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Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler says Whites must put Gateshead defeat behind them

By Mark Stokes

Andy Hessenthaler says Dover’s players can’t afford to dwell on Saturday’s crushing late defeat to Gateshead.

Whites led through Kevin Lokko’s early goal until the final 12 minutes and were just 30 seconds from a draw when Greg Olley headed home to give the visitors a 2-1 win.

Victory at Crabble would have lifted Dover three places to 16th on a day when no other National League games went ahead, but boss Hessenthaler says they’ve got to move on.

Dover's Jai Reason in action during the 2-1 defeat to Gateshead Picture: Alan Langley
Dover's Jai Reason in action during the 2-1 defeat to Gateshead Picture: Alan Langley

He said: “To lose the game was heartbreaking for the boys because they put enough effort in and they’ve been doing that.

“Their assistant apologised to me when he shook my hand, saying ‘We’ve nicked it off you’.

“It was a sucker punch but that happens in football. Effort-wise I can’t fault them.

“We can’t let it affect us, that’s what I would say. It’s a disappointing day but we’ve got to focus now and look at bouncing back next week.

“We’ve got to come in next week and try to put it behind us and get back on another unbeaten run.”

Hessenthaler said his team should not lose sight of the fact that they have still only lost twice in the last 12 matches.

The Gateshead defeat was also their first in seven home league games but they have a chance to get another run going on Saturday when they host Harrogate.

The northerners beat Whites 2-1 in the FA Trophy last month and Hessenthaler expects a good contest.

Andy Hessenthaler and coach Nicky Southall look on against Gateshead Picture: Alan Langley
Andy Hessenthaler and coach Nicky Southall look on against Gateshead Picture: Alan Langley

He added: “It’s football. You get kicked in the teeth sometimes and we’ve got to deal with it and we’ve got to show the character that we can bounce back from it.

“We can’t afford to go on a bad run. We’ve given ourselves a chance, the position we’re in, we can’t rely on other teams. We’ve got to rely on ourselves.

“We’ve got enough characters in there and that’s what we’ll speak during the week about.

“We’ve got to go again and it doesn’t get any easier when you’ve got the likes of Harrogate, at home, and then Salford away.

“None of the games get any easier but everybody will be saying the same, the teams that are down there.

“You’re not going to have points given to you, you’ve got to earn them.

“Harrogate are pushing for the play-offs and Salford are pushing for promotion but we don’t fear anybody.

“They’re two good games. Harrogate came here, we’ve seen what they’ve got, it’s not going to be easy. Their movement is very good and they’ll cause you problems.”

Bedsente Gomis serves the last match of his three-game suspension while Josh Passley (hamstring) remains the only injury concern.

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