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Dover Athletic boss Jake Leberl on relegated side’s 1-0 National League South home win against promotion-chasing Chelmsford City

Jake Leberl is hoping Dover’s win over promotion-chasing Chelmsford on Easter Monday is the start of a positive end to the season.

But he denied the pressure being off his relegated side was a big factor in their home success.

Dover midfielder Henry Young - the teenager netted the only goal in their Easter Monday win against second-placed Chelmsford. Picture: Steve Terrell
Dover midfielder Henry Young - the teenager netted the only goal in their Easter Monday win against second-placed Chelmsford. Picture: Steve Terrell

Just 72 hours after a 1-0 National League South derby defeat at Welling confirmed basement boys Dover would go down this season from National League South, teenage midfielder Henry Young got the only goal of the game in Whites’ 1-0 win against their visitors, who remain second.

Dover manager Leberl, who it has been confirmed this week will lead the club in Isthmian Premier next term, said: “I thought the pattern of the game mirrored quite a few of our games, if I’m honest.

“But we managed to take one of our opportunities and kept a clean sheet.

“People might think the pressure was off since we have now been relegated - but I don’t think it was that.

“A few home truths have been said, maybe they should have been said a few weeks ago. But it was a good win.

Relegated Whites stick with boss Leberl

“Hopefully, we can continue that and go into next season with a bit of positivity.”

On the decision to keep Leberl in charge of the club, Whites chairman Jim Parmenter said: “We are delighted that Jake will be with us next season.

“He is passionate about the club and wants us to improve - on and off the pitch.”

Young tapped home at Crabble in the 16th minute against Chelmsford after wideman Roman Charles-Cook had seen his shot blocked.

Leberl was full of praise for the 18-year-old, with Dover taking four points off Chelmsford after a 3-3 draw in Essex.

Dover manager Jake Leberl. Picture: Randolph File
Dover manager Jake Leberl. Picture: Randolph File

“What a great lad he is,” he enthused.

“He has got an absolutely brilliant attitude. He’s a good player. Obviously, I brought Freddie (Oliver) in.

“Maybe they’re a little bit similar in some ways and it’s only purely for that reason Youngy hasn’t played.

“Moving forward, hopefully, Youngy will get more opportunities. I know he will never let anyone down.”

The campaign - which will end the club’s 15-year stay in the National Leagues - will still be considered an extremely disappointing one for Whites.

“We had an horrendous February in regards to results,” noted Leberl, who handed successive substitute appearances to former Gillingham forward Kai Garrett over the Bank Holiday weekend.

“That was the time when we needed to pick up results.

“We were so close to strengthening the squad in areas, we just didn’t get them over the line.

“If we did get a little more strength down the spine, we wouldn’t have been far off getting results but we had to stick with what we had.

“We brought in some boys although they had no experience of the level. That’s where the club is at the minute.”

Even Dover’s chances of avoiding finishing bottom of the pile appear slim now, though. They are 10 points adrift of second-bottom Havant & Waterlooville, with just 12 points to play for.

Leberl said: “You look at their squad in comparison to ours and it’s frightening!

“They have got some extremely good players and strength-in-depth. How they are where they are is unbelievable, really.

“But it just goes to show the strength of the league.”

Whites, who visit relegation-threatened Hemel Hempstead this Saturday, have a few injury concerns to forward Dontai Stewart and midfielder Iffy Allen ahead of their last league matches of the season.

“You can say we have been fortunate,” Leberl said.

“A lot of other clubs seem to be struggling on the injury front.

“But a lot of other clubs do have older players and they play on 3Gs, which I’m convinced causes more injuries.

“Iffy looks like he is going to be out for the season with a problem with his knee and his ankle. Dontai is struggling a little with his ankle.

“Other than that, we’re going to Hemel Hempstead fairly full-strength and looking to get back-to-back results, which the
club hasn’t done for God knows how long!”

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