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Dover Athletic manager Chris Kinnear on the 2-2 draw with League 1 Gillingham

By Luke Cawdell

Dover boss Chris Kinnear was delighted to see his side hold their own against League 1 opposition.

His new-look squad was in action on home soil for the first time, playing all nine of his new signings in a 2-2 draw against Gillingham.

Kinnear also fielded six trialists as he continues to put together a squad for a stab at a promotion push for the new season.

Dover manager Chris Kinnear on the sidelines at the weekend Picture Gary Browne

Dover manager Chris Kinnear on the sidelines at the weekend Picture: Gary Browne

The Dover boss said: “Connor (Essam) and Mitch (Walker) were the only two who played for us last year but we have talked about the way we want to play in training and we have done a lot. It looked like they slotted in. 

Report: Dover Athletic 2 Gillingham 2

“It will take a while to get it right but Gillingham are a little ahead of us in their fitness, having done their thing in Northern Ireland. We were more than happy with the extremely young team.

“It gave us a lot of hope to think that we have some good players in to work with and improve.

“Gillingham are a League 1 team, we are National League and at times you possibly wouldn’t have known who was who.”

Ryan Bird rises for the ball against Gillingham Picture Gary Browne

Ryan Bird rises for the ball against Gillingham Picture: Gary Browne

Dover were ahead after just seven minutes with Ryan Bird heading home.

Kinnear said: “We brought Bird here to score goals and he has always scored goals.

“We nearly signed him a couple of years ago but he went off to Hartlepool, who were in the league at the time, when he left Cambridge but we finally got our man.

“He will score goals but we have a load of other young lads around him who will score when they settle in.”

Lee Martin moves the Gills forward against Dover Picture Gary Browne

Lee Martin moves the Gills forward against Dover Picture: Gary Browne

Gillingham scored twice to go infront but a mistake from visiting keeper Tomas Holy allowed Australian Giancarlo Gallifuoco to level.

“He is always on the move,” said Kinnear, on his Aussie import.

“He is not the tallest but he is very dedicated to the game, fit as anything and he wanted to play for the team. We are pleased with him but I don’t think anyone did themselves any ill-favour.”

Reaction: Gills coach Steve Lovell on the 2-2 draw


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