Dover Athletic – a game of survival?

A question. Whats the hardest part of being a sports photographer shooting football? The answer, covering a game of the club you support when they are struggling and you have to get pictures that are newsworthy! roughly translated means I had to basically cover them getting stuffed and be at the end of goals!

Its been a pretty hard week/season at Dover. No Sh*t Sherlock I hear you say. But, probably not for the reasons that are immediately obvious. But enough of that as I am no pundit or reporter, I am just a humble photographer that sits and takes pictures of what happens in front of me! Here are just a few personal favourites from today’s clash against high flying Salford City FC. It was however, not the result that the club wanted but in my opinion a lot of positives to take away. To be fair the difference was this fella, Adam Rooney currently top scorer in the league, and today he bagged a hat trick in what has to be said style.

Dover Athletic - a game of survival

Salford’s defender Carl Piergianni celebrates with Salford’s forward Adam Rooney after scoring his hat-trick during the National League match between Dover Athletic FC and Salford City FC.

I think for now, Dover’s problems are clear and simple. But as a rudderless ship adrift in the suddenly very competitive National League. However, salvation will come from a very strong leader be that who it may. It is my peronsla opinion is that at this level now to succeed you just have to be full time. But I guess this week will be full of announcements and revelations.

There is a larger gallery here.  All images are copyright to me, self billing applies. If in doubt please get in contact with me.

The 2017-2018 Football Season, a Retrospective of Sorts

2017-2018 Football Season

As the 2017-2018 Football Season draws to a close with the FA cup Final to be played this coming Saturday, apparently there is a wedding on the same day as well but I don’t know much about that! I thought it might be an opportune time to take a quick look back on a few of my favourites from the 2017-2018 Football Season. A season I might add that I found myself covering on average a game a week. I know this doesn’t actually sound a lot but I also work as a Commercial, Editorial, PR and Press photographer.

So in 8 months the tally is roughly 19 grounds, 54 teams that included everything from a full international friendly all the way down to step 6 and I absolutely loved it! At this point I should thank both Pro Sport Images and The Non league Paper as well as a load of other publications that continued to commission me to head out and work.

Football is such an ethereal thing; filled with passion and commitment. What follows is a selection of my work I personally like. As an aside about 80% of is published.

So I think I’ll divide this into three: Celebrations – The photographers holy grail, Action – in the game it happens and Passion – whats behind the game.

Celebrations – The photographers holy grail

There are is a moment in football that overcomes all else for a photographer, that of the celebration. The moment where everything pales into insignificance. Yes the goal is good and if I’m honest normally happens behind a load of players from where I am sitting. There is something magical about that moment after the goal, the celebration moment when I sometimes think I can see the real player. The elation and sometimes the relief!

2017-2018 Football Season

NOVEMBER 4, 2017: Folkestone Invicta against Dorking Wanderers in Bostik League Premier Division. Where the home side ran out 3 to 1 winners. Fullicks Stadium, England.Folkestones Ade Yusuff celebrates after putting the home side 3 to 1 up from his penalty in the 90th minute.

Its cool isn’t it? However take it from me its the hardest thing to take a photograph of in the game!

Action – in the game, as it happens

Probably the bit that is easiest or is it? many years ago I always remember being told that if its action and the ball isn’t in the frame then don’t bother sending it. Its a mantra I have followed since as everything else can be changed, straightened, made darker\lighter. Sometimes though it doesn’t matter.

2017-2018 Football Season

Third from top Dover Athletic against second from bottom Solihull Moors in Conference Premier at Crabble Stadium in Dover, England. Dover ran out winners by a goal to nothing. Dover’s defender Manny Parry puts Solihulls goal keeper Nathan Vaughan under pressure.

I always find looking at players faces during the action is where the true emotion comes out

Passion – whats behind the game

Its always hard to force yourself to see the game from a slightly different angle, but when you do the rewards are nearly always better than the action itself.

2017-2018 Football Season

Dover’s Manager Chris Kinnear

Managers and fans a like its about the passion!

So when all is said and told do I have a favourite? not really. But, then again a huge amount of my time was spent getting wet and cold covering Dover Athletic and truth be told I have become a fan! So my favourite picture from the past season has to be this one. For me it sums up their season, an inexperienced team thrown together and very nearly did the unthinkable.

