Thurrock 0 v 4 Dover Athletic
THE EXTENT of the challenge for Thurrock this season was clear for all to see as they were steamrollered 4-0 by an impressive Dover.
The first real chance fell in the 4th minute for Lee Boylan who found himself with space in the area but his shot was tipped over the bar.
The early signs from Fleet was that Robbie Garvey had them well drilled with Paul Terry water-carrying effectively.
Thurrock had the ball in the back of the net in the 15th minute but the assistant ref adjudged that there had been a handball.
Thurrock dominated the first half hour. Another great cross was met by Ben Bowditch who just failed to control the ball.
Dover felt they had a shout for a penalty when Purcell was upended in the box but the referee was unmoved. The game was starting to get a little bit niggly as Dover realised that this could be a tough ordeal.
But for all Thurrock’s industry, the final ball was not forthcoming. A fine passage of play in the 40th minute ended with Rocky Baptiste tripping over his feet.
And sure enough, for all their good work, Dover went ahead in the 43rd minute when a neat through ball split the defence, leaving Harry Baker with just the keeper to beat. He neatly chipped him to go into the lead.
Dover made it 2-0 in the 48th minute when they pinged the ball around the box and Billy Bicknell rose above the keeper at the far post to stretch the lead.
Dover were well into their stride now. Rocky Baptiste had another chance but he blasted straight at the keeper.
Thurrock’s fluency and creativity evaporated even more when Harry Baker got his third of the night with a lovely timed shot from inside the area. Two minutes later it was 4-0 as George Purcell shot from outside the area hit the back of the net.
Thurrock did regroup and obtained more possession but their chances were hit more in hope.
Fleet may well have to put this game down to experience and reflect that Dover are one of the strongest teams in the division.