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Dover Athletic 2 Stockport County 5 match report: Whites beaten despite goals from Ben Williamson and Koby Arthur

Dover Athletic lost a seven-goal thriller to Stockport in the National League on Saturday.

The visitors led at half-time after goals from Scott Quigley and highly-experienced frontman Paddy Madden, despite Ben Williamson's penalty for the hosts.

Dover striker Ben Williamson scored his first goal for the club in their defeat to Stockport. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover striker Ben Williamson scored his first goal for the club in their defeat to Stockport. Picture: Andy Jones

Koby Arthur brilliantly equalised for bottom side Dover after the restart but goals from Oliver Crankshaw, captain Liam Hogan and substitute Ben Whitfield earned Stockport the points.

There were good signs from Andy Hessenthaler’s men inside the first 10 minutes despite their winless start to the season.

It was Stockport who had the first chance, though. Madden tried his luck on 11 minutes, although his strike was easily saved by home goalkeeper Adam Parkes.

Soon after, the hosts responded as the ball fell kindly to top scorer Aaron Cosgrave and he set up Arthur whose strike was deflected over. From the resulting corner, the ball found its way to defender Reda Johnson who headed over the bar at the far post from a matter of yards out.

Stockport keeper Ethan Ross, a former Maidstone loanee, was called into action on 20 minutes, saving Ryan Hanson’s effort.

But midway through the first half, the visitors - who were led by interim manager Dave Conlon following the departure of boss Simon Rusk in the week - broke the deadlock against the run of play.

Striker Quigley appeared to claim the goal after his shot deflected off a Dover defender and, with Parkes already committed, there was little he could do as the ball trickled into the other corner of the net.

However Whites levelled in the 32nd minute as they were awarded a penalty by referee Daniel Lamport after Hanson was brought down by Ethan Pye. Captain Williamson sent Ross the wrong way for his first Dover goal.

Five minutes later, the home side threatened again and almost took the lead. Williamson dug out a cross following a free-kick, and defender Danny Collinge headed towards goal but he was thwarted brilliantly by a defender from point-blank range.

Stockport retook the lead on 42 minutes when a John Rooney corner fell to Madden at the back post and he drilled past Parkes to find the bottom corner.

In first-half stoppage-time, Parkes made a big save to keep Dover just the one goal behind, denying Crankshaw after a fine through-ball from recent Stockport addition Antoni Sarcevic.

Striker Cosgrave flashed a dangerous ball across the face of Stockport’s goal, seconds into the second half.

Whites then levelled for a second time through a piece of brilliance from Arthur, five minutes after the restart. A long free-kick from the halfway line went high in the air and, as it dropped, it was superbly volleyed in by the playmaker from the edge of the area.

Stockport’s Rooney attempted to replicate something his older brother, Manchester United legend Wayne, has done once or twice as he tried his luck from the halfway line. His strike appeared to have beaten Parkes but crashed against the crossbar on 55 minutes.

With both sides pushing for a potentially crucial fifth goal at Crabble, Ross got down well to deny Dover substitute Travis Gregory.

But County went ahead on 68 minutes. Parkes initially did well to deny Rooney, although Crankshaw was on hand to find the empty net.

Stockport opened up a two-goal lead 14 minutes from time as Hogan headed home a Ryan Rydel corner at the far post.

In the latter stages, the away team looked much more settled after an uneasy week for them and they could have easily further extended their advantage.

Indeed Whitfield did round off the victory in the dying seconds, as he slotted home a Quigley pass after a good team move.

Dover had, however, more than played their part in an entertaining match which easily could have gone very differently had they scored the all-important fifth goal.

The result leaves Stockport ninth, four points outside the play-offs, while hapless Dover sit bottom - still 17 points from safety.

Whites made two changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Yate in the FA Cup on Tuesday.

Midfielder TJ Bramble missed out through suspension and Gregory dropped to the bench, with player-coach Johnson and Yannis Drais coming into the team. Striker Ricky Miller, who has been suffering with illness, missed out again.

Before kick-off, there was a minute’s silence for former Dover head gateman Keith Hughes who died, aged 79, following a battle with cancer.

Dover: Parkes, Tiensia, Twumasi, Ransom, Collinge, Johnson (Gregory 46mins), Hanson, Arthur (Da Costa 85mins), Drais (Bentley 74mins), Cosgrave, Williamson. Subs not used: Bexon, Wood.

Stockport: Ross, Hogan, Rooney, Madden, Keane, Rydel, Croasdale (Reid 89mins), Quigley, Sarcevic (Collar 84mins), Crankshaw (Whitfield 74mins), Pye. Subs not used: Hinchliffe, Kitching.

Referee: Daniel Lamport.

Attendance: 635.

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