Manager Mitch Brundle claimed a Dover player who had been set to start failed to show up for their defeat at Farnborough.
Second-bottom Whites suffered their sixth National League South loss of the season last weekend, going down 4-0 at Cherrywood Road.
Ricky Holmes, who agreed to join Dover in the summer as player-assistant - but then U-turned on that decision and returned to Farnborough - was among the hosts’ scorers while Whites midfielder Iffy Allen was shown a straight red card in the final stages.
Defender Jacob Mensah was sidelined with concussion and the no-show meant young midfielder Luke Baptiste played in a makeshift defence, although Brundle stopped short of naming the player.
“I didn’t see it coming,” said Brundle in an interview to the club’s media team.
“I know we have been conceding goals - but we have been scoring.
“We set up a game plan and had a spell where I think we had four corners in a row and a couple of chances. But we conceded straight away after that and conceded a stupid penalty, and we’re going in 2-0 at half-time.
“Obviously, we missed Jacob. He has got concussion and we had a player who didn’t turn up - who was meant to be in the starting XI.
“So, straight from the off, it wasn’t ideal. I think people deserve to know. We were missing Jacob and had someone ready to start, and they’ve not turned up.
“Straight away, it messes with your mind because you set up a plan. But that’s not the reason why we lost.
“That would be the easy way out but they were the better team.”
Before the game at Farnborough, Dover had lost only twice in eight matches. But they remain on a single league win this term.
Brundle added: “They penetrated us and punished us with their runs.
“I don’t think many people saw it coming. They were expecting a tough game - and we didn’t give it to them. Sometimes, in football, that can happen.
“We weren’t clinical up front, the ball didn’t stick up front, we didn’t penetrate down the sides, they were first to every ball and it just wasn’t a good performance. I’ll have to go back and watch it now because I just didn’t see it coming.
“I thought we were really starting to get into a rhythm. But maybe we have been papering over a couple of cracks with seven draws in the league.
“Did we go about it in the right way? I think in the first half, in certain aspects, yes.
“But, obviously, once you go one or 2-0 down, we were trying to chase it. If it becomes 3-0 or 4-0, it doesn’t make any difference - apart from on the goal difference. You’ve got to try and go for it. I don’t want to sit back and accept being 2-0 down.
“We just didn’t click and we didn’t look like the side we have done over the past few weeks, which is so frustrating because, over the last few weeks, we have done so well.
“We know what we’re missing. We’re missing one or two to add to the squad. We’ll keep trying and we will get there.”
Whites had been due to visit Isthmian South East Beckenham last night but the Kent Senior Cup clash was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.
Dover host Hampton & Richmond in the league this Saturday and also are in Crabble action against Welling United on Tuesday.
When the teams met at Crabble in the league in September, the visitors won 3-1.
Midfielder Henry Young, 18, is available after a three-game ban but Allen will now be suspended.