Chelmsford City return to action on Monday night, slightly over 48 hours on from Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Arbour Park against Slough Town, as the Clarets host Dover Athletic under the floodlights in Essex.
The Whites head into Monday’s game searching for their first league win since August, after Mitch Brundle’s side earned a 2-2 draw against Hemel Hempstead on Saturday.
Dover Athletic have endured a tough National League South campaign up to now, with the Kent club currently sitting 22nd in the table on 9 points after 12 league games. The Whites’ recent woes have continued from last season, with the club narrowly avoiding its second relegation in as many years after beating the drop on goal difference in the 22/23 National League South campaign.
Dover are now in their season back in the division since 2013/14. The club were relegated from the National League in 21/22, having picked up just 8 points. The Whites’ disappointing year was partly down to the club being handed a deduction of 12 points at the beginning of the 21/22 campaign.
Despite enduring this relegation in 2022, Andy Hessenthaler continued as the club’s manager but eventually departed at the beginning of 2023 to become League Two side Gillingham’s Head of Recruitment. Following Hessenthaler’s exit, Dover assistant boss Mitch Brundle was placed in interim charge of the Whites’ first team. Since then, 28-year-old Brundle has been handed the manager’s job at Crabble Stadium, making him one of the youngest football managers in England.
Since taking the managerial reigns at Crabble Stadium, Brundle has built a squad made up of young, up and coming players. According to Transfermarkt, the average age of the current Dover squad is 22.9-years-old, making the Whites the youngest side in the league.
Dover’s young squad has been captained by experienced midfielder James Dunne this season. 34-year-old Dunne signed for the club in July and has notched up over 300 EFL appearances during his career after coming through the Arsenal academy as a young player.
Like City do with Jermaine Francis, Dover also have a Grenada international amongst their ranks in the form of defender Roman Charles-Cook. The full back was involved in the latest Spice Boys squad alongside Francis, and will look to continue to impress Grenada manager Terry Connor as he returns to league action.
Most recent meetings:
City and Dover faced each other competitively last season for the first time since 2014, with both league matches between the sides ending in 0-0 draws. Dover visited the Melbourne Community Stadium in November, in a game which the Clarets came agonisingly close to scoring in, with Cameron James and Louis Dunne both missing key goal scoring opportunities.
There was also nothing to separate the two sides when they met again at Crabble Stadium in February. Both teams had opportunities on the day; Dover forward Lee Martin’s header found the back of the net in the first half, but the forward was judged to be offside after connecting with Nikaj’s rebounded effort which had hit the crossbar. For City, Oldy Alfa was played through on goal in the second half by Arjanit Krasniqi, producing a lobbed shot which beat Dover ‘keeper Stuart Nelson, but not the side-netting.
Robbie Simpson will assess the fitness of his players ahead of Monday’s game, following a quick turnaround from Saturday’s draw against Slough.
Admission prices at the Melbourne Community Stadium are as follows:
· Adults – £14
· Concession / Senior 65+ – £9
· Student (17-24 With Valid ID)- £4
· Youth (12-17)- £4
· Child (U12 with accompanying Adult) – FREE
How to follow the game:
Monday night’s game is being live streamed by National League TV.
Clarets fans can follow live updates about the game by following the club’s X (formerly known as Twitter) page: @OfficialClarets.
Radio Clarets will be providing live audio commentary of Monday’s proceedings at the Melbourne Community Stadium.
Post-match reaction will be found on the club’s website, official social media channels and on ClaretsTV following the game.
Words By Jake Dixon