Dover’s first away league match of the National League campaign ended in a humbling 4-1 loss at Hayes Lane on Tuesday night, however the final score might well have been very different when Sam Wood reduced the arrears.
With his side behind to goals from Michal Cheek and Jack Holland either side of the break, Whites’ captain Wood, playing against the side he featured for last season, slotted in Travis Gregory’s driven pass across the box, with Steven Rigg and Ahkeem Rose both missing chances to level.
Unable to capitalise on their dominance, Athletic were punished when Bromley extended their lead via Ben Williamson’s smart finish with 17 minutes remaining.
A second consecutive defeat at Hayes Lane for Andy Hessenthaler’s men was confirmed in injury time when Cheek pounced on away stopper Yusuf Mersin’s mis-kick.
Harry Ransom’s injury was the first of a double blow for Dover as just after the defender had pulled up, Ade Azeez’s intended pass to the Millwall loanee was intercepted by Harry Forster.
The youngster, on loan from Watford, took full advantage of the space ahead of him, passing the ball across the box for Cheek to slide in the opener.
Mersin dived low to turn Williamson’s bottom-corner bound shot around the post and the same player was unable to keep a far post header on target.
Azeez’ spectacular back-heeled volley flew narrowly over the bar after the break, however the Raven’s scored a second despite initial heroics from Mersin.
The Turkish keeper saved Billy Bingham’s fierce free-kick and despite stopping Holland’s initial rebound, Mersin was unable to prevent Bromley’s captain from bundling the ball over the line.
Rigg saw an effort fly agonisingly wide and a well-worked corner routine from Jack Munns and Wood ended with Rose blazing high over the cross bar.
Dover through caution to the wind and introduced striker Louis Collins, making his National League debut, however were punished by two late goals.
Williamson sprinted onto a flicked-header and slotted the ball past Mersin to extend the home side’s two-goal lead, with Cheek pouncing to wrap up the points in the injury time.
Earlier, boss Hessenthaler made one change to the side that started against Notts County, with Gregory replacing the injured Josh Passley.
Whites next travel to Stockport County on Saturday 10th October, kick off 3 pm.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
Whites started the New Year with a disappointing defeat at promotion-chasing Bromley on the opening day of 2020.
Frankie Raymond’s penalty on the stroke of half-time and further strikes from Josh Rees and Michael Cheek saw Andy Hessenthaler’s men lose a third match of the campaign on the road.
The 3-0 score was an exact reversal of Dover’s win at Crabble on Boxing Day against Neil Smith’s team.
Earlier, Dover players cried out for an early penalty for a handball against Sam Wood, but referee Carl Brook waved away their protests.
However Athletic should have been ahead moments later when Inih Effiong was found in space in the penalty area.
Earlier, Dover’s top scorer Inih Effiong collected Bobby-Joe Taylor’s pinpoint cross, but curled the ball around the wrong side of home keeper Ryan Huddart’s goal.
Cheek connected with Chris Bush’s long throw-in, only to direct his header straight at visiting keeper Yusuf Mersin.
Wood’s slip let in Ricky Modeste out wide, but the winger’s cross into the area was just behind Effiong.
Dave Winfield blasted Luke Coulson’s ball goalwards, only for the ball to strike a Bromley teammate a fly over the crossbar.
At the other end, Whites went closest to opening the scoring.
Nassim L’Ghoul headed Jack Munns’ set piece high towards goal, with the bouncing off the top of the bar and bouncing behind for a goalkick.
With Ravens centre-back Winfield forced off with injury, Jai Reason sent a teasing cross into the penalty area, a cross that Rees nearly flicked into his own net.
Rees was almost scoring at the right end just before the break. Spinning his man and shooting into the side netting via a deflection.
However, there was still time for the hosts to take the lead from the penalty spot.
Following Effiong’s push on Joe Kizzi in the area, Raymond fired past the outstretched arms of Mersin to give Bromley the lead.
Following the restart, Taylor’s wicked cross almost caught out Huddart with the giant Bromley stopping the ball from flying into the top corner.
That save proved crucial as the home team doubled their lead.
A swift counter-attack ended with Rees slotting the ball past Mersin and the midfielder almost added to his tally moments later as Dover’s keeper dived low to keep out the attacking midfielder’s 25-yarder.
With the away side seemingly shell-shocked, Billy Bingham sent a effort from the edge of the box over.
The home team were off target again when Rees volleyed into the ground and narrowly above the bar.
With Dover looking to halve the deficit, Taylor’s deep cross bounced off Modeste and into the arms of Huddart.
Will De Havilland stayed forward from a foraying run and headed Taylor’s centre wide.
Rees blazed over sub Reeco Hackett-Fairchild’s pass over, however, the Ravens didn’t have long to wait before sealing their win.
Cheek latched onto Wood’s ball over the top and placed the ball past Mersin to confirm the home side’s win.
