Whites latest FA Trophy adventure ended at the first hurdle following a narrow defeat at a wet Laithwaite stadium on Saturday.
Ade Azeez fired Andy Hessenthaler’s side ahead just after the break, but two quick-fire goals saw Whites knocked out at the First Round proper stage for a second consecutive campaign.
Charlie Cooper’s penalty levelled matters from the penalty spot with twenty minutes and the turnaround was complete three minutes later when Slavi Spasov headed in the winner.
The game was Whites’ first in four weeks following positive COVID-19 tests at the end of November.
Kurtis Cumberbatch sent a free-kick straight at home keeper Craig Ross, with Dave Tarpey stabbing into the side netting from close range at the other end.
Josh Casey’s swirling free-kick almost deceived Yusuf Mersin, bouncing wide of the Turkish stopper’s far post.
Spasov then dragged a volley wide of the mark and Bayli Spencer-Adams was on the line to block Saul Shotton’s goalbound drive.
Ahkeem Rose’s spectacular overhead kick forced Ross into a smart stop and Azeez then fired inches wide from a corner.
Cooper nearly had the home team ahead on the stroke of half-time with his speculative 25-yard volley whizzing inches past it’s intended target.
It was the away side who were in front just after the restart when Azeez crashed in Rose’s pinpoint cross following the Jamaican striker’s fine run.
However, the lead was short-lived as Woking levelled from 12 yards after TJ Bramble was adjudged to have felled Koran Lofthouse in the area.
Cooper sent Mersin the wrong way to level matters and Alan Dowson’s cards were ahead three minutes later with Cooper heavily involved.
The former Forest Green midfielder’s cross found Spasov in space to firmly head home, well out of Mersin’s reach.
Azeez’ late shout for a penalty following a shove in the box fell on deaf ears as Hessenthaler’s men suffered a fourth consecutive match defeat.
Dover next host Chesterfield on Tuesday 22nd December, kick off 7:45 pm.
WOKING PLAYER TO WATCH
You can view Woking’s full squad list below. (Credit Woking FC for photos)
For those wanting to wear the same shirts as the players on Saturday, Dover will be wearing their x tops.
Adult – £18
Senior (Over 65) – £13
Disabled (Including Carer) – £13
Student (Under 19)* – £5
Child (Under 16) – £5
* Must show a valid student card.
DIRECTIONS TO THE LAITHWAITE COMMUNITY STADIUM
If you can’t make the match you can follow on the action on Twitter @DAFCLiveText. Coverage starts shortly after 2 pm.
FRIDAY’S OTHER NATIONAL LEAGUE FIXTURES (Kick-off 3 pm)
Bromley v Maidenhead United
Chesterfield v Stockport County
Chorley v Notts County
Eastleigh v Solihull Moors
Ebbsfleet United v Boreham Wood
FC Halifax Town v Barrow
Harrogate Town v AFC Fylde
Sutton United v Aldershot Town
Torquay United v Barnet
Wrexham v Hartlepool United
Yeovil Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
WHITES ended their pre-season preparations with a draw at National South Woking.
Inih Effiong gave the visitors a first-half lead, but Duane-Ofori Acheampong headed in a free-kick after the break to equalise for the Cards.
Mitch Walker was forced to turn over Fabio Saraiva’s curling free-kick early on.
And Dover’s keeper was called into action moments later, bravely blocking at the feet of Max Kretzschmar after the midfielder was set free.
Walker could then only watch as a snapshot from Saraiva bobbled just past the wrong side of the post.
And home stopper Berti Schottel was soon in the thick of the action.
The big German was at full stretch to tip Nortei Nortey’s well-placed shot around the post.
On the half-hour mark, Effiong’s powerful header from Brundle’s corner flew off target.
But the big striker fared much better with his next effort moments later.
An accurate cross from wide bounced off Effiong’s thigh and into the bottom corner to give Athletic the lead.
And it was almost two for both Dover and Effiong within seconds. The forward beat Nathan Collier to the ball before thrashing his shot narrowly wide.
Jamie Allen was then within a whisker of finding the top corner after latching onto a blocked shot from Nortey and at the other end, Walker spectacularly denied Jake Hyde, palming away the attacker’s header on the goalline.
After the break, Effiong rose highest to meet Brundle’s pinpoint corner, his header just cleared the crossbar.
Ofori-Acheampong will feel he should have levelled after failing to connect with Dan Spence’s cross.
And Woking went even closer to equalising with their next chance.
Spence’s ball over the top found Kretzschmar, who could only watch as he touched the ball the inches wide of the mark.
Josh Casey almost headed Josh Passley’s cross into his own net and Dover’s right-back provided another assist, this time nodding the ball into Brundle’s path, but Whites’ skipper could only direct his header wide.
But Ofori-Acheampong had no such trouble for Woking.
The striker headed in from a free-kick from the left to equalise for the National South side just before the hour mark.
Walker needed to be alert to see away a cross from Saraiva that almost crept in.
The final chance of the match saw substitute Paul Hodges’ strike well blocked by the Dover defence as both sides start their domestic seasons in a week’s time.
