Dover Athletic v Southend United. Match preview

Sol Campbell will be in search of his first managerial victory for struggling Southend United when they travel to face non-league outfit Dover Athletic in the first round of the FA Cup.

The ex-England international already faces pressure in front of the BT Sport cameras to find a much-needed result after league defeats against Ipswich Town, Sunderland and Portsmouth. 

Dover will believe they have every chance to progress if they can overcome some poor home displays. Despite their indifferent start to the National League campaign, they have put in some impressive away performances under manager Andy Hessenthaler. 

The Whites are no stranger to these ties under former boss Chris Kinnear where they have faced Premier League side Crystal Palace alongside Football League sides Huddersfield, MK Dons and Gillingham. 

Where to watch?

The game will be shown exclusively live on BT Sport 1 from 11;30 with kick-off at noon with both sides pocketing £75,000 from the encounter. 


Southend: DLLLL

The Shrimpers have picked up just five points from 16 matches leaving them second from bottom where they are enduring a torrid run of form in League One. (1W 2D 14L) 

However, since the arrival of the new manager there have been improvements from when Kevin Bond was in charge of the Blues from earlier in the season. 

Dover Athletic: DLLWD

The Whites have endured a poor record at home so far with five defeats to Dagenham & Redbridge, Torquay United, Woking, Halifax Town and Stockport County – just two victories at Crabble in 10 matches. 

Hessenthaler’s men will hope to emulate the form on their travels leaving them second in the form chart while only sitting in mid-table with only 19 matches played. (8W 4D 7L)  

Team News 

Dover’s possible starting lineup: (4-4-2) 

Mersin, Passley, Doe, Rooney, Simpson, Gobern, Munns, Woods, Modeste, Rigg, Effiong. 

Hessenthaler could welcome back wingers Ricky Modeste and Nassim L’Ghoul to the starting 11, however, they have several injury and suspension problems. 

Dover will be without key attacking midfielder Jai Reason, who is suspended after accumulating his fifth booking at AFC Fylde. Defensive pairing Kevin Lokko and Will De Havilland are also ruled out with ankle injuries while the other absentees include midfielders Bobby Joe Taylor, Joe Bedford and Bilel Hinchiri. 

The manager has made several changes to his starting 11 this league season, and with injuries, he might be tempted to start new loan signing Ruel Sotiriou. However, the lineup will likely consist of a narrow midfield which has seen improved performances in the last two league matches.

Southend’s likely starting lineup: (5-3-2) 

Bishop, Bwomono, Shaughnessy, Dieng, Lennon, Ralph, Milligan, Goodship Hutchinson, Cox, Hooper 

Southend welcome back Manchester United loanne Ethan Hamilton and winger Stephen McLaughlin, who will both be back in contention for selection after serving their final match suspension against Portsmouth in midweek. 

Top scorer Steven Humphrys (thigh) remains on the sidelines alongside Charlie Kelman (ankle), Sam Mantom (hamstring) and defender John White (arm). Luke Hyam also faces a late check after the midfielder suffered a hamstring injury which kept him out the side on Tuesday night. 

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Campbell is likely to stick with a 5-3-2 formation from his first three matches which could be astute given they have conceded over 50 goals this campaign.
This image was modified under the Creative Common Licence.

Danger man 

Inih Effiong will be the main threat for Dover and has scored nine league goals so far despite home fans’ frustration with his end product. 

Ref watch 

David Rock will take charge of the encounter with the aid of officials Leigh Crowhurst and Mike Desborough while Dean Whitestone will be the fourth official. 

Rock has officiated over 100 National League matches of experience including 18 matches for Dover Athletic (three last season) while he has never officiated a match for the Blues. 

Head to Head 

The sides have only met once in the FA Cup second round on the 13th December 1975 when Southend ran out comfortable 4-1 winners at Roots Hall.

Whites have reached the first round of the competition six times in the last seven years.  

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This image was modified under the Creative Common Licence.


Dover 2-1 Southend United 

Given the sides are two divisions apart, experience could shine through, but it will be a closer game than the table suggests. It would not surprise many Southend fans if Dover managed to get a result. The home side will fancy their chances against the leaky five-man defence. 

Image result for wembley
Photo by (M(e)ister Eiskalt) reproduced under Creative Commons

Sub-edited by Frankie Levin

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