Jeffrey fired a late effort at Huddart, but it was too little too late as Whites started the New Year with a loss to drops them two places in the table to 13th..Earlier, boss Hessenthaler named the same side that started at Ebbsfleet on Saturday, with Oscar Gobern named as a substitute following an injury.
Whites next host Hartlepool United on Saturday 11th January, kick-off 3 pm.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
A LATE penalty denied Dover a first win of the season in the Kent derby.
Tim Schmoll’s handball was duly punished by Frankie Sutherland’s fierce spot-kick two minutes from time after goals from Jamie Allen and Kevin Lokko had cancelled out Dan Johnson’s early opener for the hosts.
Whites almost made a great start, Allen lobbing wide after latching onto Mitch Brundle’s ball – instead, it was a perfect beginning for the home team after three minutes.
Defender Johnson strode forward and fired a deflected effort into the bottom corner of Mitch Walker’s net.
Dover responded and a long throw from Brundle, flicked on by Schmoll, almost reached Allen, but home keeper David Gregory was faster than Dover’s striker to the ball.
But Allen did not have the wait long for his first goal of the season.
Josh Passley’s exquisite pass found Brundle and after beating his man, Athletic’s skipper fizzed in a pass for Allen to slot in.
Gregory then needed to be at his best to stop the visitors taking a 2-1 lead.
The stopper stretched to tip Brundle’s 30-yard piledriver onto the top of the crossbar.
George Porter’s swirling volley flew past the wrong side of the post and Allen was furious to see the referee wave away the claims his header crossed the line.
Following the restart, Walker was quick off his line to beat Bobby-Joe Taylor to a long ball.
And Brundle went close once again, bustling through the Bromley defence and curling an effort narrowly off target.
The Dover pressure continued and a flowing move involving Nortei Nortey and Allen ended with Passley seeing his shot blocked at Gregory’s near post.
Jack Connors was in the right place on the back post to stop Omar Bugiel’s header from creeping in from a corner.
But Connors had a big say as Whites’ went ahead for the first time this season.
Substitute Reece Meechams kicked the ball against the defender, allowing Connors to whip in a ball for the lying-in-wait Lokko to slide home into the far corner.
Brundle had his hands on his head after his free-kick only just cleared the bar.
And substitute Kadell Daniel could only curl wide as Dover hit Bromley on the counter-attack.
Those misses proved costly as Sutherland converted his penalty to ensure the points were shared.
Earlier, boss Chris Kinnear named the same side that started the previous match against Wrexham.
Whites next travel to Gateshead on Saturday 11th August.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
KANE Richards’ injury-time header completed a remarkable second-half comeback for Whites at a bitterly cold Hayes Lane on Saturday.
The substitute was quickest to react to Manny Parry’s knock-down after Mitch Pinnock’s floated ball into the area caused a melee in the Bromley box.
Skipper Mitch Brundle reduced the arrears with a fine strike after a cool finish from Louis Dennis and a Jack Holland header had the hosts in control before the break.
Dover’s defence were tested early on and Connor Essam’s last-ditch tackle denied Dominic Vose a clear sight of goal.
Visiting keeper Mitch Walker was out quickly to gather ahead of the on-rushing Dennis and Kadell Daniel skewed a volley high and wide at the other end after being found by Pinnock’s cross-field pass.
David Gregory denied Brundle from the edge of the box with a fingertip save and Ilesanmi’s surging run ended with the wing back blasting Pinnock’s pass over as Dover grew into the game.
But Chris Kinnear’s men were made to pay for their missed chances as the hosts went ahead on 33 minutes.
Josh Rees found Dennis in space and the winger made no mistake, slotting in his third goal against Athletic this season.
Rees then almost capitalized on Essam’s miscontrol of a long clearance, but Walker was fast once again to smother the ball.
At the other end, Daniel turned in the box but blasted his effort past the angle of post and bar.
And Dover were punished once more thanks to Holland just before the break.
The make-shift striker rose above a static away defence to head in Frankie Raymond’s corner to the back post.
Boss Kinnear made two half-time substitutions, with debutant Ejiro Okosieme and Anthony Jeffrey introduced into the action.
And the changes paid dividend as Whites pulled a goal back on 55 minutes.
After beating his man for pace, loanee Jeffrey pulled the ball back from the byline for captain Brundle to control and sidefoot an unstoppable strike into the top corner – his third of the campaign.
And only Manny Parry will know how the scores were not level shortly afterwards.
The big defender could only head Giancarlo Gallifuoco’s cross wide from a yard out, much to the disbelief of both the defender and his teammates.
Holland almost had his second of the match, but his header from Dennis’ cross struck Parry, allowing Walker to dive onto the rolling ball.
Femi Ilesanmi stabbed another Gallifuoco cross wide and Essam headed Pinnock’s set-piece straight at home stopper Gregory as the visitors searched for a leveller.
And a deserved equaliser duly arrived in stoppage-time courtesy of late substitute Richards.
The winger headed in his first league goal for the club from close range earn a point and also prevent a third straight defeat for his side.
