The Aspect Arena
Concord Rangers v Dover Athletic
A STUNNING free-kick from Inih Effiong sent Athletic through to the FA Cup first round proper, though Andy Hessenthaler’s men left it late to seal their place in Monday night’s draw.
The big striker curled home from 25-yards, his third goal in two games, in an evenly matched contest at the Aspect Arena on Saturday afternoon.
And hosts Concord were inches away from forcing a replay in dramatic fashion when Tyrone Sterling headed against the crossbar deep into injury time.
But Whites valiantly held on to seal their first competitive away win on the road since April this year.
The first opportunity of the game fell the way of the home team, but Alex Wall was unable to direct his header from a free-kick anywhere other than at visiting keeper Mitch Walker.
And Effiong almost carried on where he left off last weekend at the other end, swivelling and blasting at the legs of Sam Beasant in the Concord goal.
From the resultant corner, Mitch Brundle curled goalwards from 25-yards, only for Beasant to pluck the ball from underneath the crossbar.
And Dover’s next chance fell the way of Nortei Nortey.
The midfielder sprinted onto Effiong’s flick-on and bore down on goal, but his final shot flew the wrong side of the post.
Effiong placed a volley wide after latching onto Brundle’s ball over the top and at the other end, Tosan Popo was twice denied by last-ditch blocks from Josh Debayo and Kevin Lokko.
Claims of a shirt pull on Connor Essam in the home penalty area were also waved away by referee Paul Howard in the closing stages of the first-half.
Following the restart, Lokko’s close-range header was well held by Beasant and Danny Green’s wicked free-kick flashed by every Rangers in the penalty area.
And Lokko was inches away from giving Whites the lead.
The defender flicked Brundle’s cross towards goal, only to look up and see the ball bounce agonisingly wide.
A swift counter-attack involving Jamie Allen and Effiong ended with Brundle smashing an effort right down the throat of Beasant.
And Whites were almost out of the FA Cup altogether when Jack Midson nodded a corner off target.
But instead, Whites secured their space in Monday night’s draw thanks to Effiong’s late winner.
Earlier, Boss Hessenthaler made one change to the side that started at Harrogate last weekend with Nortey replacing the suspended Anthony Jeffrey.
Whites next travel to Essex for their National League fixture at Braintree Town on Saturday 27th October, kick-off 3 pm.
DOVER ATHLETIC REACTION
CONCORD RANGERS REACTION