Ricky Miller scored a match-winning hat-trick as Dover’s hopes of reaching the National League play-offs ended at Barrow AFC on Saturday.
Miller showed why he was named the league’s Player-of-the-Year after taking his tally to 40 goals as Whites finished sixth, three points behind fifth-placed Aldershot Town.
The striker’s treble included a stoppage time winner as boss Chris Kinnear’s side came from behind to finish the season with three points at Holker Street.
Jordan Williams put the Bluebirds ahead in the 20th minute before Miller levelled two minutes later with sublime finish.
That’s the way it stayed until two minutes after half-time when Miller fired home from the penalty spot.
A Moussa Diarra header pulled the hosts level before Miller won it two minutes into time added on.
After a scrappy start to the game, Kinnear’s side found themselves behind after a lightnening Barrow counter attack.
Joe Healy’s corner was cleared and reached Williams on the half-way line.
He raced towards Mitch Walker’s goal, beat Sam Magri’s last-ditch tackle before firing past the Dover keeper.
Miller ensured the reply was swift and stunning.
He controlled James Hurst’s pass before unleashing an unstoppable half-volley past goalkeeper Jon Flatt from outside the box.
The finish was so good that the Barrow fans applauded it.
No sooner had Dover scored, they should have been behind again when Williams fluffed his lines from inside the six-yard box and Walker saved his scuffed shot.
Dover then had a double let off in the space of a matter of seconds.
Richie Bennett’s 20-yard shot rattled the bar before Williams’ headed rebound struck the bar and bounced behind.
That man Miller then forced Flatt into acrobatically tipping over his shot before the keeper bravely caught Aswad Thomas’ looping header while under pressure from Ross Lafayette.
Dover were the first team out for the second half – and the first to score.
Miller’s probing run into the Barrow box was ended after he was sent tumbling by captain Danny Livesey.
The hit-man got up to take the penalty and fired well beyond the reach of Flatt much to the joy of the travelling 38 Dover fans just to the right of the goal.
The home fans thought Bennett had equalised not long after his bullet header from Williams’ cross appeared to have nestled in the back of Walker’s net – it hadn’t.
It had whistled inches wide and ended up behind the goal, though it appeared to be in it.
But there was no illusion two minutes later when Diarra headed Shaun Beeley’s cross home from close range, giving Walker no chance.
Flatt almost gifted Dover the lead after he fumbled Hurst’s curling effort into the post and away for a corner.
But there was to be no denying Miller, or Dover.
Miller pounced on Livesey’s weak attempted back header to his keeper and kept to his composure to beat Flatt and complete his fifth league hat-trick of a prolific season.
Earlier, Kinnear had to make one enforced change to his starting side following Tuesday’s draw with Bondz N’Gala replacing injured Tyrone Sterling.
Ricky Modeste was also unavailable through injury.
Barrow AFC: Flatt, Beeley, Anderton, Liversey, Diarra, Platt, Harvey, Turnbull, Wright (Hannah 87mins), Bennett, Williams.
Subs not used: Newby, Meikle, Thomas, Effiong.
Dover: Walker, Orlu , Grimes, Essam, N’Gala , Magri, Healy, Hurst, Thomas, Miller, Lafayette
Subs not used: Kinnear jnr, Stevenson, Pinnock, Emmanuel, Skapetis
|29th April 2017||12:15 pm||National League||2016-2017||90'|