United pulled off another fantastic result against a side fighting for promotion in the National League. More importantly, the result took us out of the relegation zone and put our destiny in our own hands ahead of our last game of the season in seven days time.
Two clinical finishes from striker Brett Williams earned the three points, but it was a performance full of drive and commitment that got the team over the line. Players were backing each other up all over the pitch. When one yellow shirt didn’t get you, then next one did.
Player-manager Kevin Nicholson made one change to the match day squad. Dan Sparkes returned to the bench, with the Gaffer dropping himself from the squad entirely.
Dover had 36-goal striker Ricky Miller and ex-Gull James Hurst in their starting line-up.
United approached this game in what is becoming their trademark performance. Yet again, hard work and resilience put pay to Dover’s energy in the first half. Although United weren’t threatening too much, they kept Dover at bay, and were creating a foothold in the game that they rarely gave up.
United lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. Keating and Williams led the line up front. Reid and Lee provided pace and security on the wings with Young and Verma keeping United creative and competitive in the engine room. Gallifuoco, Anderson, McGinty, and Rowe-Turner rarely allowed Dover a sniff.
The early threat came from Dover, but United dealt with it comfortably.
Ross Lafayette took aim from the edge of the area after a Dover attack had just about broken down. Moore held it with ease. Miller followed that up a few minutes later, but yet again Moore was comfortable.
Modeste peppered United’s goal with an effort towards Moore’s near post. Dover were rewarded with a corner that United cleared easily.
Dover’s persistence continued. McGinty put Lafayette under enough pressure in the 23rd minute to stop the striker sending a header towards goal.
United continued in this manner. rebuffing every Dover attack. This would only pay off if they were clinical when it mattered. They were.
Striker Brett Williams ran across his marker and found enough space to plant a header into the bottom corner - Jordan Lee with the assist.
It was half-time. United had weathered what Dover had offered and take the lead. It was to culminate in a near perfect away performance.
If anything, United worked harder in the second half. Players were continually stealing the ball in dangerous areas and earning corners and throw-ins through persistence and guile.
Williams took his tally to four goals in two games in the 68th minute.
Luke Young picked the ball up and found the striker peeling off to the left. Williams lashed the ball home in spectacular style. 2-0.
Dover got a goal back quickly. After United’s second goal, Dover manager Chris Kinnear brought on two substitutes. The changes breathed some life into Dover, and they had their rewards when Aswad Thomas headed the ball over Moore in the 71st minute.
United didn’t let the setback change their game plan. The Yellow Army have been used to nervous finishes to games, but aside from one or two chances, United stayed competitive.
The Gulls were unlucky not to add to their lead in the 85th minute. A Luke Young corner found Giancarlo Gallifuoco but his header was cleared off the line.
The win takes United to 19th place and level on points with Guiseley. Player-manager Kevin Nicholson isn’t letting his side relax for one minute.
Everyone back to Plainmoor for Saturday’s last game of the season against North Ferriby. A win will ensure our survival in the National League.