Former Forest Green Rovers striker Brett Williams came back to haunt Dover at Crabble on Saturday.
Williams, who scored a goal in both of Rovers’ wins at the venue last season, scored a goal in each half as Torquay moved out of the relegation zone and take Dover’s hopes of making the play-offs out of their hands.
The Devon side led 2-0 before substitute Aswad Thomas reduced the deficit just a couple of minutes after coming on.
But it wasn’t enough to prevent boss Chris Kinnear’s side from losing to the Gulls, who only had two efforts on goal, for the second time this season and by identical results.
The loss keeps Dover sixth on the National League table, four points behind fifth-placed Aldershot Town ahead of Tuesday’s clash with Macclesfield Town at Crabble.
Whites also have a game in hand on the Hampshire side.
Dover started brightly and dominated possession for long stages, but could not make the pressure pay.
Recalled striker Ross Lafayette had the first shot of the game in the third minute with goalkeeper Brendan Moore comfortably saving the effort.
Moore then saved twice in quick succession from Ricky Miller as Whites looked for an early goal.
Ricky Modeste was next to try his luck, forcing Moore to turn away his shot at his near post after the winger had turned Lathaniel Rowe-Turner inside the box.
Torquay’s first clear-cut chance fell to Williams, but his toe-poke threatened the corner flag rather than Mitch Walker’s goal.
Dover responded with Miller turning and shooting just wide following Lafayette’s headed flick-on.
Midfielder James Hurst, playing against one of his former clubs, was next to test Moore with a 25-yarder.
Hurst’s pin-point ball over the top ended with Miller firing high and wide before the striker saw another effort end up safe in the hands of Moore.
It was all one-way traffic at that stage, but Williams was about to change that two minutes from half-time.
The Gulls leading marksman powerfully headed home AFC Bournemouth loanee Jordan Lee’s cross to give his side the lead with their first effort on target to stun the home fans.
Dover needed to react but nothing happened until the 61st minute when Miller fired wide from distance.
Five minutes later, Willams struck again when raced on to Luke Young’s pass to fire past Walker and take his tally to 11 for the season.
Dover were down but not out.
Thomas gave Dover a lifeline after his looping header beat Moore and seconds later, Moore saved from another substitute, Moses Emmanuel, as Dover searched for an equaliser.
Dover had another scare when Young’s free-kick whistled past Walker’s goal as the visitors threatened again.
It was end-to-end now and Moore dropped Sam Magri’s cross before Connor Essam put the rebound over.
Lafayette cleared Gian-Carlo Gallifuoco’s header off the line before Miller scooped over Moore’s bar from close range as Torquay held on to keep their hopes of staying in the league alive.
Earlier, Kinnear made one change to his starting side following the defeat at Aldershot Town with Lafayette replacing Thomas.
Jim Stevenson, recalled from his loan spell at Southport earlier in the week, was named among the substitutes.
Dover: Walker, Orlu (Emmanuel 69mins), Grimes, Essam, Sterling (Thomas 69mins) , Magri, Healy, Hurst, Modeste (Pinnock 74mins), Miller, Lafayette
Subs not used: Kinnear jnr, Stevenson
Torquay United: Moore, Gallifuoco, Anderson, McGinty, Rowe-Turner, Young (Gerring 89mins), Verma, Reid, Williams (Lathrope 82mins), Keating (Harrad 44mins), Lee
Subs not used: Chaney, Sparkes
|22nd April 2017||3:00 pm||National League||2016-2017|
|Crabble Athletic Ground|
|40 Crabble Rd, Dover, Kent CT17 0QJ, UK|