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Dover Athletic 3 Eastleigh 1: Manager Andy Hessenthaler hails much-improved home performance

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler isn't getting carried away after his team took a step towards amending their poor home form on Tuesday.

A brace from Inih Effiong and Oscar Gobern's strike earned Whites a 3-1 win over Eastleigh - their first victory at Crabble since they beat Wrexham 2-1 on August 10.

Hessenthaler is now keen to see his side kick on with the composure they displayed during last season's fight for National League survival.

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler. Picture:Chris Davey
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler. Picture:Chris Davey

He said: "The fans have been great, I think we just have to stay calm sometimes.

"I can stay calm and not panic. If we started panicking last year then we wouldn't have got out of the position we were in.

"It's only one result, we've got to now follow it up."

While calling for level heads, Hessenthaler didn't shy from praising a dominant home performance in which his players hassled, unnerved and frightened Eastleigh's unorganised defence for much of the evening.

Dover's summer signings were particularly impressive having endured tough starts to life at the club, with Steven Rigg teasing some fine link-up play with Effiong up top and Jack Munns, Michael Woods and Gobern controlling the midfield.

Hessenthaler continued: "We set a stall out tonight in terms of playing in their own half and out of possession we pressed the football.

"I made some changes and we went back to the shape we played a lot last season with Jai Reason playing in behind the front two and a narrow midfield three with Oscar Gobern, who did well considering he's been out for a long time, Woodsy (Michael Woods) and then Munnsy (Jack Munns) in there.

"It was all about the energy tonight, we needed to get back on track and I think we did that tonight."

The hosts weathered a step up in attacking intent from Eastleigh early in the second half, which saw Tyrone Barnett pull a goal back to make it 2-1 with a well-placed header from a corner.

Depleted by injuries, Eastleigh's make-shift back four always looked like conceding another and it was Effiong who wrapped up the points from the spot after Gobern had been pulled down.

"They've (Eastleigh) got a few injury problems and lost a lot of centre halves," added Hessenthaler.

"They lost the lad that normally played right-back so unfortunately they've picked up a few injuries.

"In the end we nearly shot ourselves in the foot because we didn't take the opportunities that we did create.

"Second half we had opportunities as well, I didn't like us as much second half with the way we started, it became a bit stretched and they took a few risks and all of a sudden they get back into the game.

"Then you become a little bit nervous.

"We got the penalty, I think it was a pen, and Inih scores it, he could have had a hat-trick tonight.

"All in all it was a really good performance under pressure really because we need to start producing at home."

Inih Effiong competes for the ball against Halifax. Picture: Chris Davey
Inih Effiong competes for the ball against Halifax. Picture: Chris Davey

Hessenthaler also highlighted the influence of Gobern against his old club following a lengthy spell on the sidelines.

He said: "Oscar has been missing for a while and hasn't really got going since he's been here because of injuries and he's played left-back a few times.

"We know he's a good player, he's played at a good level and if you look at them three in midfield plus Jai Reason there is good experience in there."

The win moves Dover back up to 11th in the table and just three points behind seventh-placed Notts County, not to mention just nine points off leaders Bromley.

"It's mental," said Hessenthaler.

"It's so tight, you just need to get on a run and then you start creeping up the table.

"We need to get back to that consistency now and get on a run ourselves like we did last year."

Dover head up to Fylde on Saturday before hosting Southend United in the FA Cup the following weekend.

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