Simpemba shines in Dover stalemate

Ian Simpemba competes with Nathan Elder
Ian Simpemba competes with Nathan Elder

Tommy Widdrington praised his trio of defenders after they came way from the Crabble ground with a well-earned point on Saturday.

The Borough boss deployed a 3-4-1-2 formation to nullify the threat of a formidable Dover attack that has scored 53 goals so far this season.

Home striker Nathan Elder is one of the more physical strikers in the division but he was dealt with manfully by the impressive Ian Simpemba.

Simpemba received a warm welcome from the Dover crowd as he played a key role in their play-off push last season. Many fans were surprised he was allowed to the Crabble and he showed exactly why with an exemplary performance for the Borough.

He, alongside Ollie Rowe and Adam Watts, were the last line of defence and helped keep shots on Craig Ross’ goal to a minimum.

“The three at the back deserve special mention,” Widdrington said.

“Our defensive performance was probably better than our attacking performance and it’s not often I have said that this season.

“Nathan Elder is certainly a handful. He’s a huge unit but I thought our back three were excellent against him.

“Craig (Ross) didn’t have too much to do in terms of saves so in that respect it was a job well done.

“It was a more of a must not lose game lose rather than a must win game. The draw keeps us in the hunt and keeps up the pressure on Dover.”

Stacy Long, operating just behind the front two of Elvis Hammond and Darren Lok, had a half decent chance as Borough made the early running.

Tom Murphy did have the ball in the net for the hosts on 37 minutes but his effort was ruled out for offside.

After the break Murphy and Ademola both spurned chances while Borough looked to improve their chances of nicking a late winner with the introduction Chris Shephard. With 15 minutes to go James Rogers was dismissed for the home team for a second bookable offence.

But despite the numerical advantage Borough could not grab a winner. The draw leaves Dover in pole position for the play-off with Borough still pressing hard.

Borough: Ross, Deaman, (Tallack 62), Simpemba, Watts, Rowe (Johnson 76), Cole, Raymond, Gorman, Long (Shephard 64), Hammond, Lok.

Subs not used: Stinson, Derry. Att: 735