Michael Woods’ stunning first-half goal gave Dover a hard-fought Kent derby win on Saturday.
The midfielder found the top corner from 25-yards as Andy Hessenthaler’s men registered back-to-back league wins, a victory that moves Athletic to within two points of the play-offs.
Earlier, Inih Effiong headed past home keeper Jordan Holmes’ far post from Josh Passley’s deep cross in the game’s first chance.
Woods then sent a curling shot from the edge of the box into the home support behind Holmes’ goal as the visitors dominated the early stages.
Woods would make no mistake with his next chance.
The midfielder lashed in from 20-yards to give Dover a deserved lead, his first goal of the season.
Ayo Obileye, who scored Ebbsfleet’s opener at Crabble in the reverse fixture, fired well over from distance.
Gozie Ugwu then let fly from a similar distance, an effort that narrowly cleared away stopper Yusuf Mersin’s crossbar.
Myles Weston sent a warning strike straight at Mersin and Dover’s stopper had to turn away Andre Blackman’s angled drive just moments later.
Marvel Ekpiteta then missed a glorious chance to level, prodding wide at the backpost from a corner.
Ebbsfleet continued to look dangerous from set-pieces and Myles Weston sent a free-kick whizzing narrowly wide.
With minutes to go before the break, another United set-piece ended in Mersin diving onto Jack King’s header.
Following the restart, Bobby-Joe Taylor’s attempt to clear a cross almost saw the left-back put into his own net, however Mersin was able to stride across his goalline and clutch onto the ball.
Ugwu then found himself clear on goal, but seemingly stumbled on his way, allowing Mersin to grab the ball off his toes.
Taylor then came to his side’s rescue, sliding in front on Alex Reid as a wayward clearance bounced towards Athletic’s goal into the path of the pacy frontman.
Whites continued to cling onto their clean sheet with Mersin tipping over substitute John Goddard’s fierce volley.
Reid then somehow skied over Goddard’s swirling cross and Mersin then had to drop low to palm away Obileye’s skidding volley.
From the resultant corner, sub Steven Rigg headed Obileye’s goalbound header off the line.
Dover nearly doubled their lead when sub Adi Yusuff won his duel with Tyler Cordner, only to place his shot inches wide of the far post.
At the other end, Mersin saved Ugwu’s stabbed close-range effort following good work from Ekpiteta.
As five minutes injury time started, Yusuff dragged wide of the mark.
A last-gasp ball into the area found Obileye in space, however the midfielder blasted at Mersin as Hessenthaler’s men held on to make it a second consecutive clean sheet in the National League.
Earlier, boss Hessenthaler made two changes to the side that started against Bromley on Boxing Day. Keeper Lee Worgan missed out on Doctor’s advice, with Oscar Gobern also sidelined with an injury. Reason and Mersin came into the side.
Whites next travel to Bromley on New Year’s Day, kick-off 3 pm.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
EBBSFLEET UNITED REACTION