Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: St. Catharines, Canada
Sat. April 9, 2022
Barclays Premier League
Dover (18-9-6, 63 points, 4th) vs. Sheffield Wednesday (15-5-13, 50 points, 10th)
Crabble Athletic Ground, Dover, UK
Betting Odds: Dover: 5-4 (Favourites) Draw: 11-5 Sheffield Wednesday: 7-4
Past Meetings: 4W 1D 4L
Sheffield Wednesday embarrassed us earlier in the year to the tune of 3-0, with our former striker Gerardo Escobar causing us grief all game in a contest we obviously took too lightly. We won't be complacent today and we desperately need all three points, as we still have games remaining versus Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City, all league powerhouses. The only "soft" game we have left is against Derby. Sheffield are on a five game winning streak across all competitions and have reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup, where they'll face Reading next weekend. Dangerous forward Steve Pates leads the team with 17 goals but Escobar is right behind him with 13, as he's starting to fit in nicely with his new club.
Sheffield's manager came out in the press and indicated that they'll need to stop Shanon Andrea to have any chance today. This tactic has *always* worked well against our strikers but this is the first time Andrea has been given this "honour". I'm going to stick with him anyway - he's been our best player this year when healthy and he's officially regained full match fitness. He'll start up front with Zoltan Bardi. With Andrea Rocca out due to injury, it will be Mancini taking over in midfield. We also welcome back Salim Loucif, who despite missing a month of action due to injury is already match fit. Renato Gaucho is also back after missing our last game due to yellow card accumulation. Paulus Tjiuoro will start at DC for a tired Claudio Contreras. Despite Sheffield's ability to play well against a flat 4-4-2, we will go with that formation today.
Dover: 4-4-2 Control
GK - I. Wilke
D - R. Gaucho, P. Tjiuoro, R. Hamon, S. Loucif
M - A. Bamba, , Mancini, N. Cairney, G. Bolis
S - S. Andrea, Z. Bardi
Bench - C. Contreras, J. Kuciak, S. Nasri, W. Rooney, A. Zubizarreta, C. Murray, P. Moses
Both Pates and Escobar are up front in their flat 4-4-2. Lets do it for the fans today guys!
5' - We have a throw in down the left side about half way into their territory. Bamba throws in to Shanon Andrea and he sends it right back to Bamba. From the touchline, Bamba sends a glorious cross into the box and Zoltan Bardi heads it forcefully past Sheffield keeper Erwin Mulder and we have the quick lead! Bardi is on fire lately! DOVER GOAL 1-0
14' - On a free kick from distance, Neil Cairney rifles one off the crossbar!
19' - So far, so good. Bolis with a lovely cross to Bamba. He's on a poor angle and Mulder makes a fine point blank save.
21' - Sheffield are VERY undisciplined so far and Kostas Zagos receives their third yellow already.
27' - Bolis sends a nice through ball to Bardi and his hard rocket is turned aside by Mulder.
32' - We are putting incredible pressure on them but Mulder continues to be a difference maker, stopping a partial breakaway from Bardi. Seconds later, Bolis gets a hard shot on goal that Mulder saves and their keeper AGAIN scoops up a possible chance on a Bardi deflection. Mulder has been sensational so far.
45'+1 - They get their first great chance as Pates sends through Escobar but our former striker shoots wide from point blank range.
HALFTIME - We are in complete control but the scoreline is very dangerous. We need to convert for at least one more goal here. We have a 52% possession advantage and a huge 14-4 (7-2 on target) shot advantage. I tell the team I'm pleased with their play thus far.
Sheffield come out in a 4-4-2 diamond formation to start the second half.
51' - We have control near midfield and Rayane Hamon sends a great ball up the right side to Bolis. He has a step on his man and attempts a cross but it deflects off Sheffield defender Tommy Spurr. Thankfully, it bounced right to Zoltan Bardi and our in-form striker makes no mistake putting it past Mulder and into the goal for an early half insurance marker! DOVER GOAL 2-0
61' - Gianluca Bolis with a yellow.
69' - Aitor Zubizarreta is on for the excellent Gianluca Bolis.
75' - Samir Nasri is on for Mancini, who has only been "okay" playing for Andrea Rocca.
