Dover Ath 1 Thurrock 0
A thousand supporters turned out to watch Second place v Third in what promised to be a thrilling competitive match, with both Dover and Thurrock looking to regain some of their early season form after some recent disappointing results.
But it was a poor first 45 minutes, the home side having the greater possession but failing to take advantage. Both teams seemed to nervous to attack, afraid of conceding an early goal. Thurrock’s defence never reached the half way line for most of the half, as Dover eased forward to pressurise the Thurrock goal. There were plenty of defending to do as Dover accumulated a number of corners but the lack of height in the Dover attack made it easier for Clark and Olima to deal with the incoming crosses. There was only one shot on target in the half from Adam Birchall and we had to wait until the 45th minute for it but it produced a fine save from Joe Woolley low to his right.
The second half started much brighter but again it was the home side that looked the more dangerous. Joe Woolley had to make two fine saves to keep Thurrock in the game as the pressure was building and Dover where looking for a winner.
But it was Thurrock that had the best chance to open the scoring. In the 64th minute a break on the right flank, it was Matt Judge who then found Matt Bodkin wide on the right who took on and beat his defender before crossing into the box where Matt Judge had ran 30 yards and found space and the goal begging, but he failed to make contact and the ball went wide.
On 72 minutes Ryan Andrews cleared a goal bound effort from Adam Birchall off the goal line after a goal mouth scramble, followed two minutes later with a header from Frannie Collin that went over by inches.
Finally in the 90th minute all the Dover pressure provided them with a goal, a cross from the right saw Kenny Clark partially clear amongst appeals for a penalty, the referee waved play on as Paine and Olima tried to clear the ball, but only as far as Nicky Southall who hit a left foot shot from 22 yards that beat Woolley and went in off the post.
There was only seconds remaining after the restart giving Thurrock no chance, but a Matt Bodkin cross did penetrate the Dover defence but without any Thurrock strikers close enough to take advantage and all three points went to Dover.
THURROCK : Joe Woolley, Phil Anderson, Ryan Andrews, Paul Olima, Kenny Clark, Matt Paine, Matt Bodkin, Leon Lalite, Matt Judge (Greg Lincoln 80), Leon McKenzie, Fola Orilonishe.
Subs : Jamie Libby, Ryan Stalley, Reiss Gilbey, Leslie Thompson.