Category: Academy News


Squad One remain unbeaten in the National League South Division follwing a 3-0 home victory against Boreham Wood.

Goals from Rolando Onu, Alex Green and Bepe Paldon handed Whites’ youngsters an emphatic victory against a side also unbeaten prior to the match.

Both teams struggled to create any real chances early on, however Dover opened the scoring when Harrison Pont’s quick throw-in caught the Boreham Wood defence off guard, allowing Onu to fire home.

Athletic’s defence continued to limit Boreham Wood to few chances and doubled their lead with 15 minutes remaining when Green connected with Paldon’s cross.

Paldon was in the action again, making it three following some fantastic individual skill inside the penalty area.

After watching his side’s victory, academy manager Mike Sandmann said: “ I was really pleased with the performance today and the shape and structure of the team made it very difficult for them to create any chances or get a foothold in the game.

“We played some good football going forward and more than deserved the victory.  It’s good to see the group keep a clean sheet against a decent side.

“I believe we outworked them from minute one until the end which is pleasing. The team’s work ethic is fantastic and I’m glad they are getting their rewards.

“It’s great to remain unbeaten in the league and to only concede three goals in the five games.”

Meanwhile, the Development squad progressed to the semi-final of the Kent Schools Academies Cup thanks to a 3-1 away win against Hugh Christie (Tonbridge Angels).

Two strikes from George Nikaj, as well as a goal from George Young, sealed Whites’ spot in the final four.


Squad One continued their unbeaten start to the National Youth League South Division with a 3-1 victory away from home against Oxford City.

Two goals from Zack Jobe and another from Harrison Kempston inside the first 25 minutes was enough to seal the three points, however Mike Sandmann wasn’t completely satisfied with his side’s performance against the Hoops.

The academy boss said: “We made a good start to the game but became sloppy in the final third and didn’t show the same quality as in recent weeks.

“It’s difficult when you start so well and get yourself in front comfortably as you want to maintain a tempo, but unfortunately we dropped off and it became quite a non-event for the rest of the game.

“It’s pleasing to still be unbeaten, but we need to keep improving performances week to week.”

Meanwhile, Squad Two are still searching for their first win of the season after a 5-3 defeat against Phoenix.

The young side, who came into the game off the back of a 2-0 defeat against Tonbridge Academy last week, were ahead at the break, only to fall behind in the second half.

Sandmann said of Squad Two’s result:  “We always knew it was going to be a big ask this season but I have been pleased with some of their performances, especially away to unbeaten Tonbridge last week, a game we deserved more from.”

“The lads will keep working hard and will keep learning from mistakes in a campaign that is going to be challenging for them.”

The Development team won 4-0 away to Ravenswood School, rounding off a good week after their 7-0 win against Northfleet School in the cup last week.

Two goals from Frankie Nwaokolo, as well as a goal each for Samuel Itauma and Jack Rossi saw the youngsters romp to victory.

Sandmann said of the development squad: “It was a pleasing afternoon for them.  The lads played some really good football and are showing real positive signs of improvement.”



Dover Athletic’s academy were beaten 5-0 in the FA Youth Cup by Hanworth Villa at Crabble on Wednesday night, but the scoreline doesn’t tell the whole story.

With the visitors one goal ahead early in the second half, Young Whites’ skipper Hayden Wood was sent off for a foul on the edge of the area after being deemed to be the last man by the referee.

Villa scored the resultant free-kick to double their lead, before going on to score three more times.

Academy boss Mike Sandmann said after the tie: “I’m really disappointed with the scoreline,  but a massive decision has really changed the outcome of the game.  It is easy to stand here and criticise, but it is a massive turning point as they scored from the set-piece.

“The officials said it was an obvious goalscoring opportunity, however their player took his touch away from goal, is outside the box and there is a covering defender, so how he can give a straight red card I’ll never know.  It’s a big moment which I think ruined what was a very good game up until that point.”

Harrison Kempston twice nearly put Athletic in front, early on, volleying wide from outside the area and then seeing a shot well saved.

The away side then took control and despite the heavy scoreline, Sandmann took plenty of positives from the cup loss.

“Gaps will open up when it is 10 v 11, but I thought the boys still tried to play and move the ball.

“Before the break, I thought we were on the front foot and played most of the football in their half.  We started well following the restart and thought we would find a way back into the game if we keep putting pressure on their backline.  It all goes back to the red card which changed the momentum of the match.”

Whites also lost goalkeeper Magnus Lewis to injury moments before Hanworth Villa’s second goal.  “It looks like a groin strain”, said Sandmann.  “Magnus felt it in the first half and though it is never good to lose your keeper, it is just one of many things that did not go our way tonight.”


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!