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Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler delivers message to fans ahead of FC Halifax clash

By Cameron Hogwood

Andy Hessenthaler has urged Dover Athletic fans to stay behind the team amid its efforts to evade relegation from the National League.

Nerves understandably loomed over Crabble during Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Boreham Wood on the back of a third stoppage-time defeat since the start of February in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Hartlepool.

Late drama threatened to hurt Dover again when goalkeeper Lee Worgan watched a header loop onto his crossbar in the dying minutes of the game.

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler thanks fans. Picture: Alan Langley. (6246601)
Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler thanks fans. Picture: Alan Langley. (6246601)

"They've had a tough time," Hessenthaler admitted.

"They were there with us when we only had seven points and we've now got 40 to give ourselves a fighting chance, they probably didn't think we could do that.

"They looked a bit nervous and I get that but they're good fans and they'll stick with us.

"Get right behind us," Hessenthaler added in a message to the Dover faithful.

"We need the fans. Keep fighting. They couldn't fault the boys on Tuesday, they had a go but just couldn't find that quality at the end."

The team's result last time out invited Havant to chisel down the deficit between themselves and Whites to just two points with their win over Dagenham.

Hessenthaler's side are now scheduled to host an FC Halifax outfit that are unbeaten in six league outings.

"It's a tough game, they don't concede many goals but it's a game we need to get three points from," said Hessenthaler.

"I'd like to think three wins, four would be nice, to take us to the 50 point mark would be enough but it's going to be nip and tuck.

"There are about five or six teams that can still go down at the moment.

"They're going to make it difficult for us, they know we're under pressure and fighting for our lives. It's a game we need to win and I believe we will win."

Mitch Brundle celebrates his goal against Braintree earlier in the month. Picture: Alan Langley. (7523516)
Mitch Brundle celebrates his goal against Braintree earlier in the month. Picture: Alan Langley. (7523516)

Such has been Halifax's stern approach at the back that they have shipped just two goals in their last 10 league games.

They enter this weekend's fixture looking to do the double over Dover having edged a 1-0 win when the two sides met in November.

Dover will meanwhile be boosted by the fact just four points separate them from 16th placed, vindicating the wide-open battle Hessenthaler alludes to.

Discussing his survival hopes, he added: "I'm always confident. If it doesn't happen it's not life and death.

"We'll go back and get on with our work and go again. We'll be fighting until the very end."

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