Goalkeeper Lee Worgan starred on his National League debut for Dover to help his side win a crucial three points against 10-man Braintree.
Worgan produced a string of fine saves, including a stunning fingertip save to push Cameron James’ goalbound free-kick onto the crossbar and a penalty save from Korrey Henry.
The visitors started strongly and Worgan was soon in action, blocking Callum Morton’s angled drive after the West Brom loanee had been sent clear by Ifeani Allen a couple of minutes into the game.
Things took a turn for the worse for basement side Town when Ricky Gabriel was given his marching orders after four minutes after an off the ball incident with Alfie Pavey as Dover prepared to take a free-kick.
Dover made the man advantage count 15 minutes later as Pavey scored his first league goal for Whites.
The striker saw his intial header from a Bobby-Joe Taylor corner blocked, but slammed home the rebound after visiting stopper Ben Killip pushed Mitch Brundle’s follow-up shot into Pavey’s path.
Worgan dived onto Allen’s low drive and at the other end Kevin Lokko had a headed goal ruled out for a foul during a corner.
The chances kept coming for Dover as Pavey headed Taylor’s cross straight at Killip and Bedsente Gomis blasted well over from outside the box.
Worgan then produced an exceptional save just after the restart – James’ set piece seemed destined for the top corner, but the former Wales under-21 international somehow tipped the ball onto the crossbar before clutching onto Morton’s follow-up shot.
Lokko then headed another chance wide and Worgan continued to impress when referee Josh Smith pointed to the spot after Henry’s shot cannoned off Scott Doe’s arm in the area.
Henry ignored his teammate Allen’s pleas to hand the spot-kick duties over to designated taker Morton and Worgan left the striker red faced, diving low to his left and then grabbing the ball at the second attempt.
Andy Hessenthaler’s men duly punished their opponents as Jai Reason marked his return to the side with a goal on 57 minutes, cheekily nodding Brundle’s cross over the onrushing Killip.
Taylor almost grabbed his first goal for Dover, but chipped wide of the mark after being put through by Gomis.
Instead it was Brundle who sealed the win in the 74th minute, heading home Ricky Modeste’s inch-perfect cross after the winger had beaten two Town players out wide after collecting Jamie Allen’s pass from inside in own half.
Killip redeemed himself as full-time drew to a close, diving full-length to turn away Stuart Lewis’ half-volley from Tayor’s cross.
The final whistle confirmed Dover’s first home win of 2019.
Earlier, boss Hessenthaler made four changes to the side that started at Maidenhead last week with Reason, Pavey and Worgan replacing Danny McNamara, Inih Effiong and Mitch Walker.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
|Date||Time||League||Season||Full Time||Attendance||Man of the Match|
|2nd March 2019||3:00 pm||National League||2018-2019||90'||1,503||Lee Worgan|
|Crabble Athletic Ground|
|40 Crabble Rd, Dover, Kent CT17 0QJ, UK|
|Referee||Referee's Assistants||Fourth Official|
|Josh Smith||James Vallance|