Braintree Town v Dover Athletic

A PENALTY from Reece Grant 12 minutes from time saw Whites slip to last place on the National League ladder in their bottom-of-the-table clash in Essex on Saturday.

Grant slotted down the middle of the goal after Mitch Walker had upended Lyle Della-Verde in the penalty area, leaving Andy Hessenthaler’s men six points from safety.

Kevin Lokko had headed Athletic back on level terms 11 minutes earlier to cancel out Justin Amaluzar’s 13th-minute opener for Town.

Whites almost made the ideal start, however, Inih Effiong was unable to convert Bobby-Joe Taylor’s pinpoint cross.

Instead, it was the hosts who went ahead with their first shot on target.

A corner from the right was met by Amaluzar, with the ball finding the bottom corner via a deflection.

Connor Essam tried to level but was unable to beat home keeper Ashley Jones with his downward header.

And the score was almost doubled when Grant pounced on hesitation by Josh Passley, but his angled drive was pushed behind by Walker.

Following the restart, Virgil Gomis wasted a good chance for the home side, blasting over from the edge of the area from a quick throw-in.

Another corner from Town almost snuck into the bottom corner of Walker’s goal, but a combination of Dover’s goalkeeper and Stuart Lewis were able to clear the danger.

Amaluzar went close to grabbing his second of the afternoon, tricking his way into the area and sliding wide of the mark.  At the other end, Effiong sent a shot whizzing just over the crossbar.

And it was Dover’s new signing, introduced from the bench just moments earlier, who conjured up the equaliser.

Signed from Chelmsford the day before, Jai Reason crossed with his first touch for Lokko to power a header into the far bottom corner of Jones’ net.

But Whites’ lead only lasted for ten minutes after a penalty was awarded to the home team after A race to the ball ended with Walker fouling Della Verde in the penalty area.

Grant duly converted from 12 yards, but Dover were able to muster one more chance.

Effiong turned and fired goalwards with time running out, but his effort was straight into the clutches of Jones.

Earlier, boss Hessenthaler made one change to the side that started last week’s FA Cup win against Concord Rangers.  Taylor started in place of the injured Jamie Allen.

Whites next host Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday 30th October, kick-off 7:45 pm.

DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION

MATCH GALLERY

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Braintree Town v Dover Athletic FC

RICKY Miller scored a late winner as Dover came from behind to keep their playoff aspirations intact after beating Braintree Town at IronmongeryDirect Stadium on Saturday.

The massive three points leaves boss Chris Kinnear’s side sixth, level on points with fifth-placed Aldershot Town, but importantly with a game in hand on the Hampshire side.

But relegation- haunted Braintree made Whites work hard for the victory.

The hosts, who finished the game with 10-men after former Dover defender Craig Braham-Barrett was shown a straight red in the second half, led through Michael Cheek’s first-half header.

Eastleigh loanee Connor Essam equalised in the 64th minute before Miller, the National League’s leading marksman, sent the travelling fans wild with his 35th league goal of the season in the 89th minute.

The win and the goals were Dover’s first at the venue after Kinnear’s side had suffered losses in both previous National League games there.

Dover started the game brightly and Joe Healy had a shot turned over by goalkeeper Sam Beasant after only two minutes.

But it was Braintree who took the lead with their first attempt on goal six minutes later.

Cheek, Braintree’s top-scorer, rose to head Sean Clohessy’s cross powerfully past Mitch Walker.

Walker then spread himself to save from Sam Corne in a one-on-one as Braintree threatened again.

Dover thought they had equalised after Ricky Modeste pounced on a poor back pass and Miller finished from close range.

But the celebrations were short-lived with the goal ruled out for offside.

Miller’s run and cross was turned just wide by Modeste before Braintree responded with Braham-Barrett seeing his cross hit the outside of the post.

Cheek had a header easily gathered by Walker before Moses Emmanuel’s curling effort sailed harmlessly over Beasant’s bar.

Dover had the final chance of the opening half, with an unmarked Jamie Grimes heading Healy’s corner into the side netting in stoppage time.

The first opportunity of the second half went to Braintree with Cheek’s effort fizzing across the face of Walker’s goal.

Walker was under threat again moments later, turning away Corne’s low drive before Essam cleared a Corne header off the line.

After his heroics at one end, Essam was about to star at the other – by scoring the equaliser.

The big defender headed Healy’s pin-point free-kick beyond Beasant to put his side back in the game.

Braintree were then reduced to 10-men after Braham-Barrett was given a straight red for a cynical tackle on Modeste.

Substitute Reece Hall-Johnson fired over before a last-gasp Richard Orlu tackle deflected another effort from Hall-Johnson behind.

Dover went in search of a winner – Miller, who scored four in the 6-1 win against Braintree at Crabble in December, delivered.

He got on the end of Ross Lafayette’s cushioned header and fired past Beasant.

Earlier, Kinnear made one enforced change to his starting side following the win against Gateshead a week earlier, with Chris Kinnear jnr replacing the injured Loui Fazakerley.

DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION

MATCH GALLERY

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