Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughThe non-league Messi? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough The non-league Messi? - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

The non-league Messi?

Dover Athletic recently came to the public eye following the club’s F.A. cup run which saw them beat the likes of Gillingham and Aldershot Town to make it into the 3rd round of the competition, where they eventually lost to Huddersfield.

However, no matter how remarkable this run was, one player was at the helm of the team.

Adam Birchall began his career at Arsenal, where he spent 10 years in the youth team and ended up training with the likes of Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry.

In 2004–05, the striker had a successful loan spell at Wycombe Wanderers, scoring four goals in 12 league games but was released by Arsenal at the end of that season, and joined Mansfield Town in June 2005 on a two-year contract.

In November 2006, Birchall was loaned to Barnet, where he was a hit, scoring the first goal in their 4-1 thrashing of Northampton Town in the FA Cup and a move was made permanent on 4 January 2007.

While at Barnet, the striker is credited with the idea for a scheme, now common worldwide, whereby only the team captain can question referees’ decisions, in order to reduce dissent and the yellow cards that follow.

Birchall was released from Barney in May 2009 after scoring only two league goals in the 2008–09 season.

The player then signed for Conference South side Dover Athletic in July 2009 and made his league debut for the club in the first game of the season against Maidenhead United, before scoring his first league goal for the club in the following fixture against Bishop’s Stortford.

After scoring an impressive 15 goals in 32 games last season, it is the current season which has brought the former Arsenal trainee into the limelight.

The weekend just passed, Birchall scored his 39th and 40th goals of a momentous season to defeat Dorchester Town.

The striker has netted 26 times in 28 appearances in the league so far while he scored a remarkable 11 goals in the FA Cup, despite being knocked out in the third round to the Terriers.

Birchall’s moment of the season so far is arguably scoring both goals against Aldershot Town to take Dover to the FA Cup 3rd Round for the first time in its history, as well as scoring a long range effort against local rivals Gillingham.

Despite being born in England, Birchall has represented Wales at international level. He gained 12 caps for the Welsh under-21 team, scoring on his début against Finland U-21.

For Dover, the aim is to push into the play-off places of the Conference South, where they lie in 7th, only four points off the top five, however for Birchall, the aim for the rest of the season is probably to score more and more goals.

One thing I would guarantee is, no matter how many Birchall gets between now and May, he will not be a Dover player next season.


Joshua Peck

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