Dover - Crabbie
I decided after a break of a few months to start going to some non-league grounds, especially some of the Conference grounds that I hadn't been to before. I chose Dover for my first outing, partly as it wasn't too far away and partly to see my old team from the 70's that I once supported, Chester City. I was going to drive to Tilbury, get the ferry to Gravesend and then get a train from there to Dover. But engineering works between Gravesend and Gillingham meant I would have had to get a bus for that part of the journey. Also the distance of the ground from Dover's ralway station made me decide to drive there. The only problem was that as I was driving along the M2 towards Faversham, signs kept coming up saying the A2 was closed after the M2. I thought it was an accident and that it would have cleared by the time I got to the A2, but it was road works which had closed the road completely. This meant a detour further along the Kent coast to Ramsgate and then down topwards Dover. If I had known I would have gone along the M20 and via Folkestone, saving an extra 20 to 30 miles.
This meant that I missed the kick off and by the time I had parked my car, not too far from the grounf it was now quarter past three! Surprsisngly there were several others creeping in late. I also saw an unusual sight - an old man and a woman standing guard across a road leading into a block of lfats next to the ground to stop people parking! Surely at that time no one's going to decide to park there? Anyway I paid my £15, (still a bit steep for non-league football) and went in through what looked to be the only entrance into the ground. There was a stand of seats opposite me with covered terraces either end, and a small family stand to my left. The rest of this side was open and had areas where standing was forbidden, as was taking photos according to a sign by the turnstiles.
The main terrace to my right was faruly full and had a mixture of mainly Dover fans with some Chester fans mingling amongst them. I could have paid anoither £1 to go into the seated section along the sidee of the ground, but decided to stand in the main terrace. At half time everyone moved to the other end and you could get into the sets free anyway. Apart from there being no segregation, I nocticed several people smoking. I thought this was banned, even for non-league grounds, yet the stewards seemed to accept it. There were also a couple of p[oliceman standing by the entrance and they didn't seem to do much. Even worse, just before half time, i saw a Dover fan get out a can of lager and start drinking from it on the terrace in full view of every one.
Onto the match itself. The first half seemed to mainly Dover attacking with Chester defending well, ocassionally making a flurry into the Dover end. It was interesting to see wayne Rooney's younger brother, John, playing for Chester and he didn't look too bad. It was after the break when things changed. Dover got a goal soon after the retsrat thanks to a cross from Nanetti, which reached Murphy at the near post. His shoit came off Chester defender, Heneghan for an own goal. This made Chester come out attacking more and they nearly scored in the 62nd minute when Mahon forced the Dover gaolie, Andrew rafferty into a a low save. But two minutes later the match was all over when Dover scored again courtesy of Essam heading in his first goal for Dover.
I left slightly before the end to miss the traffic and was able to drive staright down the A2 Ok this time, taking just an hour and a half to get home. Attendance 1,009.
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