Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. February 26, 2022
Barclays Premier League
Dover (15-8-5, 53 points, 5th) vs. Sunderland (11-3-14, 36 points, 14th)
Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover, UK
Betting Odds: Dover: 4-5 (Favourites) Draw: 2-1 Sunderland: 3-1
Past Meetings: 2W 1D 4L
Sunderland came out of the gates this year like a house on fire and had a six game winning streak at one point. However, they've fallen on really rough times lately and find themselves in 14th spot in the league. That said, they have a +6 goal differential so they're to be respected. Like us, they've moved on in the FA Cup to the quarterfinals after beating MK Dons from the Championship and they've won 4 of their last five in all competitions. Scottish international Craig Flett is their most dangerous player and he has 20 league goals and 22 overall on the season. He's fast and pretty strong and we'll need to stop him to get a result. I'm also a big fan of Matt Barber, a fine central midfielder. We played them to a 2-2 draw at the Stadium of Light earlier in the year.
Not too many changes today - we'll stick with the same formation despite Sunderland being adept at playing flat 4-4-2 formations. Claudio Contreras and Neil Cairney are both back in today and we'll stick with Paul Moses and Wayne Rooney up front. Both Giorgos Gesios and Zoltan Bardi are on the bench today, just in case.
Dover: 4-4-2 Control
GK - I. Wilke
D - R. Gaucho, C. Contreras, R. Hamon, S. Loucif
M - A. Bamba, N. Cairney, A. Rocca, G. Bolis
S - P. Moses, W. Rooney
Bench - J. Kuciak, J. Varga, Mancini, C. Murray, K. Kalfas, Z. Bardi, G. Gesios
Sunderland come out with Flett and Ben Sahar up front in their flat 4-4-2. I tell the team they can win today.
7' - Rocca with a great through ball to Bolis but our in-form winger shoots into the side netting.
11' - We get a great chance as Rocca feeds Moses in tight but the Sunderland keeper Sam Cowler makes a fine save. The play continues and Arsene Bamba is hurt. Uh oh. He's got the dreaded cross above his name and needs to come out. Cameron Murray is in.
15' - Rocca with a shot from distance and it's off the crossbar!
16' - Bolis has possession down the right side and feeds into the middle to Paul Moses. The youngster evades a tackle from one Sunderland defender then speeds past the other into the box. He's in on goal and shoots low past Cowler and it's IN! DOVER GOAL 1-0
30' - We've controlled the game for the most part and it's Moses again getting the ball around half way in Sunderland's end. He dribbles down the field and from ten yards outside the box, unleashes a PILEDRIVER that goes past Cowler and into the net. What a PHENOMENAL STRIKE from 18 year old Paul Moses and he has two already! DOVER GOAL 2-0
42' - We work a counter and Gianluca Bolis is running fast down the right sideline. He crosses into the area but Cowler punches it out but the ball pops right to Wayne Rooney and he pounces on that rebound and drills it into the net. What a half! DOVER GOAL 3-0
45'+1 - Rooney is down and on the sidelines getting treatment and Moses is sent in by Cairney. Cowler makes the great save but it's pushed behind the net. Rooney comes back on for the corner and Rocca's cross is headed by Rayane Hamon and it's IN!!! Holy crap it's a whitewash! DOVER GOAL 4-0
HALFTIME - It's a massacre! We hold 53% of possession and outshoot them by a mile, 16-2 (9-0 on target). Rooney is really banged up and I'll need to take him off at half. I'll bring in Zoltan Bardi - I tell the team I'm pleased and tell Bardi to pick things up where he left off last game.
Sunderland is in a 5-3-2 for some reason despite being four goals down.
68' - No chances at all for us and a few from distance for Sunderland. For whatever reason, despite not making any tactical changes, we've just stopped playing. Sunderland get in the area and Salim Loucif takes down their striker Craig Flett and it's a PENALTY. He makes no mistake and Sunderland get on the board. SUNDERLAND GOAL 4-1
71' - What? Sunderland with a throw in and their player throws the long bullet throw into our area and it's headed directly IN THE NET by Kevin Long. Guys, this isn't good. SUNDERLAND GOAL 4-2
75' - We finally do something offensively, as Hamon heads a Rocca corner toward goal but Cowler makes the save.
76' - We make our last substitution, taking out Bolis for Kostas Kalfas.
86' - We have a free kick and Rocca's cross is into the box but Kevin Long takes down one of our players. PENALTY! Paul Moses gets to take the kick, looking for his third goal and it's SAVED BY COWLER?!?! WHY CAN'T WE SCORE ON PENALTIES?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! We get a corner and Rocca's cross comes right to Moses and now he hits the goal post! Wow.
Terrible second half but we'll take the three points.
