Category: Academy News


Due to recent poor weather conditions, Monday evening’s FA Youth Cup match against Hanworth Villa has been postponed.

A new date for the tie will be announced in due course.


Dover Athletic’s academy moved into the FA Youth Cup Third Qualifying round on Wednesday evening, beating Tonbridge Angels 4-2 on penalties at Crabble.

Harrison Pont (Pictured) netted deep into injury-time to make it 2-2 and take the tie into extra time after Athletic’s youngsters had twice fallen behind in the game through strikes from Tonbridge’s Harry Hudson and Ned Lewis.

However, Mike Sandmann took few positives from the shootout victory.

The academy boss said after the game, “I thought that we were really poor last night and I was really disappointed with the performance.  I think the occasion got the better of too many of my players.

“It was hard for me to be positive after that, even though the lads got themselves back into the game, because I was so disappointed.”

However, despite his displeasure at what he witnessed from his side, Sandmann believes his young charges will be better in the next round.

“It’s certainly a learning curve for the next round.  Sometimes the first game is always the toughest and I want us to bounce back with a positive performance.”

Sandmann knew his team were moving into the next round when Pont levelled in injury-time.

“Football has a strange way of coming around and giving teams luck.  We literally equalised with the last kick of the game and at that point I knew we would go on and win the game.” he said.

“We didn’t look like scoring and were not causing them many problems, but when we scored a goal like that in the last minute I could not help but feel that tonight was going to be our night.”

Sandmann also praised 16-year-old Will Moses for setting up the second goal before he came off injured. “Moses was excellent all night for someone so young.  He put in a fantastic performance and it is a shame he had to come off towards the end with a head injury”.

The draw for the FA Youth Cup Third Qualifying Round takes place on Monday 7th October.

Story by Ryan Clark


It’s been another busy week in the academy with a mixed set of results for our boys.
Squad One registered their first away win of the campaign, winning 3-1 away to Chippenham to maintain their unbeaten run in the National League South Division.
After taking an early lead via Feliz Mesquita’s header, the lads were pegged back to 1-1, only to go ahead once minute later with Kumiranshe Bepe scoring from Zack Jobe’s cross.  The third came through nice link-up play between Bepe and Rolando Onu, resulting in a good finish from Onu.  That was it for the scoring and the adademy remained solid, limiting Chippenham to a few chances after the break.
Squad One will now prepare for the FA Youth Cup on Monday night having been drawn to face Tonbridge Angels.
Despite competing for long spells in the game, Squad Two were beaten 3-0 at home to Maidstone United and there were some valuable lessons learnt from the boys.
Our development squad remain unbeaten after beating Harris Academy 4-0, with Sobechi Nwaokolo, Alfie Gramson, Zak Benfield and Ben Malone all on the scoresheet.
The lads are in FA Cup Youth action on Wednesday 2nd October, so please come along to Crabble and support the boys.  The match kicks off at 7 pm.


It has been a busy pre-season as we welcomed a new group of really exciting young of players into the Academy and I can’t wait to work with them over the next two years.
Our Squad One entered the new National Youth League South Division after gaining Academy status, something we are proud to receive as part of the new developments of the National League.
The boys will have some longer journeys this season, however, the improvement of opposition will only be good for the players as we continue to raise standards and focus on player development.
Squad Two will play in the National Youth Alliance Division B this season, of which our Squad One were crowned Champions in May.  It’s going to be challenging, however competing against older players week in, week out will only aid their development.
We also have a Development Squad and they will compete in the Kent Schools Academies League, an excellent games programme.
Squad One made a brilliant start to the season, beating Weston-Super-Mare Academy 5-1 Crabble thanks to goals from Zack Jobe, Rolando Onu, Kumiranshe Bepe, George Nikaj and an own goal. It was a good performance to start the season and I was pleased to see we are already showing signgs of progression.
Some good attacking play caused Weston plenty of problems and I was pleased to see the lads are learning very quickly.
Squad Two lost 5-3 away to Worthing Academy and despite leading 3-2, the lads conceded three goals in the final 10 minutes. Congratulations to Charlie Meade on his hattrick in what was real spirited display overall and there are lots of positives to take into our next fixture.
Our Development squad started the season with a 3-0 victory away to Brompton School with  Jackapo Pauli, Rabin Limbu and Reece Jobe with the goals.  A fantastic start for the boys and hopefully they will continue to go from strength to strength.
The Dover Athletic Academy boys will also be present at first-team home matches, supporting the players, management and staff in a variety of roles.
Our Squad One will be next in action at Crabble 16th October against Aldershot Town Academy, with kick off currently scheduled for 1 pm, so please come along and lend your support.


The National League have granted 22 clubs an Academy Licence for the inaugural National League Football Academy season.

Starting on September 11th, the 2019/20 campaign will be formed of two regional divisions – 12 Clubs in the South and 10 in the North- and clubs will participate in an additional cup competition later in the season.

Head of Player Development, Gary Owers, said: “The National League and National League Youth Alliance is committed to Youth Development.

“As part of our ongoing strategic approach we have implemented a scheme for clubs to demonstrate their own commitment to raising and maintaining standards in this area.

“The licencing process involved clubs meeting required criteria set by The National League.

“The aim of a National League Football Academy is to provide an environment and player pathway which allows Clubs to develop and produce more and better home grown players”.