81' - Neil Cairney cracks another shot off the crossbar and substitute Aitor Zubizarreta is there to pounce on the rebound and put it in the net but the assistant rules him offsides. No goal. That looked dubious at best...
82' - We use our last sub, bringing in Cameron Murray for Arsene Bamba. We also move to a counter attack for the last ten minutes.
88' - A nice counter culminates in a good chance for Nasri but he shoots right at Mulder.
90'+1 - We work another lightning fast counter and it's Zubizarreta cutting into the middle of the pitch and sending a superb through ball to Bardi. He looks offsides but the flag is down as he bares in on goal and shoots low past Mulder and into the net for his hat trick! Fantastic game for Bardi!!! DOVER GOAL 3-0
Dover 3 - 0 Sheffield Wednesday
Goals - Zoltan Bardi 3 (9.6)
Assists - Gianluca Bolis (7.1), Arsene Bamba (7.1), Aitor Zubizarreta (6.9)
Man of the Match - Zoltan Bardi
Other Dover Notables - Salim Loucif (7.5), Rayane Hamon (7.7), Paulus Tjiuoro (7.5), Renato Gaucho (7.5), Neil Cairney (7.1)
Attendance - 14,645
We dominated that contest, with 53% of possession and a wide 24-9 (10-4 on target) shot advantage. Other than Escobar's miss from in close at the end of the first half, they had no real chances and we completely negated their top scorer Steve Pates. Brilliant performance from Bardi, who is on FIRE right now, with six goals in his last four games.
-- We get some help from Everton, as they hold on for a draw against Chelsea. Arsenal win 1-0 over Sunderland to keep pace with us and poor Manchester United have to face City once again for the third time in four matches and they lose all three, this time by a 2-0 score as City pull eight points ahead on the table and look primed to win the league for the 3rd consecutive year. Liverpool win 3-0 over Fulham to stay a point ahead of us in third. With United struggling, second place is DEFINITELY up for grabs here but they have a pretty weak schedule the rest of the way, with only Liverpool next week offering much of a challenge.
BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE - STANDINGS
(ALL TEAMS HAVE 4 GAMES REMAINING UNLESS NOTED)
1. Manchester City - 76 points
2. Manchester United - 68 points
3. Liverpool - 67 points
4. Dover - 66 points
5. Arsenal - 63 points
6. Reading - 59 points
7. Chelsea - 58 points
Dover U18 Update
-- The U18s win 3-0 over Portsmouth behind goals from Gregoire Lambert, Phil Whitbread and Mohamed Lamine Yilmaz and a man of the match performance from defender Carlos Guzman, who obviously is reacting well to his first-ever senior level game last week against Barcelona.
-- I've been reasonably fortunate over the years to be able to balance playing time well enough to avoid too many controversies but two players speak out after today's game in fullback Jozef Varga and goalkeeper Youssouf Sylla, with both saying they want first team football. Varga is strictly a backup quality player and he backs down when I tell him it's my decision whether he stays or goes but Sylla stands up to me, asking if I really want an unhappy player on the team disrupting things. I agree and tell him I'll look to move him in the next transfer window. Sylla is a Ivory Coast international and he's started to settle in alright here but Wilke is definitely our first choice keeper and Sylla makes WAY too much for a backup so I'll be happy to make a sizeable profit off him in the offseason.
-- I transfer list Sylla and within a day, Paris Saint-Germain make a bid of £3,000,000, a total which meets his minimum release clause so the offer is auto-accepted and Sylla is free to negotiate a contract. I picked him up on a free so this will be a tidy one-year profit if the deal goes through. Valencia is also sniffing around so he may see another offer come rolling in.
-- Two days later, Sylla indicates that he's accepted a contract offer from PSG and the £3 million transfer will go through on June 9th. Cool.
Barclays Premier League Team of the Week
-- Zoltan Bardi makes the team after his scintillating three goal performance.
-- Three games are played mid-week and in a shocker, Arsenal drop a 1-0 decision at Emirates to Huddersfield, which gives us a slight bit of breathing room as we prepare to face relegation candidates Derby on the weekend. Reading continue their fine play in knocking off Tottenham by the same scoreline as they firm up their grip on 6th place in the league.
-- We head away from home to face 17th placed Derby Town in Premier League play.
Last edited by NoSkillz : 03-09-2014 at 01:25 AM.