In a match in which Charlton had trailed for seventy minutes a try scored in the dying minutes of the game by Ross McManus proved to be decisive as Charlton won the match to continue their revival and stabilised their mid-table position in the League.
Playing with the benefit of the natural conditions for the first half Charlton failed to utilise the advantage and a combination of good kicking by Dover allied to a series of mistakes in both attack and defence by Charlton ensured that the home side were in the ascendency in field position and possession.
The result of Dover’s efforts was reflected as they took advantage of Charlton giving away penalties to post a six point lead with two long range penalties before Charlton began to put an element of cohesion into their play.
It was an error at a line by Dover that set up Charlton’s first points of the match when following a an over throw by Dover Charlton’s number eight Rob Saunderson was quicker to react and following his drive Dover gave away a penalty which fly half Thor Normann kicked to post Charlton’s first points of the game.
The restart kick proved to be decisive as a combination of Charlton failing to gain possession of the ball and poor tackling saw Dover make inroads up field and several passages of good handling saw them, within the space of a minute score a converted try to negate any momentum that Charlton may have created.
Charlton continued to give away penalties and Dover had several opportunities to extend their lead but the resultant kicks missed. It was in the last few minutes of the half, when both sides had a player sin-binned that Charlton gained some reward for their efforts when Normann kicked his second penalty to narrow Dover’s lead to seven points at half time.
The second half started with Charlton riding their luck as they gave away a further two kickable penalties which fortunately for them missed before they started to play to their true potential and forwards were gaining a noticeable advantage in tight play. It was following a break from Mark English that created the basis for Charlton to equalise the scores midway through the second half. Following the award of a scrum close to the Dover goal line Charlton were awarded a penalty try when the home side were adjudged to have offended one too many times in trying to negate Charlton’s drive. Normann’s conversion kick levelled the scores and set up a nervous end for both sides.
It was two examples off excellent handling by Normann and Ben Chappell that created the last score of the match when following Normann’s outstanding pick up off the ground of the ball and offloads out of the tackle by him and Chappell saw McManus put into space and his resolute leg drive and reach through a tackle saw the lock touch the ball down just over the goal line to score the try that Normann converted to give Charlton the lead for the first time in the match and against the general run of play.
The last seven minutes of the game was of a “seesaw” nature as Charlton defended their lead and Dover went in search of further scores to win the game but Charlton’s ball and time management was sufficient for them to hold on for the win and they look forward to their break from League play.