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Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler says victory over Southend United is one of his FA Cup career highlights

Andy Hessenthaler says Dover’s superb FA Cup win over Southend on Sunday ranks highly against his other achievements in the competition.

The Whites boss has enjoyed a string of memorable FA occasions, most notably at Gillingham where he was involved in big games against Premier League giants Chelsea and Arsenal.

Dover’s 1-0 win over Southend was their first against League 1 opposition and Hessenthaler – who was named National League manager-of-the-week on Tuesday – admitted his only regret was that he was not playing!

Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler acknowledges the Crabble fans on Sunday Picture: Tony Flashman.
Dover Athletic manager Andy Hessenthaler acknowledges the Crabble fans on Sunday Picture: Tony Flashman.

He said: “It’s up there. I’ve had some really good times as a manager, the Arsenal game (2002), as a player-manager, the Chelsea quarter-final (2000) as a player, but it’s right up there.

“It’s FA Cup day, I’ve always said I love this competition.

“I woke up very excited, I wanted to be a player to be fair, that’s what I wanted to be this morning.

“I didn’t really want to be a manager today, I wanted to be a player and I was envious of those boys out there.

“We worked so hard this week in training, we knew what we had to do and fair play to the boys they produced that.”

Hessenthaler admitted that he had fancied his side to pull off a shock against the League 1 strugglers, but did worry that the goal wouldn’t come as chances went begging.

Dover celebrate Ruel Sotiriou's winning goal against Southend Picture: Tony Flashman
Dover celebrate Ruel Sotiriou's winning goal against Southend Picture: Tony Flashman

He said: “The longer the game goes on you’re thinking for all our good play, and getting into the final third, we haven’t tested their keeper enough.

“The best chance came to Nassim (L’Ghoul), with his header and the keeper saved it.

“Inih (Effiong) put one over the bar but in the end it was a real bit of quality from Ruel (Sotiriou).

“It was a tight angle, to score from there, but I saw him do it in training the day before and when I saw him get it I thought go and be as positive as you were in training.

“It was a great strike, a great finish.”

Monday’s draw – where Whites were represented by assistant boss Nicky Southall and coach Darren Hare – handed Dover an away tie against either Stevenage or Peterborough.

Those sides meet in a replay at London Road on Tuesday, November 19, with the second round tie due be played over the weekend of November 30.

Before that, Whites return to action in the National League starting with another televised clash, at Yeovil on Saturday (kick-off 5.20pm).

FA Cup hero Sotiriou misses out because he is away playing for Cyprus under-21s, while midfielder Jai Reason – man-of-the-match against Southend – is ruled out by suspension.

Hessenthaler had thought Reason’s five league bookings would rule him out of the cup clash but the ban kicks in this weekend instead.

Winger Ricky Modeste is another who is unavailable as he is on international duty with Grenada.

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