2017-2018 Football Season

Dover’s midfielder Nortei Nortey celebrates scoring Dovers first goal late in the first half during the Vanorama National League match between Leyton Orient and Dover Athletic at the Matchroom Stadium, London, England on 18 November 2017

So whatever happens during the impending FA Cup final and the much talked about World Cup 2018 in Russia I will be chomping at the bit to get going again for the new season.

Dover Athletic v Tranmere Rovers – 17/04/2018

Dover Athletic v Tranmere Rovers – As the 2018 season draws to its conclusion the games become more and more edgy. Tranmere Rovers are chasing the top spot and Dover Athletic are chasing a place in the newly reorganised play-offs. Unfortunately for the young Dover Athletic side they came up against a very inform experienced Tranmere Rovers side. The visitors ran out winners by a single goal thanks to Tranmere’s Andy Cook.

It was a very physical game, here are a selection of pictures. There is a full gallery that is available for licenced use here.

Dover Athletic v Tranmere Rovers

Dover’s forward Anthony Jeffrey rushes to the ball ahead of Tranmeres defender Adam Buxton and Tranmeres midfielder Larnell Cole.

For me Anthony Jeffrey was the Dover Man of the match. He has just got better and better over the last few games and is a problem for most teams, too little too late?

Oh and did I say it was physical? Kadell Daniel showing what commitment is!

Tranmeres forward Connor Jennings and Dover’s forward Kadell Daniel both go flying.

Dover Athletic v Torquay United – 07/04/2018

Dover Athletic v Torquay United. As the season gets to the sharp end and play-off places are hard fought for. It made a change to actually have sunshine. I know as a sports photographer moaning comes with the job but still I thought I was about to start to rust. The game itself was a meeting of teams at both ends of the league and neither team wanted to take any risks. Here are a few of my favorites. There is a full gallery here.

I give you the footballer totam pole! Although nobody seems particularly happy!

Dover Athletic v Torquay United.

Dover’s forward Ryan Bird rises above Torquay’s defender Sean McGinty and team mate Giancarlo Gallifuoco

Lastly for now a shot of Mitch Walker that illustrates his commitment putting his well being on the line. This really brought tears to my eyes!

Dover Athletic v Torquay United

Dover’s keeper Mitch Walker bravely saves an effort by Torquays Brett Williams.

Dover Athletic v Dagenham and Redbridge FC – 20/02/2018

Dover Athletic v Dagenham and Redbridge FC. The Whites were looking to pull themselves out of a lack lustre run and get back into the playoff running. Right from the start they looked like a side on a mission. It was Mitch Pinnocks overhead kick that turned out to be the winner. It could quite possibly turn out to be a contender for the goal of the season.

Dover Athletic v Dagenham and Redbridge FC

Dover’s forward Mitchell Pinnock scores with a spectacular over head kick during the Vanorama National League match between Dover Athletic and Dagenham and redbridge FC at Crabble Stadium, Kent on 6 January 2018.

It was one of those goals that you sit there watching thinking; “Hes not going to try that is he?…. oh he has, well surely he wont score…..Damn!” Then much to my surprise he reeled around and ran right at me (cheers for that ;)). So much so I had to shout stop at him to stop him getting to close so I could keep taking pictures! But what is pulling the shorts up high all about?

Dover Athletic v Dagenham and Redbridge FC

Dover’s forward Mitchell Pinnock elated after scoring his spectacular over head kicked goal during the Vanorama National League match between Dover Athletic and Dagenham and redbridge FC at Crabble Stadium, Kent on 6 January 2018.

Here are a few favourites from the game

If you still want more there is a larger gallery here

 

Dover Athletic v Sutton United – 10/02/2018

Dover Athletic v Sutton United. I am fast coming to the conclusion that football has to be played in the rain! I think its about 6 straight weeks now and I’d be lost without my ThinkTank Hydraphobias

Dover Athletic v Sutton United

Dovers Ryan Bird cannot believe his luck as he narrowly misses scoring

So torrential rain and a game that was too close to call what was not to like! Sadly it wasn’t to be Dovers day as Sutton ran out winners by a single goal. Despite being reduced to 10 men and surviving a barrage of pressure from Dover during the closing minutes the equaliser remaind elusive. The frustrastion on the Dover players faces is clear to see.

