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Dover Athletic manager Mitch Brundle reacts to 1-0 National League South home defeat to Weston-super-Mare at Crabble

Manager Mitch Brundle revealed Dover’s players failed to follow instructions in the first half of their National League South home defeat to Weston-super-Mare on Saturday.

The visitors dominated throughout the majority of the opening 45 minutes and, although clear-cut chances were few and far between for either side, Weston-super-Mare netted the only goal of the game as skipper Dayle Grubb fired home.

Dover manager Mitch Brundle. Picture: Stuart Brock
Dover manager Mitch Brundle. Picture: Stuart Brock

Their 1-0 loss means second-bottom Whites haven’t won at Crabble in National League South since February and last kept a league clean sheet in April.

Brundle, supported by returning Dover assistant Jake Leberl, said: “Thanks for that reminder!

“First half, they didn’t listen to instructions. We had a game-plan from the off.

“They’re a very good footballing side. They’ve just come up after promotion and are still in that bubble. They keep the ball very well and we had our plan.

“We just need to stop conceding chances and, today, we did that, to be fair.

Report: Dover 0-1 Weston-super-Mare

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“But the first half wasn’t good enough. We didn’t put our foot in anywhere and we didn’t get to grips with them.

“Second half, it was a bit better. We started to create chances and nullified them a little bit. It was a game of few chances. That’s the least amount of chances that we have had on our goal so far this season.

“Obviously, one part of it worked and the other part didn’t. We need to get that balance right.

“We now have got Jake in and can have a full week’s worth of training before the game next Saturday and we look forward to that.

“We need to stop leaking chances - and in certain aspects, we did have that today - but it was another poor goal conceded down our right-hand side. It was a good bit of football by them.

“At the other end, we didn’t create enough chances to really get into the game.”

Asked to explain the game-plan which his troops had not adhered to, Brundle replied: “We set up in a shape that we have used for our last two games and I think we have done well in that.

“We knew they would have spells on the ball. It was more about being patient, knowing when to go, when not to go, and what lanes to cut off. We worked on that during the week and just didn’t follow it.

“I don’t want to give too much away in case we use it when we play a different team.

“We had certain trigger points but we just didn’t get to grips with their movement which is very good, don’t get me wrong.”

Whites were forced to make a late change to their starting line-up as Sinn'Kaye Christie struggled with a hamstring problem and was replaced in the warm-up by fellow defender Charlie Naylor while Roman Charles-Cook came on the substitutes bench - albeit wasn’t used in the end.

On Christie’s injury, Brundle explained: “It was his hamstring.

“He has made the step up and I think he’s done relatively well from where he has been. But this league is a lot different. If you speak to those at Weston-super-Mare, they’ll tell you that you get punished at this level.

“He’s stepped in and played back-to-back games for us and it’s been a bit of a shock for his body.

“Hopefully, it’s not too long. He’s not pulled his hamstring, it was more that it was a bit tight. If he had opened it up, it probably would have gone.

“We’ve lost another to injury [Iffy Allen] as well so we’ll judge that.”

One of Dover’s better performers was recently-signed Bailey Akehurst.

Former Gillingham defender Akehurst backed up last Tuesday’s performance in a 1-1 draw with Eastbourne Borough with another decent display, which saw the 20-year-old have a second-half effort deflected over the crossbar.

“I thought he had a better game on Tuesday but he’s settled in well,” noted Brundle.

Whites begin a busy December with a massive away match against basement boys Havant & Waterlooville, beaten 4-1 at Tonbridge on Saturday, next weekend.

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