Earlier, boss Kinnear made one chance to the side that started in the home friendly with Welling on Tuesday night. Nortey replacing the injured Anthony Jeffrey.
Athletic next entertain Wrexham in their opening National League game of the 2018/19 season on Saturday 4th August. Kick off 3 pm
Dover: Walker, Essam, Schmoll, Lokko, Passley, Trialist (Daniel 63), Brundle (c), Nortey, Gomis, Allen, Effiong.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
DOVER missed out on the top seven by goal difference despite Keanu Marsh-Brown’s injury time winner.
The substitute fired in Anthony Jeffrey’s pass to confirm Woking’s relegation to the National South, but the three points were not enough as Dover finished the season eighth in the table.
In a game the hosts needed to win to stand a chance of avoiding relegation, Chris Kinnear’s men had taken the lead through Giancarlo Gallifuoco, but Woking were level shortly before half time through Charlie Carter.
Earlier, Kevin Lokko headed a corner goalwards, with the defender’s shot was blocked and Nortei Nortey’s follow up from the edge of the area was easily dealt with by home stopper Nathan Baxter.
And only a stunning save from Mitch Walker kept the scoreline level.
The stopper flung himself across his goal to deny Carter from a yard out following some pinball in the penalty area.
Mitch Pinnock then tried to chip Baxter from range but was off target.
19-year-old Baxter tipped away Mitch Brundle’s curling 20-yarder, but there was nothing the Cards keeper could do from the following corner.
Australian Gallifuoco took advantage of hesitant home defending to nod the ball into the bottom corner.
Carter and Reece Grego-Cox went close for Woking, both shooting off target when well placed.
But midfielder Carter did restore parity on 38 minutes.
The 21-year old fired in at the second attempt after Grego-Cox escaped out wide and fired in a ball to his teammate.
Josh Staunton almost gave the hosts a lead, forcing Walker to tip over his header.
And Dover supporter’s player of the season then denied Cook following Parry’s misjudgement and Carter was denied by the woodwork from the resulting corner.
Woking’s goalscorer rose high to meet a corner but saw his header bounce off the underside off the bar and down onto the goal line.
Following the restart, Joey Jones blazed well over after bursting forward from the back.
Walker then tipped away Grego-Cox’s teasing cross and Staunton’s bullet header fizzed wide from a corner
Pinnock’s right-footed effort from the edge of the area sailed into the stand, whilst at the other end Carter could only slide Grego-Cox’s ball wide and Staunton blocked Pinnock’s fierce drive.
And with time running out, Kevin Lokko almost grabbed a winner.
The big defender met sub Keanu-Marsh-Brown’s cross, but the ball curled agonisingly past the angle of post and bar.
And Baxter frustrated the visitors once more, tipping away Jeffrey’s low drive in a frantic finish.
But Marsh-Brown and Dover had the final say in a game were both sides ended up being disappointed come the final whistle.
Earlier, boss Kinnear named the same line-up that started in last week’s 3-2 win against Gateshead.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
DOVER’S four-game National League unbeaten run came to an end on a disappointing night at the Kingfield Stadium on Tuesday.
In what turned out to be a game of two halves, Woking won the three points thanks to Max Kretzschmar’s second-half tap-in.
Kretzschmar’s goal, which was Woking’s only effort on target, also ended Dover’s hopes of beating Woking for a fifth consecutive league game.
Despite the setback, boss Chris Kinnear’s side remain fifth ahead of Saturday’s clash against Solihull Moors at Crabble.
Fresh from Saturday’s 3-0 defeat of Eastleigh, Dover started well and a strong run from Ricky Modeste ended with his cross safely gathered by home goalkeeper Michael Poke.
The hosts first effort on goal saw a shot from Kretzschmar deflected wide before Joe Healy fired high and wide at the other end after being teed up by Nicky Deverdics.
Gozie Ugwu tried his luck from range but the effort from the Cards leading scorer sailed harmlessly over Steve Arnold’s bar.
Ross Lafayette dragged an effort just wide following good work by Healy, Modeste and Sam Magri.
Dover continued to press and it needed a stunning save by Poke to deny Healy in the 34th minute with the keeper tipping the midfielder’s fierce shot onto the bar before the ball bounced clear.
An unmarked Modeste should have given Dover the lead just before half-time, but he headed Aswad Thomas’ pin-point cross wide from close range.
Whites continued to dominate after the break and a Lafayette snapshot whistled not far wide a couple of minutes in.
Woking captain Ismail Yakubu headed against his own bar but after weathering the storm, the hosts should have scored.
Defender Terrell Thomas should have put his side ahead from a corner after he climbed high but his free header went over Arnold’s bar.
While Thomas gave Dover a let-off – Kretzschmar was not about to in the 66th minute.
Substitute Charlie Carter, who had only been on for three minutes, turned Jake Caprice’s cross into Kretzschmar’s path to leave him with the easiest of tap-ins.
Dover pressed for an equaliser, but the hosts held firm to move two places clear of the bottom four.
Earlier, Kinnear kept faith in his starting side from the win against Eastleigh.
The only change he made was on the bench where Eastleigh loanee Connor Essam replaced Jack Parkinson.
Parkinson has gone out on loan to Maidenhead United.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION