Hessenthaler wants more from Dover
Hessenthaler wants more from Dover

Tuesday night’s 4-0 drubbing at Aldershot Town on Tuesday night has left Dover Athletic and their boss Andy Hessenthaler with a long week before their longest trip of the season – the eight-hundred-mile round trip to face Barrow…

The midweek trip to Hampshire ironically as it proved coincided with the anniversary of the boss’ return to the club – certainly a “present” that no-one saw coming, especially the manager.

“We were left scratching our heads about where results like that come from and what we didn’t do was that we didn’t do the basics and the basics are a given really – run around and make it difficult for the opposition and everything else comes with a game of football – the passion, the desire to be better than your opponent and we didn’t do that the other night.”

“And that’s the first time I can honestly say that – yes we have lost games and are going to lose games. We don’t want to lose games but know that we’re going to lose games where you give everything that you can give and the opposition are just slightly better on the night or have decisions go against you or they score a goal from a long way out and it’s one of those nights and that’s not so bad and you can take that.”

“But the other night, I’m not going to take that because we just didn’t do the basics.”

“We apologised to the supporters who made the trip because they don’t deserve that – they follow us all round the country and we’re all accountable for the other night, myself and my backroom team included as I put the team out there and expect them to run around and give everything for the football club – and they didn’t do that!”

“We’ve had and still have a fantastic record on the road really, but you can’t just turn it on and off and the difference between the performance against Notts County on Saturday and Tuesday is such a big gap, and that’s what I said to the players – we can’t go from one extreme to the other; if we’re not going to get to that top level performance, if we’re only just a little bit underneath, I still believe that you can get a result, but to have that big difference, one to eleven off their game, you’re never going to win a game of football – and that was Tuesday night!”

“As much as we were bad, you have to give the opposition some credit – they were excellent and full credit to Aldershot.”

“I thought on Tuesday one thing that was interesting was that once we conceded the first goal mentally we went and weren’t strong enough which was both worrying and disappointing – it was almost as if we waved the white flag and I’ve never seen that of a Dover side that has played under me.”

Tuesday’s defeat came after another frustrating day at Crabble last weekend. He said, “I can live with the performance last Saturday against Notts County as I thought the boys were very good. We started off the game really well and we were disappointed with the goals that we conceded – a penalty we shouldn’t give away and to be two one up and to concede right at the death, but we should have put the game to bed before then again from both boxes – not just defensively, but in the other box too where we’ve had some real opportunities to win the game only to be kicked in the teeth at the death.”

“But performance wise it was probably one of the better performances against another very good side who are getting it going and will be up there come the end of the season.”

Six wins from eight on the road for Dover despite Tuesday’s defeat – but it’s a long road for Hessenthaler and his side this weekend – all the way to Cumbria to face Barrow.

“And an in form Barrow too,” the boss reminds us. “Its never easy going to Barrow – it was tough last year when we ended up winning the game at the death to actually confirm our status in the National League for this season. It was a fantastic day for the club, but Barrow this year have got it going now – they’ve brought some new players in and they’re on a phenomenal run, winning six or seven on the bounce, and they’ll be looking at us after the other night trying to capitalise and we know that it won’t be easy!”

Team news and the Dover squad is stretched as the boss confirmed” We’ve got a “few” injuries to be fair and Ricky (Modeste) is away on international duty and I think we’re more or less down to the last sixteen for Saturday.”