Hartlepool United
York City
FC Halifax Town
Alfreton Town
AFC Fylde
Solihull Moors
Boston United


Chippenham Town
Hampton and Richmond Borough
Maidenhead United
Weston Super Mare
Boreham Wood
Dover Athletic
Sutton United
Oxford City
Aldershot Town


Dover Athletic are delighted to announce youngster Marshall Wratten has signed professional terms with the club.

Pictured alongside boss Andy Hessenthaler in Athletic’s new JAKO training kit, the 18-year-old has put pen to paper on an initial one-year deal following a string of fine performances for Dover’s academy side.

The left winger has already had a taste of first-team football, featuring as a substitute in our Emirates FA Cup first round tie at Bury in November, plus took in loan spells with Bostik Premier side Margate and Southern Counties East Football League club Hollands & Blair last season.

As well as winning five trophies in his time with Whites’ academy, Wratten was also second top scorer and contributed the most assists in Mike Sandmann’s team during their last campaign.

His former boss was delighted to see the youngster progress into the first-team squad.  “Marshall’s development has been fantastic,” said Sandmann.  “He has played a huge part in our success and we are delighted to see him sign for the first-team.

“The academy is all about progressing players and supporters will see a young hungry player that is determined to be successful”

Congratulations Marshall!



Dover Athletic’s Academy were celebrating winning another trophy on Wednesday.

Braces from Ryan Kingsford and Marshall Wratten saw off Sutton United Academy 4-0 in the PGMOL St George’s Park VAR final after the young Whites’ were crowned National Youth Alliance Champion of Champions last month.

And Mike Sandmann felt mixed emotions afterwards.

“It’s the end of an era for some of these boys”, said Dover’s Academy boss, “but what a way to finish with us.  I’ve already said it a million times but I couldn’t be prouder of the lads and it has been a pleasure to witness their footballing journey so far.

“It’s been a tough and physically demanding three days, but you would have thought it was the first match with how they performed in the final!”

Whites started the tournament with a 1-1 draw against Sutton and then defeated Pro Direct Nottingham 4-0.

Qualification from the group stage was at risk following losses to Pro Direct Birmingham (2-0) and Carlisle United Academy (3-0), however a 1-0 victory over Darlington Academy saw the youngsters advance to the knock-out stages, where they defeated Guiseley Academy, who had topped their own group with maximum points, on penalties.

A goal down in the last-four tie, Sandmann’s men came back to beat Pro Future Academy 3-1 before their resounding victory in the final.

Well done to the Academy!


Dover Athletic’s Academy were crowned National Youth Alliance Champion of Champions after beating Eastleigh Academy 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon.

Joshua Spencer’s header 10 minutes from time saw the young Whites’ triumph in the final, held at Oxford City’s ground, as Mike Sandmann’s side completed a league and cup double and remain unbeaten during the season.

Academy boss Sandmann said: “I’m really proud of the boys and they have been rewarded for all the hard work they have put in.

“We did some set piece drills in training and spoke about them again at half-time as it was such a tight game, so it was nice to see us score the winner from a free-kick.

“The lads have come far in their time with us and to be crowned the best academy team in the country, plus go the whole campaign without defeat is something quite special and proof of what a great set-up we have between Dover Athletic and the Abbey School.”

“We have two more tournaments with this group in June and before we welcome a new group from July – and the new lads already have a lot to live up to!

“Most of the existing squad are certainly ready for first-team football and I hope to see a couple involved during pre-season.”

After lifting the trophy, winning captain Jack Smith said: It was such a close game.  At half-time we all felt we could do better and picked up the tempo in the second half.

“To be the Champion of Champions is such a great feeling and it was a real honour to lead out this team.

“The coaching here is excellent and being part of the Dover academy has helped improve me and prepare me for men’s football.”

You can watch Joshua Spencer’s winner below


Dover Athletic’s academy will play in the National Youth Alliance Champion of Champions final after defeating AFC Stamford academy 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Ryan Kingsford’s 25th minute goal set up a final against Eastleigh academy, to be played on Wednesday 22nd May at Oxford City, kick off 2 pm.

Academy boss Mike Sandmann said of the victory afterwards.  “It’s a fantastic achievement to be in the final out of all the academies in the country and shows where our group of players are and how hard they are willing to work to develop.

“The group have been excellent throughout and I couldn’t be more proud them.  We will be hoping to be crowned the best academy in the country next week and I know the lads will do everything possible to make that happen.

“The final will be the last game for some of our players and it’s been an absolute pleasure to enjoy their progress and development.”


Whites’ youngsters moved in the final four of the National Youth Alliance Champions of Champions after defeating Chester FC Academy 5-4 on penalties on Wednesday evening.

Trailing by two goals at the break, a Marshall Wratten goal in the 67th minute and a Ryan Kingsford penalty 12 minutes from time saw the quarter-final tie, played at the Abbey School in Faversham, decided by spot-kicks.

Academy boss Mike Sandmann said of his team afterwards,  “I couldn’t be more proud of the players last night.  To come back like they did against a side undefeated in their own league this season shows true character and desire.

“I don’t think we played particularly well, but the result is the most important thing and it is fantastic for our academy – in partnership with the Abbey School – to be recognised as one of the top academy sides in the country.

“The players deserve all the credit for getting this far and hopefully we can reach the final.”

Dover’s academy have been drawn away to FCV Stamford in the semi-final, scheduled for Wednesday 15th May.

Watch Harisson Pont’s winning penalty below.