Category: Academy News


Coach Mike Sandmann’s Dover Academy swept all before them as they won the KOMM MIT international football tournament, the Copa Cataluna, on Thursday evening.

Sandmann’s youngsters did it in style too, going through the tournament undefeated after winning four of their five games and drawing the other 0-0.

They also did it without conceding a goal.

The Academy lifted the trophy after beating the Spanish defending champions 3-0 in the final with Jack Smith, Jack Cussen and Joshua Spence scoring the goals.

To cap off a memorable week, Ben Cardwell was named Player of the Tournament.

Cardwell finished Dover’s leading scorer with four goals to his name.

Not surprisingly, Sandmann was thrilled the the performance of his young squad.

He said: “They adapted to the new conditions they were playing in and it was a real credit to them for the way they performed.

“To go through a tournament, let alone a game, without conceding a goal is a fantastic effort.

“This result bodes extremely well for our future too as most of the players are in their first year with us.”

Well done to each and everyone of you!!




Jordan Bartlett and Marshall Wratten scored the goals as Dover Academy came from behind to earn a share of the points with Conference Youth Alliance League leaders Maidstone United Ambers.

Maidstone opened the scoring early in the first half before Bartlett (pictured above) headed home the equaliser following good work by Tom Bond and Wratten.

Mike Sandmann’s Academy took the lead in the second half after Wratten pounced on a back pass from former Dover player Tom Carlton before finishing past the Maidstone goalkeeper.

Maidstone got back on level terms with 15 minutes to go before Bartlett went close to scoring a winner, seeing his lob beat the goalkeeper only to hit the bar.

If you are interested in attending a trial for the Academy, please email or call Mike Sandmann: or call  01795 532633



Matthew Robinson’s goal proved the difference at Mike Sandmann’s Academy beat their Ebbsfleet counterparts 1-0 in the Conference Youth Alliance League.

Sandmann’s young side had not played for three weeks, so it was a great win against their Kent rivals.

The game started slowly and although Ebbsfleet had more of the ball they failed to carve out any real chances to worry captain Stan Waller in the Dover goal.

Dover made the breakthrough in the 29th minute after Chris Barnard was fouled about 30 yards from goal.

Robinson took the kick, it struck the wall and sailed over the Ebbsfleet keeper to give Dover the lead.

Sandmann gave the players a dressing down about the lack of intensity at half-time and Dover looked a completely different side in the second half.

The central defence paring of Joshua Spencer and Kyron Connolly stopped any form of attack from Ebbsfleet.

Although Dover started a lot brighter in the second half, they were rather lack-lustre in front of goal and couldn’t find that final pass.

Sandmann said: “We lacked intensity, but a good result and couldn’t fault the work rate.”

MOM: Kyron Connolly

Report by Lewis Mitchell


MATTHEW Robinson scored a hat-trick as Dover Academy bounced back from their first home defeat of the season with an impressive win at Lewes.

Coach Mike Sandman’s side put the disappointment of the 2-1 loss against Hastings behind them in style in East Sussex.

Dover led 5-0 at one stage thanks to first half doubles from Ben Cardwell and Robinson as well as an own goal.

Robinson (pictured above) completed his treble in the second half before substitute Jack Cussen added the seventh to complete the rout.

Earlier, Dover opened the scoring in the 15th minute after Cardwell slotted home Jordan Bartlett’s corner.

Robinson added a second five minutes later with a clinical finish following Connor Miller’s fine run and cross.

Cardwell turned provider to set up Robinson for the third before Robinson’s corner was deflected into his own net by a home defender.

Dover’s fifth came from Cardwell, who picked the ball up on the halfway line and completed a magnificent run with a clinical finish.

Lewes pulled one back just before half-time and another from the penalty sport after the restart, but there was to be no more joy for the hosts.

Robinson completed his hat-trick with a stunning half-volley before Cussen scored the seventh.


CONNOR Miller’s goal was not enough to prevent Dover Academy from suffering their first home defeat of the season after losing 2-1 against Hastings on Wednesday.

Dover made a promising start to the game with Kyran Connolly having his diving header ruled offside.

But coach Mike Sandmann’s young side did finally break the deadlock through Miller in the 25th minute.

A great run into the box and cross from Ben Cardwell ended with Miller (pictured above) firing home.

