A first-half brace from Karl Cameron condemned Dover to a fourth consecutive league defeat.
The Gulls captain was on hand to nod in from visiting stopper Yusuf Mersin’s parry and then headed in a corner on the stroke of half-time.
Andy Hessenthaler’s men fought to find a way back into the match after break, but were unable to find way through a solid United defence.
The loss leaves Whites second from bottom on the National League ladder with three points, however the result may well have been different had Athletic converted a guilt-edged chance five minutes prior to Torquay’s opener.
Steven Rigg tricked his way to the byline and presented TJ Bramble with the goal at his mercy, however the midfielder was unable to convert after getting his feet mixed up.
Athletic had gone close to opening the scoring early in the game when Jack Munns sent a dipping volley the wrong side of the post,
Bayli Spencer-Adams, making his debut for Dover after signing on loan from Watford the previous day, then saw his shot well blocked by the home defence.
Bramble jumped to head Cameron’s bouncing header off the line, but the Dover defence was powerless to stop Torquay’s captain from opening the scoring in the first half.
A corner was well parried by Mersin, only to kindly fall for Cameron, an invitation the centre-back was only too happy to accept as he headed the ball into an empty net, despite Bramble’s attempt to stop the ball from crossing the goal line.
Turkish stopper Mersin then tipped Aaron Nemane’s stinging drive onto the base of the post.
Dover’s mission to stop a run of three straight defeats was dealt a further blow on the stroke of half-time when Cameron headed a set piece into the bottom corner.
And that task was nearly made harder just seconds later, but for Mersin fisting over Adam Randell’s free-kick.
The Turkish goalkeeper continued to repel the Torquay attack, diving onto Danny Wright’s volley after the restart.
The Kent side almost reduced the arrears late on, as home stopper Lucas Covolan tipped Munns’ accurate effort behind for a corner and then grabbed onto Rigg’s header.
Torquay almost sealed the win in injury time, only for a mixture of the woodwork and Mersin to somehow prevent substitute Asa Hall from scoring.
Earlier, Hessenthaler made five changes to the side that started the 5-0 home loss to Aldershot on Tuesday night. Mersin, Spencer-Adams, Kurtis Cumberbatch, Bramble and Josh Passley came in for Josh Bexon, Will Moses, Ade Azeez, Travis Gregory and Marvel Ekpiteta with the latter three all not involved due to injury.
Dover next travel to Yeovil Town in the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Qualifying on Saturday 24th October 2020.
TORQUAY PLAYER TO WATCH
You can view Torquay’s full squad list below. (Credit Torquay United FC for photos)
For those wanting to wear the same shirts as the players on Saturday, Dover will be wearing their x tops.
TORQUAY UNITED WEBSITE
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 PLAINMOOR
If you can’t make the match you can follow on the action on Twitter @DAFCLiveText. Coverage starts shortly after 2 pm.
SATURDAY’S OTHER NATIONAL LEAGUE FIXTURES (Kick-off 3 pm)
Bromley v Hartlepool United
Chesterfield v Barnet
Chorley v Maidenhead United
Eastleigh v Stockport County
Ebbsfleet United v Solihull Moors
FC Halifax Town v Aldershot Town
Harrogate Town v Dagenham & Redbridge
Sutton United v Boreham Wood
Woking v AFC Fylde
Wrexham v Notts County
Yeovil Town v Barrow
A HEADED goal in each half from Paul Lewis and Ryan Bird saw Dover run out comfortable winners at bottom-of-the-table Torquay at a windy Plainmoor on Saturday.
Cambridge loanee Lewis nodded in Mitch Pinnock’s cross after six minutes to give Chris Kinnear’s men an early lead and Bird powered in Jamie Allen’s assist off both the bar and home goalkeeper Vincent Dorel to double the advantage in the 64th minute as Athletic extended their unbeaten run to five games.
After the visitors had gone in front, Pinnock headed Passley’s cross harmlessly over and was then denied by the woodwork minutes later.
