CLINICAL finishing saw Dover climb two places into fourth in the National League after a 4-1 win against Maidstone United at a cold and wet Gallagher Stadium on New Year’s Day.
Moses Emmanuel’s double set Whites on their way and though Vas Karagiannis pulled one back for the hosts, Ross Lafayette and Ricky Miller ensured boss Chris Kinnear’s side came away with the three points.
Maidstone made the stronger start to the game, Alex Flisher pulled the ball back for Jamar Loza to slot home, but skipper Jamie Grimes blocked bravely with a last ditch tackle.
Yemi Odubade then stole a march on Aswad Thomas out wide and passed in field to Karagiannis, but goalkeeper Steve Arnold parried the fierce drive.
Stones had a glorious chance through Odubade as he only had Arnold to beat following neat interplay with Jack Paxman, but Dover’s stopper proved a formidable barrier for the former Eastleigh man.
Dover’s first chance saw Sam Magri race onto Miller’s pass and fire just wide of the far post.
Emmanuel broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion with his 10th league goal of the season in the 28th minute.
Maidstone keeper Lee Worgan brilliantly saved Emmanuel’s first effort from the edge of the area after a clever pass from Miller, but the rebound fell straight back for the forward to fire into the top corner.
Loza almost capitalized on Tyrone Sterling’s error, but his volley through a crowed box went straight at Arnold.
Emmanuel shot straight at Worgan when put through by Richard Orlu, but he did not have to wait long for his second as he smashed home Lafayette’s cross from an angle on 54 minutes to double Dover’s lead.
Maidstone searched for a way back into the game and Magri was well positioned to clear away Flisher’s drive.
The home side did pull a goal back on 58 minutes as Odubade’s low cross was slid home by Karagiannis.
Worgan kept Maidstone in the game, diving low to his right to deny Miller’s first time attempt after nice work from Emmanuel.
Arnold’s challenge on Odubade had Maidstone calling for a penalty, but referee Constantine Hatzidakis waved the claims away.
The resulting corner from Karagiannis was heading straight in, but Arnold was able to fist the ball to safety.
Lafayette’s deadly strike on 74 ended any hopes of a comeback as he collected a ball from Orlu and fired across Worgan to take his league goal tally into double figures for the campaign.
Worgan denied Sammy Moore his first of the season after saving his curling effort and Lafayette’s follow up shot was blocked.
Arnold’s fingertips denied Loza from close range and Tom Mills somehow missed the target after Dover’s goalie missed Flisher’s cross as Maidstone were unable to set up a grandstand finish.
Miller, who was feeling under the weather, sealed the win after he ran onto Lafayette’s through ball to slot home in injury time.
Earlier, Whites made one change from the reverse clash on Boxing Day, Moore came in for Ricky Modeste who dropped to the bench.
Maidstone: Worgan, Driver (Taylor 86mins), Mills, Coyle, Lokko, Rogers (Greenhalgh 81mins), Karagiannis, Paxman, Loza, Odubade (N’Guessan 76mins), Flisher. Subs not used: Evans, Acheampong.
Dover: Arnold, Magri, Thomas, Orlu, Grimes, Sterling, Moore, Parkinson (Stevenson 73mins), Miller (Kinnear 90mins), Lafayette, Emmanuel (Pinnock 85mins). Subs not used: Modeste, Stevenson, Marsh.
Attendance: 2,257 (208 Dover fans)