Dover were in control now and were creating plenty of chances but couldn’t make them count, so they had to settle for a slender lead at half-time.

It was Hastings who started the stronger side after the break and they equalised from close range 10 minutes into the half.

Once again Dover created plenty of chances and again failed to put them away.

The best chance of the second half saw Cardwell fail to put away a cross from man-of-the match Matty Robinson.

Dover continued to pile on the pressure and Connolly had another goal disallowed in the 65th minute after Josh Spencer was ruled to have fouled the goalkeeper.

The young Whites kept working hard and tried to counter through Jordan Bartlett, which was cut out by the Hastings defence.

But those missed chances came back to hurt Dover when Hastings netted the winner after a ball across the Academy’s box was slotted home.

Match report by James Belcher and Rohullah Habibi.

DAFA 4 – 2 Eastbourne

Dover Academy enjoyed yet another comfortable win over the same opponents as last week, Eastbourne Borough. Dover ran out 4-2 winners on what was a bitter cold day.

Dover started on the front foot, scoring after just 2 minutes, when Matthew Robinson delivered a sublime cross which found the head of Chris Barnard. 3 minutes later and Barnard had double the score line for Dover and his own personal tally for the game when he nodded in his second from a delightful cross assisted by Connor miller.

Domination continued throughout the first half from Dover, however on the 35th minute of the game against the run of play Eastbourne pulled a goal back following a long ball to the corner of the box which was bought down well by the Eastbourne player who beat Stan Waller at his near post from the edge of the box.

Moments before the whistle was blown for half time, Connor Miller restored Dover’s two goal lead with an elegant volley which found the bottom corner, after Robinson deliver a pin point free kick. Dover ended the half leading 3-1 after a sumptuous first half performance.

The second half began and yet more pressure was piled onto the Eastbourne defence which was struggling to cope with the Dover attacks. Finally on the hour mark Ben Cardwell put the game to bed when he grabbed his first of the game following a corner whipped in by Robinson, flicked on at the near post by Marshall Wratten and fell kindly for Cardwell who never looked like missing from 3 yards out.

Again Dover’s defence was breached in the 62nd minute after a long range shot flew into the top corner, Waller was nowhere to be seen.

Following the slight scare of Eastbourne potentially getting themselves back into the game, Dover saw off the last 15 minutes comfortably creating more chances to extend there lead. The game finished 4-2 in what was a great afternoon for Dover Academy who jump up to second place in the league.

Man of the match: Christopher Barnard
Goal scorers: Christopher Barnard x2
Connor Miller
Ben Cardwell
Match report by: Tom Bond

DAFA 6-2 Eastbourne

Dover Academy enjoyed a comfortable 6-2 win over 2nd place Eastbourne at the Crabble. Dover started the half brightly by dominating possession and in the 10th minute Matty Robinson split the Eastbourne defence and Jordan Bartlett scored his first of the day by calmly slotting the ball underneath the keeper and into the net.

Not long after this Dover added more pressure in the Eastbourne final third and that resulted in Kieran Smith putting in an inch perfect cross for Bartlett to get his second 5 minutes later.

For the next 10 minutes Dover again was dominant but unable to make the score 3-0 and were punished as Eastbourne won the ball on the left flank and were able to put a cross in and it resulted in the Eastbourne centre forward just getting in front of Dover goalkeeper Stan Waller and he directed the ball into the goal to make it 2-1 half an hour into the first half.

Dover quickly responded with Marshall Wratten playing in Ben Cardwell down the left who puts a ball in back post which allowed Bartlett to complete his first half hatrick as he volleys into the back of the net. Dover had opportunity’s to make it 4-1 but were unable to convert and this allowed Eastbourne to nearly come back into the game when they have a free kick that gets crossed in and an Eastbourne player gets a free header that goes just wide, Dover go into the break up 3-1.

The second half started much like the first with Dover being the better team and controlling the ball with quick passing, and eventually Dover managed to break down the wing with Jack Smith and Chris Barnard linking up to set Bartlett free who cuts it back for Cardwell to finish and make it 4-1 on the hour mark.

The Dover centre backs Ollie Roberts and Kyron Connelly came under pressure for 10 minutes after the Dover 4th goal in which they defended well with a lot of clearance’s from the Eastbourne crosses, Waller also helped by pulling off two fine saves from a cross and free kick.

