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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Big Match Preview

Dover Athletic vs. Aldershot Town
Saturday November 27, 15:00, Crabble Ground

Conference South outfit Dover Athletic will be in search of another League Two scalp this weekend as Aldershot Town make the short trip to Kent in the FA Cup second round.

Athletic were 2-0 winners at Gillingham in the last round and the Shots will be wary of falling victim to another shock with a possible tie against the big boys in the next round potentially just 90 minutes away.

Dover's run to this stage has seen them see off the likes of Erith Town, Cambridge City, and Farnborough before their stunning success at the Priestfield earlier in the month.

It was a particularly spicy encounter, not just because of county pride being at stake, but the Whites were able to gain revenge on former bosses Andy Hessenthaler and Ian Hendon - the managerial team at the Gills.

The win included a stunning long range strike from Adam Birchall to open the scoring and - with 19 goals in all competitions so far this term - he will be again be a key man.

League experience comes from the likes of ex-Barnet man Nicky Nicolau and powerful striker Ben Hunt, who had a spell on the books of Bristol Rovers.

In the Conference South, Dover currently sit just outside the play off positions in 6th - largely due to an excellent away record with six wins from seven.

Manager Martin Hayes may well wish this game was being played on the road, too, therefore, with Dover already suffering home defeats to Eastleigh, Dartford, and Chelmsford.

Dover shocked Gillingham in their grudge match in the previous round

Visitors Aldershot come into this game in mixed form, although Tuesday evening's 2-1 win at Burton moved Town up to 12th in League Two - and six points clear of the relegation zone.

After reaching the play offs last term though, it's been a more difficult time for boss Kevin Dillon in his first full season in charge at the Recreation Ground.

The Shots have particularly struggled for goals, registering just 16 in their 18 matches - only Lincoln have scored fewer.

Their record on the road is, unsurprisingly, patchy with wins being achieved at Oxford and Torquay prior to their Pirelli Stadium victory. However, defeats have been suffered away to Port Vale, Crewe, and Macclesfield.

They also saw off League One side Brentford in a replay to face Dover - the first time the phoenix club had ever beaten a team from a higher tier of English football.

Outstanding performers for the Shots include striker Marvin Morgan - a powerful and pacy striker who's found the back of the net five times - and former Sheffield Wednesday wide man Wade Small - who bagged a brace against Burton.

This could be a difficult encounter for the League team who are unpredictable at the best of times, and struggled for any kind of consistency.

However, Dover have also been poor on home soil and may well find taking a second scalp a step too far. A replay wouldn't be a surprise though.

Nobes' Prediction: Dover Athletic 1 Aldershot Town 1

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