National League Premier – Saturday 21st November 2020 – The Walks, Kings Lynn
It still seems so surreal being in a ground with no fans around you. The casualness of the pre-match, with both teams emerging from different parts of the main stand, with the officials following on shortly after. The Kings Lynn team jumped the gun and had to return briefly to the dressing room for a final kit check, whilst Dover Athletic seemed to forget their protocols and gone immediately into a tight huddle on the pitch.
For football kit aficionados, this was Kappa versus Kappa, a throw-back to the days of the Casuals although for those who were looking for goals, the omens were good as the game pitched the two leakiest defences in the National League Premier against each other. Whilst Kings Lynn had scored almost two goals a game at the other end, Dover’s issues were at both ends of the pitch, with just six goals scored in their opening eight games.
The plight of the National League teams has been well documented with an initial pay out from the National Lottery Foundation made to each club, based on their league status (Step 1 or 2) and then on average attendances, with both sides receiving around £80,000 to last them until the end of the year. By his own admission, Kings Lynn’s chairman, in his podcast, stated that the club needed around £100,000 per month to make ends meet.
The game wasn’t a classic. The home side deserved their win thanks to a headed goal by the bandaged Rob McAuley just before the break and then a penalty, converted by Adam Marriott in the 86th minute, which also saw Dover’s Ryan Hanson dismissed for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity.
The win sees the Linnets consolidate their position in mid-table in their first season at this level, whilst for Dover they stay in the bottom three.