Category: Academy News


Dover Athletic are delighted to announce that Academy teenagers George Nikaj and Harrison Byford have signed their first professional contracts with the club.

The pair both got their first taste of senior football with manager Andy Hessenthaler’s side last season.

Right-back Byford, 18, made his debut after coming on as a second-half substitute in the 2-1 National League defeat at FC Halifax Town on March 12.

He went on to make a further five appearances.

Forward Nikaj, 19, made his senior debut as a second-half substitute in the 1-1 National League draw with Kings Lynn Town at Crabble on April 2.

He scored his first goal for the club in the 4-1 defeat against Woking at Crabble and made six appearances all up.

Byford and Nikaj join fellow Academy players Noah Carney, Luke Baptiste, and George Wilkinson in the senior squad.

Congratulations Harrison and George!!



By Alex Hoad

The National League chapter of Dover Athletic history came to a close – for at least one year, anyway – with a cruel defeat to Weymouth on the season’s final day.

Despite a barnstorming second-half performance which saw them hit the woodwork on four occasions, Whites were stung by a controversial late winner as the Terras snatched the points with a 2-1 win at Crabble which saw boss Andy Hessenthaler and midfielder George Wilkinson each shown the red card.

Keeper Alexis Andre saved a stoppage-time penalty from Tom Blair – awarded by referee Tom Bishop despite furious appeals for offside – only for Blair to turn in the rebound to break Dover hearts in the 95th minute.

The lively Brandon Goodship had already struck the inside of the Dover post when he stepped-up to fire the visitors ahead from the penalty spot inside 10 minutes after Danny Collinge was adjudged to have fouled Portsmouth loanee Haji Mnoga as he tried to clear the ball.

It was the 100th goal Dover have conceded in the National League this season.

Henry Woods flashed a low cross-shot across the face of goal before Andy Hessenthaler was shown a red card by the referee after his protests about a free-kick awarded against Michael Gyasi for an apparent shirt-pull on half-way on 16 minutes.

Woods saw an effort deflected into the arms of debutant Terras keeper Tommy Scott but despite some encouraging approach play from Gyasi and Arjanit Krasniqi there were no further attempts on goal before the break.

All that changed after the interval as Dover produced what was perhaps their best half of any match in any competition this season.

They flew out of the blocks like a changed side and Krasniqi saw a shot blocked almost immediately by Matt Buse while long-throws from Collinge and a succession of in-swinging corners from George Wilkinson and Krasniqi caused havoc in the Weymouth goalmouth.

Gyasi fizzed the ball across the six-yard box while Collinge saw a 20-yard strike destined for the top corner deflected just past the upright on 53 minutes.

The increasingly influential Gyasi and Luke Baptiste each saw an effort blocked and Collinge fired over from range before Andre Jr was called into rare action at the other end to stop a shot from Goodship just before the hour.

Scott tipped a swerving Krasniqi shot onto the crossbar with Baptiste unable to scramble in the looping rebound while the incessant pressure continued and Scott almost spooned Woods’ shot over his own shoulder and into the net, with Gyasi penalised for his attempts to force the ball over the line.

With 20 minutes remaining Gyasi picked the ball up on the left and drove inside before curling a powerful shot which thudded the base of the far post. He came even closer to a deserved goal four minutes later when sub Jack Nelson (pictured) latched onto a Woods through-ball and played a superb cross across goal where Gyasi recovered and curled a higher shot against the same post from an angle.

The bombardment eventually paid off 15 minutes from time when Jake Goodman flicked on another Collinge long throw and Nelson was lurking at the back post to head home his first Dover goal to spark great scenes in the River End.

Whites could smell blood in the water and Gyasi saw another attempt blocked by Buse and later fired in a low cross which Scott did well to hold at his near post, while with five minutes remaining the imperious Collinge rose highest to meet a Wilkinson corner only to see his header hit the crossbar.

Wilkinson went into the book after appearing to poke the ball away to thwart a Weymouth counter-attack with three minutes of normal time remaining and he was refused treatment and ordered onto his feet by referee Mr Bishop after going down with apparent cramp in the box in the dying seconds.

It was Wilkinson who conceded the crucial penalty deep into the four added minutes, adjudged to have hauled down Blair, despite frenzied appeals from his teammates for an offside in the build-up.

Andre Jr flung himself to his right to deny sub Blair, only for the big forward to tuck home the loose ball to seal Weymouth’s first win in 15 matches, and first on their travels since October, and deny Dover the point they deserved as a bare minimum.