The wideman struck the underside of the crossbar with a fierce volley after latching onto Femi Ilesanmi’s lobbed pass.
Lewis thought he had doubled the lead after flicking in Bird’s shot, but the linesman chalked off his effort for offside and the midfielder was booked for protesting.
Ryan Higgins fired well wide from 20-yards and at the other end Bird nodded Allen’s cross just wide just before the break.
Luke Young drove a free-kick into Mitch Walker’s arms a minute before Bird struck Dover’s second.
The points were almost secured when Giancarlo Gallifuoco struck the post against his old side from sub Kadell Daniel’s corner.
Daniel then tried his luck with an audacious volley that flew into the arms of Gulls stopper Dorel.
Jamie Reid’s blast into the side netting summed up a disappointing day in front of goal for United.
The win sees Whites remain second in the standings, one point below current leaders Macclesfield Town.
Earlier, boss Kinnear kept the same side that started at Sutton on Tuesday night. Aziz Deen-Conteh replaced Tobi Sho-Silva on the bench, who missed out through injury.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
Gulls swoop to beat Whites
Miller’s stunner in vain
NOT even a sublime Ricky Miller goal could prevent Dover’s three-game National League winning run from coming to an abrupt end in Devon on Saturday.
Substitute Miller’s cracking free-kick cancelled out Jamie Reid’s opener before Dan Sparkes secured the Gulls the three points.
The hosts moved out of the bottom four with the win, one which also ended a three-game losing streak.
It was also Torquay’s first win against boss Chris Kinnear’s side in three games after Whites won both clashes last season.
Kinnear admitted it had been a bad day at the office, one that ended with his side slipping from fourth to sixth ahead of Monday’s clash with seventh-placed Aldershot at Crabble (3 pm).
He said: “We were not on our game today, but we should have got something out of it. It’s very disappointing.
“We looked sluggish and they were up for it. But so should we be.
“At 1-1 you would take a draw on a bad day but bad defending by us cost us a point.”
Dover started with plenty of intent and had a penalty claim waved away minutes into the contest after goalkeeper Brendan Moore appeared to bundle over striker Ross Lafayette.
Torquay responded with Nathan Blissett firing wide before West Bromwich Albion loanee Joe Ward saw his long-range effort easily gathered by Dover keeper Steve Arnold.
Blissett then watched as his lob beat Arnold and the woodwork before Dover missed a great chance to open the scoring.
Moore came and missed Ricky Modeste’s free-kick but Aswad Thomas headed over with the goal at his mercy.
Modeste volleyed Thomas’ left-wing cross over before Lathaniel Rowe-Turner’s powerful run ended with the left-back firing just wide just before half-time.
The deadlock was broken less than a minute after the restart when Exeter loanee Reid fired past Arnold.
They went close to doubling their advantage when Courtney Richards’ shot whistled just wide.
Dover responded with Moses Emmanuel going close after the winger pounced on some sloppy work by Aman Verma.
Arnold kept Dover in it with two fine saves to deny Sparkes.
First, he won the one-on-one before producing a spectacular effort to push Sparkes’ powerful header over his bar.
Miller came on seconds after that stunning save – he wasted little time in announcing his arrival.
Five minutes after coming on, Miller won a free-kick just outside the area and took the kick himself, leaving Moore with no chance.
But Dover’s celebrations did not last long with Torquay regaining the lead straight from the restart.
The towering Blissett’s headed flick sent Sparkes away, he beat last-man Jack Parkinson before slipping the ball past Arnold.
Dover were down again – but far from out of it.
Miller saw his shot deflected just wide, Jim Stevenson tested Moore, before that man Miller went close with a volley.
It was all Dover now and they went agonisingly close to salvaging a draw with virtually the last kick of the game.
And it was substitute and former Torquay striker Tyrone Marsh, who was booed every time he touched the ball, who almost provided the perfect response to silence his one-time fans.
His shot beat Moore before hitting the inside of the post and bouncing away, much to the relief of the home faithful.