|Date||Time||League||Season||Attendance||Dover Star Player||Home Scorers||Away Scorers|
|10th September 2016||12:15 pm||National League||2016-2017||785||Ricky Miller||Miller (12 pen, 47,87), Lafayette (68)||Noble (7), Murphy (49), Doidge (85)|
Magnificent Miller stuns Forest Green
Hat-trick sees Whites end Rovers’ winning run
RICKY Miller scored a stunning hat-trick as Dover ended Forest Green Rovers’ six-game winning run in a pulsating encounter at Crabble on Saturday.
The livewire striker opened his account by cancelling out Liam Noble’s early opener for the visitors.
Miller then put Dover ahead from the penalty spot just after half-time before Rovers hit-back almost immediately through Rhys Murphy.
Dover regained the lead through a superb finish from Miller’s strike partner, Ross Lafayette, only for Rovers to equalise courtesy of substitute Christian Doidge.
But there was to be no denying Miller a deserved treble and he ensured it was sealed in style, curling home from just outside the penalty area with three minutes to go.
Miller, a summer target for Forest Green, has now scored six goals in seven appearances so far this campaign.
The win, Dover’s second consecutive after the 1-0 success at Southport seven days earlier, left boss Chris Kinnear full of praise for his players.
Kinnear said: “I will go as far as saying that they (Forest Green) are the best side we’ve seen in this league since we got into it.
“They are an excellent side and in excellent form, but that doesn’t mean you are going to lie down and let them beat you.
“My lads showed great character today – every time they (Forest Green) came back at us the lads got up and went again.
“The players could not have shown any more desire to do well against a quality side and they got rewarded for that tremendous effort.
“Everyone had a real go – we deserved to win.”
While Kinnear was celebrating, the same cannot be said of his Forest Green counterpart Mark Cooper.
“It was a game we should have not lost – if you score three goals away from home, you don’t get beaten.
“We didn’t play well at all and we missed far too many chances, guilt edge chances. It was a bad day at the office but we have to go again.”
Cooper’s side, who started the day in top spot, started the game with plenty of intent.
And it wasn’t long before Dover goalkeeper, Steve Arnold, was picking the ball out of the net against his former team.
Not that Arnold, who arrived at Crabble from the New Lawn in summer, had much chance to prevent Noble putting his side ahead in the seventh minute.
Noble, sporting a ‘lucky’ green Mohican, which will now be cut off as the winning run is over, saw his free-kick deflected off Aswad Thomas in the Dover wall and wrong-foot Arnold.
It then needed a brilliant save by Arnold moments later to deny Forest Green doubling their lead when he dived low to keep out Fabian Robert’s shot.
But Dover were back on level terms in the 12th minute.
Sammy Moore sent left-back Thomas clear and his cross was turned home by Miller.
Forest Green keeper Sam Russell needed to be at his best to prevent Dover taking the lead eight minutes from half-time.
Dale Bennett scythed down that man Miller on the edge of the box and Russell produced a world-class save to keep out Lafayette’s free-kick.
The action went back down the other end and Forest Green missed a glorious chance to hit the front when Noble’s free-kick found an unmarked Aaran Racine but he failed to make contact.
That led to a furious inquisition in the Dover defence between captain Jamie Grimes and Jack Parkinson.
There was still time for Darren Carter’s shot to be saved by Arnold on stroke of half-time.
And it wasn’t long before the drama started in the second half.
A surging Thomas was bought down by Noble and Miller sent Russell the wrong way from the penalty spot.
But Dover’s celebrations were short-lived – 40 seconds to be precise.
Rhys Murphy headed Rovers back on level terms after he got on the end of Carter’s cross to score his fifth goal of the season.
Arnold appeared to have produced a stunning save to keep out the close-range header but the linesman ruled the ball had crossed the line.
Miller went close to completing his treble after beating the on-rushing Russell only to be denied by a stunning last-gasp tackle by the impressive Clough.
Noble and Carter both hit the woodwork before Lafayette beat Russell from 25 yards to put Dover ahead.
They held the lead until five minutes from time when Doidge latched on to Noble’s pass to beat Arnold.
But there was to be one more twist to the game – Miller saw to that.
|Referee||Referee's Assistants||Fourth Official|
|Stephen Ross||Andrew Parker|
|Crabble Athletic Ground|
|40 Crabble Rd, Dover, Kent CT17 0QJ, UK|