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Dover Athletic 0 Aldershot Town 5 match report

By Joe Harbert

Dover slipped to their third defeat in the space of a week after they were thrashed by Aldershot at Crabble on Tuesday night.

Whites were ultimately made to pay for a clinical first-half performance by the visitors, as Andy Hessenthaler’s men were constantly left exposed on the counter attack.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Keith Gillard (42688031)
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Keith Gillard (42688031)

The hosts started the game largely unchanged from Saturday’s defeat at Stockport County - striker Ahkeem Rose replacing Bilel Hinchiri in the Whites line-up.

However, Dover were under the cosh almost immediately from an energetic and fluid Aldershot. Both Mo Bettamer and Craig Tanner foreshadowed what was to come with good efforts inside the opening five minutes.

Yet the Crabble outfit fought hard with their opponents for the rest of the game’s opening stages, with the likes of Ade Azeez and Steve Riggs looking most likely.

Nevertheless, it was Aldershot that broke the deadlock. A corner from the visitors on 31 minutes eventually proved too much for the Dover defence to handle, as a failure to clear their lines saw Harrison Panayiotou tap in after James Rowe’s cross created too much confusion.

Danny Searle’s outfit then doubled their advantage just three minutes later. A terrific counter attack allowed Bettamer to brilliantly drill the ball to to the left of Josh Bexon and give the stranded keeper no chance.

Despite Azeez then coming close to halving the deficit straightaway with a shot that went just wide, Josh Rees ended any hopes of a Dover revival in stoppage time just prior to the interval.

The former Gillingham and Bromley midfielder was on hand to fire home from close range after Bexon parried an initial effort inside the area.

With the damage virtually all done as a result, Aldershot sat back and allowed the home side to have more of the ball when the second half resumed.

Yet once again, Dover found it difficult to break through a resolute defence as Hessenthaler’s team seemed void of ideas.

Aldershot still remained potent on the break, and they got their fourth and undoubtedly best goal of the night on 58 minutes.

Rees again got himself on the scoresheet as his clever build-up play with Alfy Whittingham brilliantly sliced open the Dover defence, and the former duly tucked the ball past Bexon.

Hessenthaler subsequently brought on TJ Bramble, Marshall Wratten and Louis Collins but it was to no avail.

Depleted Whites' misery was soon completed when Aldershot made it 5-0 with just five minutes left on the clock. Again on the counter, they once more attacked the Dover defence in pace and with numbers, and Bettamer netted the icing on the cake when his deflected shot left Bexon no chance, sparking jubilant scenes from the away dugout.

Dover will no doubt look to bounce back quickly when they travel to Torquay on Saturday, as they hunt for their first points on the road this season.

Dover: Bexon, Ekpiteta, Moses, De Havilland, Wood, Gobern, Rose (Collins 72mins), Rigg (Wratten 63mins), Munns (Bramble 63mins), Gregory, Azeez. Subs not used: Mersin, Cumberbatch.

Aldershot: Walker, Fowler, Finney (Lyon-Foster 54mins), Sendles-White, Rowe (Edser 78mins), Rees, Bettamer, Panayiotou (McCormack 87mins), Whittingham, Ogie, Tanner. Subs not used: Nouble, Wylie.

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