A LATE winner from Luke Armstrong saw Whites leave Gateshead pointless.
The striker, on loan from Middlesbrough, blasted home his fourth goal of the season on 87 minutes after substitute Steve Rigg had an initial shot blocked.
Jamie Allen had put Dover ahead after 20 minutes, with Robbie Tinkler levelling for the home side nine minutes later.
Early on, Mike Williamson headed over Greg Olley’s corner on ten minutes.
And Armstrong went even closer moments later.
The forward robbed Mitch Brundle and sent a 25-yard screamer past the wrong side of visiting keeper Mitch Walker’s far post.
Dover’s goalie then had to be wary enough to stop Tom White’s looping cross from heading straight in.
But the opening goal of the afternoon came at the other end of the pitch.
Essam headed Brundle’s corner goalwards and Allen was on hand to flick the ball into the back of the net with the faintest of touches.
But the scores were level soon after.
Tinkler nodded Olley’s corner downwards and though Jack Connors was able to stick his foot in the way, the defender was unable to prevent the ball from spinning up and into the back of the net via the crossbar.
And the woodwork came to Athletic’s rescue three minutes later.
Williamson headed Olley’s cross onto the top of the bar as home team Heed pushed to move ahead for the first time in the match.
Following the restart, Cameron Salkeld sent a dangerous ball into the area, but no home player was able to take advantage.
Inih Effiong then poked wide from Connors’ pass into the box and Brundle sent a 20-yard free-kick narrowly over.
And towards the end of a low key second-half, Armstrong found space and drove home the winning goal.
There was almost even more late drama when sub Kadell Daniel saw his late free-kick fly narrowly wide.
Earlier, boss Kinnear named the same side that started the 2-2 draw at Bromley in midweek.
Whites next host Havant & Waterlooville on Tuesday 14th August, kick-off 7:45 pm.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION