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MAGPIES: Spirited effort from Magpies after nightmare week
DOVER ATHLETIC 1 MAGPIES 0
DESPITE the entire squad being placed on the transfer list and the subsequent exit of Ben Watson and Arran Pugh in the days before the game, the Magpies put up a spirited fight against a Dover team on a run of four successive victories in all competitions.
However, Ricky Modeste’s first-half tap-in after a howler from Alan Walker-Harris was enough for the home team to take all three points.
The visitors were forced into several changes from the side that lost to Shortwood United in the FA Cup.
Ashley Vickers, Dan Way and Jamie Beasley all came into the side in place of the injured Dan Green and recently departed Watson and Pugh.
The release of Tim Sandercombe meant there were only four substitutes, however, among those was Jamie Gleeson following injury.
The departure of leading marksman Watson meant that loan signing Aristide Baselle led the line in a 4-5-1 formation aimed at frustrating their Kent opponents.
The plan appeared to be work-ing for the first half hour as a stubborn defence, led admirably by the 41-year-old Vickers, restricted Dover, though dominant in possession, to very few clear cut chances.
Nathan Elder’s point-blank header from a corner was the only real chance of note, but Walker-Harris was able to hold with ease. The keeper’s handling was impressive as he cut out crosses from Elder and Craig Stone.
But on 32 minutes his failed attempt at catching Barry Cogan’s swirling free-kick from far out resulted in the ball falling to Modeste, who gleefully tapped home for his fourth goal in as many games.
And within minutes winger Tom Murphy slotted home from Elder’s pass to double the lead.
However, referee Ashvin Degnarain controversially pulled play back to award a spot-kick after Elder was scythed down in the area by Steve Walker.
Fortunately for Walker, Elder’s poor penalty was hit straight at Walker-Harrris, who was able to parry the ball away to safety with relative ease to atone for his earlier mistake.
That miss appeared to galvanize the Magpies and on the stroke of half-time the evergreen Vickers evaded his marker but his bullet header was caught by Mitchell Walker.
With a chance to regroup during the break, Gleeson replaced Way in the midfield in the hope that he could inspire the troops.
It almost worked as good link-up play between Mark Jermyn and Baselle ended in Nick Crittenden curling a 20-yard effort goalwards, but Walker was able to dive on the ball to make a routine save.
Normal service resumed soon after as Dover gained control back, but they will no doubt be disappointed not to have finished the game off after numerous chances were squandered in the last 20 minutes.
Modeste’s cheeky back heel from substitute Elliot Charles’ cross was directed off target and Charles’ close-range downward header amazingly bounced off the turf and over the cross bar after a great run and cross by fellow sub Moses Ademola.
It was clearly not to be Charles’ day as moments later he failed to connect with Ademola’s devilish ball across goal following a quick counter as Dorch-ester tried to find a leveller.
Dover had one more chance of note as Cogan’s jinking run and drive was well blocked by Walker-Harris in injury time.
Dorchester almost snatched an unlikely point at the death when the otherwise quiet Bassele evaded a Sean Raggett challenge but Josh Wakefield’s looping header was not strong enough to beat Walker.
This latest defeat keeps Dorchester languishing in last place in the Skrill South with four points and five away from safety.
Dover: Walker, Stone, Wynter, Raggett, Orlu, Kinnear, Rogers, Modeste (Bellamy 79), Cogan, Elder (Charles 67), Murphy (Ademola 67). Subs not used: Kamara, Carew.
Magpies: Walker-Harris, Jermyn, Martin, Wakefield, Walker, Vickers, Crittenden, Smeeton, Baselle, Way (Gleeson 45), Beasley (Twyford 76). Subs not used: Rolls, Brooks.
Bookings: Dover – Raggett, Rogers.
Dorchester – Martin, Vickers, Bassele.
Referee: Ashvin Degnarain
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