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Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler on club's disciplinary record; Chelmsford City next up for Whites in National League South

Manager Andy Hessenthaler will not be discussing Dover’s disciplinary record with his players yet - but he is becoming irked by their silly bookings.

Whites have found form in National League South, losing just once in seven games after a 1-0 win at Bath on Saturday.

Dover's Myles Judd will miss their next match on Monday night at Chelmsford as he serves a suspension. Picture: Stuart Brock
Dover's Myles Judd will miss their next match on Monday night at Chelmsford as he serves a suspension. Picture: Stuart Brock

That run has come despite captain Lee Martin and Jordan Higgs having already served one-game suspensions after reaching five bookings this season. Right-back Myles Judd will miss their next match, too, for the same reason.

Hessenthaler, himself a tough-tackling midfielder in his playing days, said: “I was the world’s worst for it!

“Silly bookings drive me mad. If it’s for dissent or anything like that, I think it’s poor.

“I’m not going to take the competitive side away from them and sometimes we all do silly things, don’t we? It’s a shame but we have to deal with it.

“For me to sit them down and try to calm everyone down, I’m not going to do that.

"But they also have to realise they cannot get bookings for silly things.”

Victory against Bath, secured through Luke Wanadio’s strike, saw Dover produce the perfect response after they lost 3-0 to Concord at Crabble last Tuesday.

Hessenthaler said: “We got beaten comfortably by Concord but good teams bounce back.

“Bath are a good side, one of the best we have played. We watched them against Havant the Wednesday before [when they drew 2-2] and they could have won that game. But we knew, perhaps, they were not as good at home.

“We said ‘Let’s go there and stay in the game’. They hit the post, and we got a bit of luck, but Stuart Nelson wasn’t ever really tested other than a fairly routine save in the second half.

"All credit to the boys for that.”

Hessenthaler’s men sit just outside the play-offs in 12th. They were without former Leyton Orient man Judd at Bath while defender Tyrone Sterling hobbled off in the 11th minute.

“That was a tough one to take with Tyrone going off, but we knew young Will Moses was capable - he did excellently,” said Hessenthaler.

“As a group, we defended well. We didn’t defend at all against Concord but Saturday was a complete transformation.

“We had Higgsy [Jordan Higgs] at right-back, he played there last season for Dulwich. We could have put Harrison Byford in, but is that too much pressure on the young lad? Higgsy did well and we did well defensively overall.”

And the boss is looking to string another run of positive results together.

“We have had one loss in seven, drawing two and four wins,” said Hessenthaler, whose team visit Chelmsford, who visit National League Barnet in the FA Cup, on Monday after a free weekend.

“If we can play like that again, we will be happy and that’s our aim.

“We have got to focus on Monday. Chelmsford play in the FA Cup on Saturday and they won 5-0 last weekend [against Eastbourne]. It’s going to be another tough test.

“But we have to take confidence from our away performances of late which have seen us take seven points from three games. Hopefully that continues.”

Hessenthaler also paid his own tribute to Neil Cugley after the long-serving manager stood down as Folkestone boss after more than 25 years in charge last week.

“Neil has been a friend of mine for a long time,” said Hessenthaler.

“He has been a massive servant to the game with what he’s achieved with the amount of games he has racked up.

“He’s Mr Folkestone. He’s still going to be there and involved at the club. We speak a lot now.

“He’s a good man, a proper gentleman, and I’m pleased he will still be involved.”

With Dover suffering relegation from the National League last term, after starting the campaign on minus 12 points, Cugley was among those to show his support.

Hessenthaler revealed: “He picked the phone up at times with where we were last year, with the fine and minus 12 points. He was thinking about the club and thinking about me.

“He’s a football person but a proper family guy as well.

"When I see him, I’m sure we will go for a beer together. He deserves all the plaudits he’s getting.”

Whites have been drawn away to Isthmian South Central Uxbridge in the Second Round of the FA Trophy on November 19.

Dover’s FA Youth Cup First-Round tie against Langley at Crabble will be played tomorrow, kick-off 7.45pm.

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