There is a full gallery from the game here

Dover Athletic v Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy – 03/02/2018

Dover Athletic v Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy. Possibly the first time the two sides have met at Crabble, happy to be corrected on that one. It was a thrilling 7 goal thriller which the visitors ran out winners with a stoppage time winning goal. One of those days where your just at the wrong end!

Dover Athletic v Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy

Leyton Orient’s defender George Elokobi celebrates after scoring the O’s first goal during the The FA Trophy match between Dover Athletic and Leyton Orient at Crabble Stadium, Kent on 3 February 2018.

There was a moment when it appeared that Dover were on the verge of an epic comeback. They came back from 3 goals down to level the score. But alas it wasn’t to be.

Dover Athletic v Leyton Orient in the FA Trophy

Team mates flock to Dover’s forward Ryan Bird to celebrate his goal during the The FA Trophy match between Dover Athletic and Leyton Orient at Crabble Stadium, Kent on 3 February 2018. Photo by Matt Bristow.

Here are a few of my favorites from the game. There is a full gallery here and as usual there will be pictures in The Non-League Football Paper

Dover Athletic v Guiseley FC – 27/01/2018

Dover Athletic v Guiseley FC. It is a wet and windy January and high flying Dover Athletic host lowely Guiseley FC in the Vanorama National League. Whats not to like?

Dover Athletic v Guiseley FC

Guiseleys defender Harry Flowers keeps Dover’s midfielder Mitch Brundle from the ball.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Now I’m not one to complain and its great to have a player celebrate right in front of you, but sometimes its too close! I literally couldn’t focus on Mitch Pinnock. I did get up and move back and Mitch Brundle then performed some kind of smack down move on my stool LOL!

Dover Athletic v Guiseley FC

Thanks guys but too close! fail on my behalf!

There is a larger gallery of Dover Athletic v Guiseley FC on my Photoshelter account

Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic – 18/11/2017

Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic – To set the scene. Its a cold, damp Saturday in November and its my first time working at the very nice Matchroom Stadium.

Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic – My first visit to the Matchroom Stadium. The sides, rather surprisingly have never met before in competitive competition. So its a massive jumble of unknown. Dover Athletic, who currently sit at the top of the National League and Leyton Orient who after relegation from the football league last season are fighting to stay out of the relegation zone. The final score line was a draw with each side bagging a goal a piece. Here are a few of my favorites from the game. There is a larger gallery here, all images are available for licenced use, self billing applies where appropriate.

Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic - First Visit To The Matchroom Stadium

Dover players celebrate after Nortei Nortey scores Dovers first goal in the first half during the Vanorama National League match between Leyton Orient and Dover Athletic at the Matchroom Stadium, London, England on 18 November 2017.

Leyton Orient v Dover Athletic - First Visit To The Matchroom Stadium

Leyton Orient’s keeper Sam Sargeant comes to collect the ball as Dover’s defender Manny Parry lines up for a shot during the Vanorama National League match between Leyton Orient and Dover Athletic at the Matchroom Stadium, London, England on 18 November 2017.

Dover Athletic v Eastleigh FC – 11/11/2017

Dover Athletic v Eastleigh FC – 11th November, 2017

As a full time sports photographer I love my job, its particularly enjoyable when its your local football team that is literally meeting the Conference battle head-on. Dover Athletic v Eastleigh FC. Its nearly half way through the season and the Whites are top of the league! and might I add look like they could stay there for sometime. This new Dover team has come together better than most would have dreamt of. Whats probably more inspiring is their goal difference. They are in good company as only a handful of League and Premiership sides have a similar boast.

Top of the table Dover Athletic hosted visitors Eastleigh in Conference Premier at Crabble Stadium in Dover, England. The home side ran out emphatic winners 2-0 to remain at the top of the National League. Here are just a few of my favorites. A full gallery can be found here.

Dover Athletic v Eastleigh FC

Moments before Dover’s forward James Alabi heads the whites first goal.

I do feel that the current run of success to largely due to Chris Kinnear and his ability to build an effective team

Dover Athletic v Eastleigh FC

NOVEMBER 11: Dover’s manager Chris Kinnear looks on as his side retain the top spot.