After the final whistle the players and fans joined together in a period of mutual appreciation as the curtain came down on this challenging campaign which nobody associated with the club will ever forget.

Dover: Andre Jr, Moses, Goodman, Ransom, Woods, Collinge, Byford (Nelson 64’), Wilkinson, Baptiste (Nikaj 86’), Krasniqi, Gyasi. Subs not used: Bexon, Wratten, Agbebi.

Scott, Greenwood, McBurnie, Goodship (Bearwish 83’), Mnoga, Robinson, Mampala (Blair 82’), Murray, Buse, Harfield, Carlyle. Subs not used: Mussa, Ash, Bruton.


Whites face fellow relegated side Weymouth in our final National League game of the season at Crabble today.

The Terras, who will finish the season one place above Andy Hessenthaler’s side, arrive in Kent on the back of a 2-1 defeat against visiting Barnet last Saturday.


The last time the two sides met ended in a 1-1 draw in front of the BT Sport cameras at The Bob Lucas Stadium last September.

Koby Arthur’s stunning long-range effort gave Andy Hessenthaler’s side the lead in the 23rd minute.

The Terras equalised thee minutes before half-time when Josh McQuoid slid the ball past goalkeeper Adam Parkes.

Match Stats

Weymouth: Fitzsimons, Cordner, Goodship, Robinson, McQuoid (Bearwish 77′), Mussa, Ash, Brooks (Morgan 90′), Murray, Harfield, Olomowewe

Subs not used: Thomson, Neild, Bruton

Dover: Parkes, Bramble, Williamson, Gregory (Da Costa 86′), Twumasi, Cosgrave (Miller 77′), Ransom, Woods, Tiensia, Arthur (Wood 81′), Collinge

Subs not used: Bexon, Goodman

Attendance: 1,028


Captain Josh McQuoid is leading the way with seven goals in the National League this season while Bradley Ash and Brandon Goodship are both three behind him.

McQuoid will miss the game due to a shoulder injury.


07/05 Weymouth 1-2 Barnet

02/05 Southend United 1-1 Weymouth

26/04 Weymouth 2-4 Solihull Moors


Defender Myles Judd will miss the game due to the knee injury he sustained in the 2-2 draw at Bromley last Saturday.

Young forward George Nikaj has recovered from illness and is back in the matchday squad as is Marshall Wratten who missed the trip to Bromley due to a family bereavement.

Otherwise it is the same squad that made the trip to Hayes Lane last Saturday.


The game kicks off at 3pm but if you are unable to make it, BBC Radio Kent will be providing commentary HERE

We will also have live updates on Twitter – @DAFCLiveText – follow us and get all the news as it happens.


Tickets for this game can be purchased at the turnstile only.

Prices are as follows:

Adults – £18

Over 60 – £15

Under 18 – £9

Under 11s free with paying adult

P&O Ferries employees who were recently made redundant, together with their partners and children, can get in for FREE.

All the details can be found HERE


You can download your digital matchday magazine for the game HERE


The manager, his staff, and his players will do a lap of appreciation after the game before heading to the Centre Spot


Aldershot Town v Wealdstone
Altrincham v Yeovil Town
Barnet v Bromley
Boreham Wood v Solihull Moors
Chesterfield v Woking
Dagenham & Redbridge v Wrexham
Eastleigh v Grimsby Town
Maidenhead United v Notts County
Southend United v Torquay United
Stockport County v FC Halifax Town


Manager Andy Hessenthaler, his first-team coaching/backroom staff, and the playing squad will complete a lap of appreciation following our final National League game of the season against Weymouth at Crabble on Sunday.

All would like to thank you, our loyal fans, and show their gratitude for the tremendous support the team has received both home and away during this campaign.

After the players change, they will all head to the Centre Spot where Jake Goodman will be presented with The Supporters’ Club Player of the Year award before Chairman Jim Parmenter makes a major announcement.

Please join us.



Vice-captain Jake Goodman spoke to BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Gerrard after the 2-2 National League draw at Bromley on Saturday.



Andy Hessenthaler spoke to BBC Radio Kent’s Ben Watts after the 1-0 National League defeat against Notts County at Meadow Lane on Bank Holiday Monday.

Ruben Rodrigues’ 18th-minute goal secured all three points for the hosts to keep them fifth with two games to go.


Who gets your vote for the Player of the Season?

Well, voting will open at Bank Holiday Monday’s game against Woking at Crabble.