Earlier, manager Kinnear made one change to the side that started against Fylde. Daniel started in place of James Alabi, who started on the bench.
The draw sees Athletic move up one place to fifth in the standings, four points off new leaders Sutton United.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
WHITES were sent crashing out of the FA Cup after conceding three second-half goals at Hayes Lane on Tuesday evening.
Two quick-fire strikes from Josh Rees and Adam Mekki had the hosts in control and sub Louis Dennis slotted home in injury time to seal the win.
Chris Kinnear’s men were dealt a further blow as Giancarlo Gallifuoco and Josh Passley were forced off at half-time with injuries.
Both sides went on the attack early on, but shots from Nortei Nortey and Mekki were straight at their opposition goalkeepers.
Connor Essam’s through-ball then released Mitch Pinnock, but the midfielder blasted over when bearing down on goal.
Kadell Daniel picked out Mitch Brundle in the area, but the skipper’s first-time volley flew over both home keeper David Gregory and the crossbar.
Daniel then tried to score himself, smashing a spectacular overhead kick wide of the post.
Boss Kinnear was forced into a half-time change following an unfortunate injury to Gallifuoco.
The Australian bravely stooped low to head the ball in the Bromley box but suffered a concussion after colliding with an opponent.
Passley was also withdrawn prior to the restart, with Loui Fazakerley and Kane Richards introduced to the action as Whites opted for a more attacking formation after the break.
And the changes almost had an immediate impact as Pinnock’s low drive glided past the wrong side of the post.
Mekki went close with two headers. Firstly nodding over Luke Wanadio’s cross and then glancing straight into the arms of Mitch Walker.
Ryan Bird was on hand to clear Jack Holland’s bullet header off the line as Bromley forced a number of corners.
And the home side did not have to wait much longer to make a set piece count.
Frankie Sutherland’s 70th-minute corner was directed into the top corner by Rees, in-spite of visiting stopper Walker’s best efforts to keep the ball out.
Mekki grabbed his side’s second three minutes later, latching onto Holland’s pass and after evading Connor Essam’s challenge, curled in off the crossbar.
Bird headed Pinnock’s free-kick at Gregory and with time running out, Neil Smith’s side sealed the win thanks to substitute Dennis.
The attacker exchanged passes with Rees and slotted past Walker to confirm their first-round tie at League One Rochdale next month
Earlier manager Kinnear named an unchanged line-up from Saturday’s match.
Dover are back to league action on Saturday 21st October with Maidenhead United the visitors to Crabble. Kick off 3 pm.
DOVER TOO GOOD FOR BROMLEY
Whites rise to 6th after 2-0 win at Hayes Lane.
DOVER won their first Kent derby of the season thanks to a quick-fire first-half double from Ricky Miller and Ross Lafayette.
Whites remained unchanged after their demolition of Braintree on Saturday, whilst the home side were forced into one amendment to their starting eleven as Toni Sho-Silva came in for the suspended Blair Turgott.
Moses Emmanuele returned from suspension and was named amongst the substitutes against his former side.
The home side made an encouraging start and almost took the lead, a free kick found Lee Minshull free in the area, but his header was wayward.
Dover ramped up the pressure from then on, forcing a number of corners and free kicks. Stevenson’s fierce volleyed drive forced Alan Julian to palm the ball wide.
Only tension seemed to separate the two sides after some heated challenges, but that did not distract Ricky Miller from doing what he does best, as he latched onto Ross Lafayette’s delightful through ball to slot under the onrushing Julian on 26 minutes.
And three minutes later it was the turn of former Eastleigh man Lafayette to get on the scoresheet as he pounced on Rob Swaine’s horrendous back header to fire in from a tight angle.
Mitch Walker, who impressed in recent wins over Braintree and Sutton, was at his agile best again to prevent Toby Sho-Silva’s wicked strike, diving left to beat the ball away for a corner.
Miller was clearly in no mood to settle for just the one goal as he fired just over from the edge of the box. Then just before half time, he had Julian scrambling to tip away his first-time volley off a Stevenson cross.
The second half continued in the same vein as Dover looked to kill the game off and their top predator Miller was inches away from connecting to Ricky Modeste’s centre.
Miller himself was substituted midway through the half right after being booked for a robust challenge. Not before he had one last attempt on goal, firing straight at Julian when well placed.
With Dover’s leading marksman off the pitch, Bromley pushed on, but could only muster two tame efforts from Cunnington and Philpott that Walker was able to deal with ease.
Bromley’s attempt to salvage a draw became mission impossible once Daniel Johnson saw red for a second booking after bringing down Lafayette.
The home side had a late flourish and Lafayette showed his prowess in the other box, heading off the line from a corner. Walker then brilliantly tipped over Bromley’s last chance of a consolation before the referee blew his whistle for full time.
The win sees win Dover move up to sixth in the table, level on points with Barrow and two points behind Tranmere in fourth, whom they play on Saturday at Crabble.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION