Category: Academy News


The Dover Athletic Academy are through to the First Round of the FA Youth Cup after a 1-0 win against Lewes at Crabble.

Noah Carney’s first half goal was the only moment that separated the two sides in a closely contested match.

Academy Manager Mike Sandmann’s youngsters almost made the perfect start, with George Nikaj seeing his early effort saved.

The hosts didn’t have to wait long to get the opener as Carney, scorer against Hanworth Villa in the previous round, opened went through on goal on 15 minutes before coolly slotting past Lewes’ goalkeeper.

Dover created further chances, but were unable to make the game safe and despite the victory, Sandmann was unhappy with the way his team kept the ball.

Sandmann’ said: “Obviously it’s a good result for the boys and I can’t fault their effort, but I felt we made the game hard work for ourselves and needed better quality in possession to cause Lewes more problems.

“It’s pleasing to keep another clean sheet in this competition, but we need to make sure we continue to work hard to improve every game.”

The Academy will travel to Dorking in the first round.

About the first round tie, Sandmann said: “I am pleased for the boys.  To get to the first round is an achievement and we will be hoping to continue in the competition as far as we can.

“Dorking will be a very tough game again and we will need to perform to our full potential if we want to progress.”


The Dover Academy conceded a 96th minute penalty to deny them of all three points at Eastleigh.

Noah Carney added to his goal last week in the FA Youth Cup by scoring twice as the young Whites looked set to take victory.

However, Eastleigh were gifted an equaliser deep into added time, when a lapse in concentration allowed the hosts to score late on.

Dover started strongly and took the lead midway through the first half through some excellent play from Rolando Onu, who in turn set up Carney to finish.

The young whites almost doubled their lead towards the break, however George Lamb’s effort struck the post.

Carney doubled his and Whites’ tally in the second half after some good play allowed the youngster to coolly stroke home.

Eastleigh were then awarded a spot kick, however Athletic goalkeeper Magnus Lewis guessed correctly and saved the penalty.

However, the Spitfires pulled level late on, halving the deficit with 10 minutes remaining before being awarded a second spot-kick, this time after 90 minutes had been played, which was duly converted to level the scores.

About the game, Academy manager Mike Sandmann said: “I can’t fault the lads for their hard work but we need to be better in difficult moments in games and learn how to manage games better.

“It’s a learning curve for the lads with many still only in their first year, so it’s something we will be looking to improve on as we continue through the season.”


The Dover Athletic academy are through to the Third Qualifying Round of the FA Youth Cup following a 2-0 victory at Hanworth Villa.

Mike Sandmann’s youngsters made up for last year’s 5-0 cup defeat to the same team by putting in a dominant performance in Monday’s Second Qualifying Round.

The academy showed their intent from the off and took the lead in the 16th minute through Noah Carney after some really good play from George Nikaj.

Young whites’ second arrived just before the hour mark thanks to Nikaj’s free kick.

Academy manager Sandmann said after the game: “It was a really pleasing, solid performance from the academy and the boys did well to limit our opponents to a few chances.

“I thought we started strongly and could have been ahead even earlier, so I was really happy with how we played; it was a good performance.”

Dover’s academy will host Lewes in the next round.



The two Dover Athletic Academy teams started their seasons with impressive wins.

The number 1 squad, who play in the National Youth League South, beat visiting Boreham Wood 4-0 thanks to a double from Onu and further goals from Baptiste and Igbedion.

Dover opened the scoring through Onu’s penalty in the 25th minute before midfielder Baptiste fired home the second from outside the box after some good work from Rossi just before half-time.

Onu made it 3-0 after an assist by Wilkinson before substitute Igbedion completed the scoring after some good link up play with Sosan.

The number 2 squad completed a great day for the Academy with a 4-1 win at Sutton United.

Nelson (2), Sikirwayi and Way got the goals.

Nelson opened the scoring from a Halls corner before Sikirwayi ‘s long-range effort made it 2-0 at the break.

Sutton reduced the deficit just after half-time making it 2-1 before O’Donnell provided Nelson with his second goal of the game.

Way made it 4-1 following some good link up play with Dallas.

Academy Manager, Mike Sandmann, said:” I am pleased to get the season off and running it’s been extremely strange times and I have to give credit to the group for their hard work throughout the summer.

“It’s been a very different pre-season to what we are used to, but the group have now set a bench mark on what we keep trying to improve on.”


Following communication from the National League U19 Alliance, all of Dover Athletic Under-19 fixtures have been suspended until further notice due to COVID-19.

The situation will be monitored closely and clubs will be kept up to date with any decisions that are made.


Dover Athletic Academy starlet Rolando Onu has been named the National League Young Player of the Month for February.

The striker has scored six goals in his past five matches, including braces against Weston-Super-Mare and Maidenhead United.

With a total of 16 goals for the campaign, Onu is very much in contention to be the division’s top goalscorer at the end of the season.

Dover Athletic are fifth in National League Football Academy South, just three points behind the league leaders with nine games to go.

Academy Manager, Mike Sandmann, said: “I speak to the forward players a lot about end product and he has really improved on this. His stats are backing this up.

“Rolando’s pace and power causes problems and he is now gaining a better understanding of movement as well as working on his compusure in front of goal.

“At the end of the month Rolando will also be travelling to California to showcase himself in order to gain and full scholarship in America.

“We are really pleased he has been given this award and believe he will only continue to improve”.


Rolando Onu’s goal was not enough as Squad One had to settle for a point against an Aldershot Town unbeaten since the beginning of December in the National League South Division.

After being forced into two early changes through injury, the young Whites responded well and took the lead after a good bit of play left Onu with the simple task of tapping home a cross into the box.

