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Dover Athletic manager Chris Kinnear says Whites can take heart from performance in 2-1 defeat to Cheltenham Town

Despite their heartbreaking defeat to Cheltenham, Chris Kinnear says Dover can take confidence from outplaying the title favourites.

Dover allowed a late lead to slip to a 2-1 defeat in the final three minutes at Crabble on Sunday and the Whites boss insists it is part of a learning curve for his team in their second season in Vanarama National Premier.

Kinnear said: “I am really pleased with how good we looked really, we showed we’re a good side and hopefully the lads take something from that.

Chris Kinnear. Picture: Tony Flashman.
Chris Kinnear. Picture: Tony Flashman.

"For 87 minutes we were the better side, it just came out of the blue.” 

The game swung when Aswad Thomas’ leg swung into sub James Dayton in the Dover box, with Danny Wright despatching the subsequent penalty past Andy Rafferty, who was beaten again less than 60 seconds later when a low Dayton cross found Wright at the back-post to slam home.

Kinnear said: “When you’re at the top you get that bit of luck. The lad that came on and won the penalty and put the cross in for the winning goal was the substitute for their substitute who got injured. It’s the way it is.

“I don’t think Aswad saw him, he just had to clear it but the fella ran across the front of him as he was trying to clear it.”

He added: “Nick scored a brilliant goal and there wasn’t anyone who didn’t do well for us. If it had been an 87 minute game, which it’s not, we’d have won quite convincingly, but that’s the way it goes.

“Maybe we were still trying to push forward too much, the lads get carried away, 1-0 and throwing people up at corners but it’s part of the learning process for them.

“It’s very disappointing for everybody but we just have to move on.”

Dover chairman Jim Parmenter bemoaned the officiating on the day but Kinnear added: “We don’t get a lot of refereeing decisions in general, but if we defend properly at the end and don’t give away the penalty we win 1-0 and there’s no arguments. 

“Afterwards (Cheltenham) were saying ‘sorry about that, we’ve stolen it off you,’ but that’s the way it goes.”


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