Whites remain rooted in the bottom four of the National League following their loss at newly-promoted King’s Lynn Town on Saturday.
Rory McAuley headed in a corner just before half-time to open the scoring, with substitute Adam Marriott converting from the penalty spot to confirm a third consecutive defeat for Andy Hessenthaler’s men following debutant Ryan Hanson’s foul on Kairo Mitchell in the penalty area.
The away side’s misery had just been compounded further when Hanson, signed on loan from from League One Hull City the day before, was shown a straight red card having been deemed to be the last man when hauling down the burly striker in the box.
The loss keeps Dover 23rd on the National League ladder, two places and one point from safety.
However the visitors might have been thinking a first win away from home this campaign was on the cards had Steven Rigg headed Travis Gregory’s cross anywhere other than into the home stopper Archie Mair’s midriff.
Athletic restricted their hosts to half-chances, with Sonny Carey blazing over Mitchell’s pass from just outside the area.
Mitchell then fashioned his own chance, turning past Sam Wood, only to fire narrowly over the crossbar.
Dover continued to frustrate their Norfolk opponents, but their gallant defending was undone two minutes before the break from a corner.
A cross from the left was powerfully met by McAuley, wearing a head bandage, with the ball floating out of away stopper Yusuf Mersin’s reach and into the top corner.
Sam Kelly fired off target after the restart and at the other end, Rigg saw his 20-yard shot tipped around the post by Mair.
Dover players were unable to convert Wood’s cross-cum-shot across the face of goal, with Rigg seeing his header from Jack Munns’ cross plucked out of the air by Mair.
Mersin had to then be alert to deny Marriott as the striker sprinted through one-on-one, but the striker was not to be denied his next goalscoring opportunity when Town were awarded a penalty late on following Hanson’s foul on Mitchell.
Marriott sent Mersin the wrong way from 12 yards to leave Whites with an unwanted record of having lost every match on the road in the league this season.
Earlier, boss Hessenthaler made five changes to the side that started against Woking in midweek. Mersin, Gregory, Akheem Rose, Bayli Spencer-Adams and Hanson started with Kurtis Cumberbatch, TJ Bramble, Tom Smith and Ade Azeez named as substitutes and Oscar Gobern serving a three-match ban following his sending off in the 5-1 defeat.
Dover next travel to Maidenhead United on Tuesday 1st December, kick off 7:45 pm.