Dover 4 - 2 Sunderland
Goals - Paul Moses 2 (8.6), Wayne Rooney (8.0), Rayane Hamon (7.7)
Assists - Gianluca Bolis 2 (8.5), Andrea Rocca (7.9), Wayne Rooney
Man of the Match - Paul Moses
Other Dover Notables - Salim Loucif (7.2), Claudio Contreras (7.1), Renato Gaucho (7.3), Neil Cairney (7.2)
Attendance - 14,654
Possession was dead even on the game and we outshot them 22-8 (14-2 on target). Poor second half but I tell the players I'm pleased with the win. Moses continues to play great and what can I say about Wayne Rooney? Another goal and another assist in only 45 minutes and he's up to 11 goals and 6 assists in 23 appearances at 36 years of age. Hell of a signing!
-- Thank goodness! Arsene Bamba only suffered a dead leg and will be back within the week.
-- In other games, Man City beat Southampton and Liverpool humble Reading but United only gets a tie against Middlesbrough and Arsenal also draw versus Aston Villa at home. We move into fourth place with our win!
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - STANDINGS
(ALL TEAMS HAVE 9 GAMES REMAINING UNLESS NOTED)
1. Manchester City - 67 points
2. Manchester United - 59 points
3. Liverpool - 57 points
4. Dover - 56 points
5. Arsenal - 54 points (10 games remaining)
6. Reading - 49 points
7. Chelsea - 49 points
Dover U18 Update
--The kids destroy Aldershot 8-2 behind a hat trick from unheralded Pete Smith. Gregoire Lambert bags a brace and Damian Thorne, Johnny Mardenborough and Eddie Robinson score singles.
-- In the "I Had to Do It" files, we resign Wayne Rooney to a one year extension at £10,000 per week LESS than what he was currently making. In the press conference, Rooney signalled his intention that he "wants to see out his career in a Dover kit". Rooney has been phenomenal when healthy and this was an easy deal to strike - it's really low risk and even if he decides to retire this season instead of next, I'm happy to sign the contract.
-- A reasonably quiet month but one that could end up being busier depending on our success in cup and continental play. We only have three Premier League games: away at Everton, home versus Huddersfield and away at Blackburn. We have the second leg of the Champions League First Knockout round against Anderlecht and if we're successful, we'll likely have a Second Knockout round match at the end of March. We also have an FA Cup quarterfinal match against Arsenal at home so that's six potential matches and five for sure.
-- We get positive training reports for Zoltan Bardi, Salim Loucif Jonathan Adam and youth players Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz and Pete Smith. Negative reports come in for Jozef Kuciak and Wayne Rooney.
Barclays Premier League Team of the Week
-- Gianluca Bolis and Paul Moses are named to the Premier League team of the week.
-- Arsenal DC/ST Nchimunya Munyao wins player of the month honours in the Premier League.
-- Marek Adamski from Newcastle wins the Young Player of the Month. Renato Gaucho finishes in second and young Paul Moses comes in third.
-- Carlo Ancelotti wins the Manager of the Month award again. I come in third place.
League Cup Final
-- Mid-table Huddersfield Town beat Wolves 1-0 to win this year's League Cup. More importantly, Huddersfield win a coveted continental position in the Europa League next year and that will mean that only the top six teams in the Premier League will see European play. Yikes - we'll need to stay sharp! Depending on what happens in the FA Cup (which we're still in), it might only be the top FIVE going into Continental play.
March Board Confidence Update
-- The board are delighted with my leadership qualities. Our stature increase is the main positive and NO negatives this month!
-- We made £809,000 last month.
-- Gaining caps in U20 play were Claudio Contreras and Carlo Cerbone. It was Cerbone's first youth cap for Italy.
-- In senior team action, Giorgos Gesios (Greece), Youssouf Sylla and Arsene Bamba (Ivory Coast), Paulus Tjiuoro (Namibia), Salim Loucif (Algeria), Zoltan Bardi (Hungary) and Neil Cairney got capped. Notably, this was Bamba's first ever cap for Ivory Coast, having played his youth football for France. Bamba is obviously DELIGHTED at finally getting a senior cap and now he's permanently tied to the Ivory Coast. Gesios scored for Greece, Bardi got on the scoresheet for Hungary and Cairney scored twice for Scotland. I wish I could get him to score more here…
-- I also get a note that young Paul Moses got his first SENIOR team cap for England. He's only 18 years old and it's clear to me that Moses will be a star in this world for years to come. Boy, if only he would get over that one little fight we had early in the season. He still hates my guts despite being molten hot for us and getting plenty of recent playing time. I have an option to buy him but it's clear he won't sign for us at the present time.
Dover Reserves Team Update
-- We LOSE to Derby 4-3, with young Gregoire Lambert scoring twice and Mancini adding a single. Rare that we lose any reserves or U18 games but we have most of our depth away on international duty right now.
-- We head on the road to face 9th placed Everton in Premier League play.