However, the lead didn’t last too long, with The Shots equalising from a set piece on the stroke of half time.

The second half continued to be a very even affair, with both teams having chances. The best chance fell for Aaron Walker in the dying moments of the game, only for his late effort to strike the post

Academy manager Mike Sandmann said: “It was disappointing to concede from a set piece just before half-time, but in the end a draw was probably fair.

“I have to give credit to our lads today, they showed great character against a side who are on an unbeaten run.  For me Aldershot are the best team we have come up against this season.”

Meanwhile, Squad Two were overpowered by a strong Whyteleafe side in a 9-2 defeat.  At 3-2, White’s youngsters had chances to level, however those missed opportunities were punished with their opponents scoring six without reply.

Sandmann said: “Despite the scoreline, it could have been different game completely if we had equalised with the score at 3-2.

“It’s a tough afternoon for everyone but we can learn plenty from playing against a very good side.

Elsewhere, the Development Squad will be happy with a point after a 3-3 draw away to King Henry School.

Two goals from George Nikaj and a third by Reece Jobe secured a well-deserved point against the league leaders.


It was a successful round of results for all three squads recently.

Squad One reacted well to last week’s disappointing cup defeat against Eastleigh, coming from a goal down to beat Dartford 3-1 away from home.

Strikes from Harrison Kempston, Rolando Onu and an own goal sealed victory for the young Whites.

Academy manager Sandmann said on the win: “I thought we played ok in the first half, but we lacked that quality needed in the final third.  In the second half I feel we showed real intent in our play and caused Dartford a lot of problems.

“We limited them to very few chances and outworked them which was really pleasing to see. Dartford are a good team and you can see why they are up at the top, but all credit to our players today.”

Elsewhere, Squad Two made it three unbeaten as they beat Burgess Hill 4-1 at home.

Sandmann said: “It was another impressive display from the boys and I’m pleased that their hard work is now finally paying off.”

Meanwhile, the Development Squad also impressed as they continued on from last week’s 6-5 win against Halley to reach the final of the Kent Schools Academy League Cup, by beating Harris Academy 3-0.

A special mention also to Charlie Meade who scored on his debut for Ramsgate on Tuesday night in their 4-0 Kent Senior Cup win against Ebbsfleet United.

About the academy player, Sandmann added: “Charlie is gaining some valuable experience at senior football and we look forward to seeing more goals from him in the future.”



It was a happy New Year for the academy as Tuesday night’s Kent Senior Cup game against Faversham Town saw five of Mike Sandmann’s youngsters make their first team debuts.

Harrison Pont and Will Moses played the full 90 minutes of Athletic’s 4-2 Kent Senior Cup second round win at Salters Lane, with Harrison Kempston, Zack Jobe and Bepe Paldon also making their bow for Dover as substitutes.

About the first-team debutants, academy manager Sandmann said: “It was fantastic experience for them.  We want to get as many of our lads experience playing men’s football and learning off other experienced players will only continue to aid their development.”

Elsewhere, Squad One lost their first game of the season as they succumbed to a tight 2-1 defeat against Bromley.  With the scores level at one apiece, young Whites missed a spot-kick with the Ravens going on to win the match.

Sandmann said:  “We had our chances and missed a penalty when it was still 1-1.  It just wasn’t our day and all credit to Bromley who deserved the win.

“It’s the first time we have lost a league game in over a year and a half.  I believe this defeat is something the players need as a group and I am looking forward to seeing how they respond against Eastleigh next week in the cup.

“We know Eastleigh well as we played them in the Champions of Champions final in May and they are still unbeaten this season, so we know it’s going to be a tough game.”

Meanwhile, it was a happier start to 2020 for Squad Two as they picked up their first back-to-back victories of the season with a 2-0 win against Crystal Palace.

A goal each from George Young and David Igbedion secured the result for the youngsters.

Sandmann said: “The players are working really hard and after a tough start, their resilience is paying off and we are really pleased about that.”

If anyone is interested in joining the Academy please get in contact with for details of our upcoming trials.



Squad One bid farewell to 2019 with a 3-0 victory against Hampton & Richmond to remain unbeaten in the National League South Division

Kumiranshe Bepe’s spot-kick was followed by goals from Rolando Onu and George Nikaj to hand White’s youngsters yet another victory.

Academy manager Mike Sandmann said: “It’s been a good start to the season.  Being unbeaten is great for the boys, but I have been more impressed with our tough to beat mentality which comes from how hard the players are prepared to work off the ball.

“We have conceded just three goals in six games, which shows our desire to defend as well as score goals.

“The division is so much more competitive this season, which will only help the players develop.”

Meanwhile, Squad Two picked up their first win of the campaign, beating Ebbsfleet United 3-2 despite trailing twice.

Two goals from Charlie Meade and Franky Nwaokolo secured a much-deserved victory.

Sandmann said: “That sort of result has been coming for weeks and I’m so pleased for the boys.  We always knew this season would be tough for them, but their work ethic and determination has been excellent and we are hoping they will continue to improve.”

Overall it has been a fantastic 2019 for the Academy.  Squad One have gone the whole year, unbeaten in the National Youth League and were also crowned ‘Champions of Champions’ in May, plus PGMOL VAR Champions at St George’s Park in June.

Some players made their debut for the first team in the Kent Senior Cup, with Marshall Wratten rewarded for his academy performances with a full-time contract.  Ryan Kingsford was the pick of the players who gained full scholarships to America and was voted player of the season in the US.

Some of our youngsters have also gone out on loan to help them gain valuable experience and each year the Academy continues to go from strength to strength.

We all look forward to 2020 and from everyone at the academy, we wish you all a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.