make changes from the previous defeat. In came Jack Paxman, David Boateng and Josh Ajayi, replacing Alfie Pavey, Luke Baptiste and Luke Wanadio but it was the hosts who nearly took the lead in the opening minute when Charlee Hughes flashed wide when it looked easier to score.
Dover’s first real chance of the game came in the 9th minute when Carney delivered a lovely cross into Boateng, who’s first time shot was block away for a corner. Just four minutes later and debutant Paxman looked to have opened his Dover account from a direct free-kick only to see it edge past the post by a whisker, via a nick off the defending wall. It was a bright start from the Whites with lots early possession and plenty of neat passes.
However Hemel nearly took the lead in the 19th minute when a low cross from Elftheriou was sliced behind by Sterling with the subsequent corner being cleared to safety. In the 26th minute Dover really should have scored when Carney’s header came back off the bar from a lovely worked cross by Myles Judd. Dover looked to capitalise on the rebound but the referee blew for a foul on a defender.
Judd was in the mix again when he fired a long range effort on 33 minutes which was easily gathered by King in the Hemel Hempstead goal. With the half ticking to a close, a long ball over the backline by Judd was met by the run of Ajayi but the debutant fired narrowly wide. It was the last action of the half as both teams headed to the changing rooms with no goals to show for their efforts.
Ajayi had looked lively in the first half and should have opened the scoring early in the second after just one minute when he shot straight at the keeper instead of finishing when put through on goal. It was a huge chance for the Whites in a game in which we had controlled.
Noah Carney then broke the offside trap and rounded King in the Hemel goal but the angle was not ideal to shoot. Turning back into traffic, Carney slid the ball into the path of the lively Ajayi who’s shot was blocked by two defenders on the line.
The game had become quite stretched mid way through the half with both sides now playing on the counter. Kaylen Hinds shot low into the bottom corner but Nelson saved smartly to keep the scores at 0-0. Just moments later and it was Lee Martin who was warming the hands of King with a left footed shot.
With four minutes of injury time shown on the board, it was down to someone to try and make the headlines but the two teams couldn’t be split and the game was tied. The Whites had the best of the chances but goals pay the rent and unfortunately it wasn’t to be in terms of paying the landlord.
Dover looked a lot more positive in their play than against Tonbridge but only have a point to show for their efforts. It’s now two games without scoring but the chance to put that right comes in a couple of days at home to Worthing. 0-0 but a clean sheet.
The manager was disappointed not to take the three points but could see the positives from the performance. ‘I wanted to win the match but the team looked alot more hungry and I was pleased after Tuesday night. We could have won the game had Josh scored those chances but that will come. The new lads have barely had time to train with us but already I can see they will fit in well.’
We face Worthing on Tuesday at Crabble. See you there.
Dover Athletic: Nelson, Judd, Paxman A, Goodman, Higgs, Martin, Sterling, Carney, Ajayi, Paxman J, Boateng
Subs: Wilkinson, Agbebi, Baptiste, Byford, Oliver
Hemel Hempstead Town: King, Eleftheriou, Williams, Poku, Westbrook, Ajayi, Hill, Young, Hughes, Castiglione, Hinds
Subs: Mukendi, Brown, Roberts, Holness, Kane