By Alfie Lumb
On Saturday, fans followed the boys in Claret and Blue up to Kent in their numbers, to witness the Terras perform a great escape from the drop with a 2-0 victory against Dover Athletic.
Bobby Wilkinson’s side won three of their last four fixtures going into this crucial game, including a 3-1 win away in Taunton on Tuesday night to keep their hopes alive.
Dover had the opposite run of form before this game, losing their last four games on the bounce. The side from Kent needed a win to secure safety, unless Dulwich Hamlet were to lose to Chippenham.
The Terras were dominant in the first periods of the game, but tensions around the south coast of Dorset were eased in the 21st minute thanks to Bradley Ash.
Some nice interplay between Teddy Howe and Keelan O’Connell saw the winger float the ball into Ash, who finished with a curling strike into the top corner.
Nine minutes later, the Terras doubled their lead through Ash’s strike partner, Ahkeem Rose. Tom Blair fizzed in a corner to Rose, with the striker guiding his header beyond the keeper.
Soon after, news broke of a goal for Chippenham against Dulwich, meaning Dover at that time were assured safety, bar avoiding a 5-0 loss to the Terras..
The Terras, spurred on by their deafening supporters who made the Crabble feel like the Bob Lucas Stadium, had a plethora of chances to snatch a third before half time, including an acrobatic overhead kick from Ash.
Dover came close to halving the deficit in the 44th minute when Luke Wanadio’s shot from outside the area crashed against the bar.
Keelan O’Connell picked out Brad Ash in the penalty area five minutes into the second half. The striker cut the ball in on his right boot but his effort towards the bottom right corner had dragged wide.
Rose had another effort on goal in the 70th minute, after fine footwork from Brad Ash saw him play through O’Connell who found the striker in the area. Rose took on the shot but the ball was straight into the gloves of the keeper.
Dover were looking frustrated and commited two dangerous challenges on Teddy Howe and Ash in the 72nd and 74th minute by Wilkinson and Judd respectively with the offenders receiving a yellow card each.
Harvey Slade replaced Keelan O’Connell who pulled up with an injury in the 76th minute.
The substitute nearly made an instant impact, following a ball to the back post which Slade tried to square in to the middle but Dover cleared the ball away.
Dover tried to counter attack but their cross was collected by Gerard Benfield. The shot stopper had been doing so all game.
Tom Blair was through on goal with little time on the clock and the chance to make it 3-0. The winger blazed down the wing before flashing a shot at Nelson in goal, but the keeper did well to save the venomous strike.
Six minutes of added time were given, and full time in the game between Dulwich Hamlet and Chippenham meant the former suffered relegation on this final day.
Frankie Monk made a cameo appearance in the final moments as the crowds were chanting “we are staying up.”
With that, the full time whistle was blown…
The Terras players and fans who have had to suffer so much this season were finally able to breathe.
Their club, who were written off after being unable to craft the luck for a win until October and were rooted to the relegation zone even since the season began due to alphabetical order stood defiant.
An extraordinary FA Cup run ending in Wimbledon sparked some massive league performances and incredible belief amongst the whole community.
Knowing what needed to be done, Bobby’s boys went on to get three wins on the bounce today, clinching safety in the most dramatic fashion.
Enjoy your summer, Terras players and fans, volunteers and coaches- you’ve been incredible- and see you back in the National League South next season.
|29th April 2023
|National League South