The Dover midfield consisting of Connor Miller and Chris Barnard battled well throughout the whole game winning every one of their duals as Miller got his reward from working hard as he wins back the ball just inside his own half and realises Cardwell who calmly chips the on rushing Eastbourne Goalkeeper on the 75th minute mark. Eastbourne battled on and soon after the goal won themselves a corner which Dover managed to clear, but not far enough as they get another chance to deliver which they took and found an unmarked Eastbourne head who nods into the bottom corner.

Dover were the team who finished on the high as they managed to make it 6-2 when Cardwell plays through the substitute Shusanta Rai who places the ball into the bottom corner and raps off a fine day for the Dover Academy.

Goals from Jordan Bartlett x3 and Ben Cardwell x 2
MOM Jordan Bartlett

Match report by Ben Cardwell




The Dover Athletic Academy side progressed to the semi-final stage of the National Cup on Wednesday, beating Kent rivals Maidstone United 2-1. Academy player Tom Roberts gives his match report here..

Dover Athletic Academy 2-1 Maidstone United

DAFC scorers: Alfie Paxman x 2

After a few inconsistent performances, Dover faced a very strong Maidstone side that hadn’t conceded in 12 games until now. It started at a very quick pace with both sides trying to create opportunity’s to get in behind. In the first half of the game, Ben Cardwell was Dover’s main outlet.

In the 10th minute Maidstone got the first break through. After a sharp save, high to his right from James Tonkin who pushed it past the post out for corner. From the following corner, Will Thomas, the Maidstone skipper rose above everyone else to head the ball into the top corner.

A reaction was needed from Dover. From this Dover grew in momentum and started to get to grips with the sort of football they needed to be playing. Maidstone, however continued to be persistent down both wings with Connor hood creating chances from right back.

The second half started as the first ended with Maidstone adding pressure. Dover became more and more into the game and in the 60th minute Connor Wilkins won Dover a corner with some fine skill in the corner, which led to a feud between the two sides. During this it led to Will Thomas getting sent off. Will was solid throughout and with him sent off it gave Dover a great chance to go on and win the game.

In the 80th minute a shot from Connor Miller with the outside of the foot, rattled the post and Alfie Paxman was there to tap the ball past the keeper from 5 yards. With the score now 1-1 and Dover piling on the pressure Maidstone had no choice but to try and play into extra time.

Dover’s last attack came in the 89th minute where Ira Jackson took the ball around 3 Maidstone players to cut the ball back to Alfie Paxman who blasted the ball in the top corner from twelve yards out. The final whistle blew and the sigh of relief and excitement from all Dover players was ecstatic. What a way for the Dover boys to get back to there winning ways and to get into the semi-final of the National Cup.*IF*



The Dover Athletic Academy will be holding trials at 10.30am on Tuesday 16th February, at The Abbey School in Faversham. Current Year 11 students are invited to come along.

Our Academy gives students the opportunity to represent Dover Athletic FC in the Conference Youth League, the highest level outside of professional status.

The Academy players train everyday like professionals, improving their knowledge of the game and allowing a seamless progression into senior football. The players also study a wide range of courses in our Sixth Form tailored to suit their academic needs and career aspirations.

The Academy has been very successful over the past couple of years resulting in two players making the England Schoolboys squad, reaching the first round of the FA Youth Cup, playing against Professional Clubs, one of our players receiving a full American Scholarship at The University of Florida and a number of others earning first team contracts with established senior clubs, including DAFC.

*BS*What do you need to know?*BF*
– Trials take place on Tuesday 16th February, during half-term, with registration at 10.30am for an 11.00am start. They will finish approximately 2.00pm.
-Bring full training kit including shin pads.
– It will be outside on the 3G pitch at The Abbey School (suitable for football boots).
– Trials will consist of a variety of matches.
– There will be shower and changing room facilities available for you to use.
– Parents are welcome to stay and watch.

Following the trial, you will receive a letter in the post informing you of the outcome. If you are successful but cannot make the first alternative trial date then alternative arrangements can be made to accommodate this situation.

As this opportunity is in partnership with The Abbey School, if successful you would be expected to take up your Sixth Form studies at the school.

For more information, or to register a place for the trial day, please e-mail