Dover Athletic v Hartlepool United
Vanarama National League
Saturday 11th January 2020, 3pm
Crabble Athletic Ground
Dover Athletic are one of a big group of sides in the middle ground of the National League who still hold ambitions of nudging themselves in to the play-off positions.
The Whites are level on points with Pools but Dave Challinor’s men jumped above this weekend’s hosts on goal difference following Tuesday night’s win over Eastleigh at The Vic.
Athletic gave some festive cheer to supporters by winning their final two games of 2019 against Bromley and Ebbsfleet – their first National League victories since the middle of November.
Their 3-0 win over Bromley on Boxing Day was particularly impressive but their Kent rivals did get almost instant revenge, winning by the same scoreline when the sides met again on New Year’s Day.
Andy Hessenthaler’s side have been uncharacteristically inconsistent on home soil during 2019/20 having won only three times in the league at Crabble – only Ebbsfleet have had fewer home wins.
One To Watch
Inih Effiong has led the Dover Athletic attack effectively this season and they would perhaps be in a little trouble without the 11 goals he’s plundered in the National League so far.
The 28-year-old was on target during Dover’s triumph at The Vic in September, ramming an emphatic penalty in to the roof of the net as they ran out 2-0 winners.
That was his seventh of the campaign and, although goals have been harder to come by in the months since, he will still be one of Dover’s main threats this weekend if he recovers from a sickness bug in time to feature.
Head To Head
Saturday’s game will be the sixth competitive meeting between the sides and Dover have enjoyed the edge in previous fixtures, winning four in comparison to Pools’ one triumph.
The Whites ran out 2-0 winners during an ill-tempered game at The Vic back in September when Inih Effiong’s penalty put them in front before Steven Rigg clinched the points with a second goal six minutes from time.
Pools did defeat Dover 3-2 on home turf last season thanks to an extraordinary comeback from 2-0 down which was capped by Luke Molyneux’s injury-time winner.
Pools 0 Dover Athletic 2
Saturday 21st September 2020
Pools: Killip, Kioso, Kitching, Raynes, Richardson (James 73), Cunningham, Donaldson (s/o 80), Mafuta, Noble (Featherstone 78 (s/o 85), Kabamba, Toure.
Subs not used: Hawkes, Holohan, Kennedy.
Dover Athletic: Worgan, Passley (Taylor 46), Doe, De Havilland, Simpson, Reason, Woods, Modeste, Cumberbatch, Effiong, Rigg (Rooney 87).
Subs not used: Mersin, Lokko, L’Ghoul.
On The Whistle
Lewis Smith will take charge of his first ever Pools game this weekend when he’s the man in the middle for our trip to Dover Athletic.
The first-year National League referee has overseen nine games so far this campaign but this will be the first time he’s seen Dover or Pools in action.
His most recent appointment was on Boxing Day when he presided over Notts County’s 3-0 win against Maidenhead United at Meadow Lane.
Pools fans all over the world can enjoy full live online commentary of Saturday’s game against Dover Athletic here on the Official Website.
Mark Simpson will be on-air from Crabble at 2.50pm to bring you all the best build-up before guiding you through every step of the action as it unfolds.
Pools fans will be able to buy their tickets from cash turnstiles at Crabble on Saturday, with an additional fee payable inside the stadium if you want to sit rather than stand.
Dover Athletic 35/33