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.