By Alex Hoad
Another Aaron Cosgrave rocket was not enough to prevent Dover falling to a third straight home defeat, going down 2-1 to Barnet in Vanarama National League on Saturday.
The on-loan AFC Wimbledon striker added another impressive long-range strike to his showreel to register his 4th goal of the campaign, but it wasn’t enough to prevent an 8th loss in 11 matches.
Whites remain 17 points from safety – thanks in large part to the league-imposed 12 point penalty – despite netting at Crabble for the second time in 4 days having begun the season with no goal in four matches at Crabble.
Barnet began the day second-bottom but made it four games unbeaten under caretaker boss Dean Brennan and climbed to 17th after another improved display.
The Bees thought they were ahead inside 90 seconds when the lively Ephron Mason-Clark fed Daniel Powell down the right and his low cross was slammed home by Mason Bloomfield, only for the goal to be disallowed for offside.Koby Arthur saw a shot deflected over the bar from 20-yards soon after, but the deadlock was eventually broken on 10 minutes as Mason-Clark drove towards the byline before sending a deep cross to the back post.
Ben Richards-Everton nodded the ball back into the centre where Bloomfield arched his neck to turn a close range header past the helpless Adam Parkes.
Whites battled back and Arthur drew a flying save from Aston Oxborough, who also turned a low Matt Bentley effort around his near post on 23 minutes.
The all-energy Cosgrave was inches away from a leveler when he flung himself at Sam Wood’s looping set-piece just before the half-hour, only to see his header trickle past the post with Oxborough stranded.
Powell flew down the left and fired a shot past the post before the break while 10 minutes after the interval, Rob Hall showed some superb trickery to create space before seeing a near-post shot blocked by Parkes.
After scoring the opener, Bloomfield turned provider for the crucial second just before the hour, threading a defence-splitting pass for Powell to run through and slot past Parkes.
Dover did halve the deficit five minutes later when the tireless Cosgrave fizzed a rocket just inside the post from well outside the box – reminiscent of his breathtaking strike at Altrincham.
Andy Hessenthaler introduced Ricky Miller and Khale Da Costa in an effort to salvage a point and Da Costa sent a diving header straight at Oxborough from a deep Miller cross with 20 minutes remaining.
Hall saw a shot blocked by Parkes and Bees sub Kian Flanagan could only find the side-netting on the break in the closing stages while Jake Goodman’s glancing header in stoppage-time went straight to the grateful keeper as Dover fell to a sixth one-goal defeat of the season so far.