Voting forms for the award, which is funded by the Dover Athletic Supporters Club, will be handed out by the turnstile operators.

They will also be given out at the Notts County game at Crabble on April 26th before the winner is announced at the home game against Altrincham on April 30th.

The winner will be presented with his trophy together with a cheque for £250 for the chosen charity of their choice, on the pitch prior to kick-off of our final home game, against Weymouth on May 15th.

Completed voting forms can be handed to a waiting DASC committee member on the way out of the ground or in the voting box in the Centre Spot.



Manager Andy Hessenthaler and his squad are back in action away from home on Friday when they travel to play-off chasing Boreham Wood at Meadow Park (3pm).

The hosts are currently ninth on the National League table, four points out of the play-off places, but with two games in hand.


You can read the hosts preview HERE

You can watch Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard’s pre-match interview  HERE


Luke Garrard’s side left Crabble with all three points last August after Jake Goodman’s first-half own goal proved to be the only goal of the game.

The visitors took the lead four minutes before the break when Ben Williamson’s pass in midfield was charged down.

Jacob Mendy picked up the loose ball and was able to drive forward and spread to Kane Smith on the right and his low centre was agonisingly turned in at his near post by Goodman.

Dover Athletic: Josh Bexon; Seth Twumasi, Danny Collinge, Jake Goodman (Alex Green, 75mins), Sam Wood (C) (Koby Arthur, 61mins); TJ Bramble, Henry Woods, Travis Gregory; Ricky Miller (James Caton, 70mins), Ben Williamson, Aaron Cosgrave. Subs not used: Adam Parkes, Khale Da Costa.

Boreham Wood: Ashmore, Ilesanmi, Ricketts (C), Evans, Fyfield, Rees (Smith, 70mins), Boden, Raymond, Smith, Marsh (Stephens, 90mins), Mendy. Subs not used: Green, Munns, Jallow.


Scott Boden is leading the way with 11 goals in the National League this season.


09/04 Aldershot Town 2-1 Boreham Wood

05/04 Dagenham & Redbridge 0-0 Boreham Wood

02/04 Boreham Wood 0-1 Woking


Myles Judd and Koby Arthur return to the matchday squad after missing last Saturday’s game against Maidenhead United at Crabble through injury.

Young midfielder Luke Baptiste misses the trip following his red card last week.

Ryan Hanson, TJ Bramble (back), and Seth Twumasi (knee) are all back training but are not ready to return to action just yet.

James Caton (hamstring), Alex Green (ankle), and Travis Gregory (knee) all remain on the injured list while young forward Noah Carney has been ruled out for the remainder of the season due to a broken metatarsal.


For fans heading to the game wanting to wear the same shirts as the players, we will be wearing our red shirts.


The game kicks off at 3pm but if you are unable to make the trip, BBC Radio Kent will be providing commentary HERE


You can buy your tickets HERE


Altrincham v FC Halifax Town
Dagenham & Redbridge v Barnet
Eastleigh v Bromley
Grimsby Town v Stockport County
Maidenhead United v Weymouth
Notts County v King’s Lynn Town
Southend United v Wealdstone
Woking v Torquay United
Wrexham v Solihull Moors
Yeovil Town v Aldershot Town


Dover Athletic Football Club is delighted to announce that highly-rated teenage midfielders George Wilkinson and Luke Baptiste have both put pen-to-paper on professional deals with the club.

The Dover Athletic Academy duo, who are both 18, have impressed with their performances for manager Andy Hessenthaler’s squad since making their senior debuts as second-half substitutes in the FA Trophy defeat against Bromley at Crabble last December.

Wilkinson has made 15 National League appearances since making his league debut at Wealdstone in January, scoring once, a stunning effort in the 6-5 defeat at Wrexham last month.

Baptiste got his first start away at FC Halifax Town last month and has appeared four times since then, earning Man-of-the-Match honours in the 1-1 draw with King’s Lynn Town at Crabble earlier this month.

Congratulations George and Luke!!








Andy Hessenthaler spoke to BBC Radio Kent’s Matt Gerrard after the 1-0 National League defeat against Maidenhead United at Crabble on Saturday.

Josh Kelly’s stoppage-time goal denied 10-man Whites a deserved point.

Kelly scrambled the ball home from close range following a corner, despite Dover’s protests for handball being waved away by referee Aji Ajibola.

Mr Ajibola had earlier sent 18-year-old midfielder Luke Baptiste, Man-of-the-Match in the draw against King’s Lynn Town a week earlier, off for a questionable second yellow.