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Dover Athletic 1 FC Halifax Town 3 match report: Whites lose again in the National League despite Ben Williamson's goal

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Dover lost to promotion-chasing FC Halifax Town in the National League on Saturday as their awful season continued.

Halifax’s top scorer Billy Waters broke the deadlock early on before striker Ben Williamson gave the home fans hope as he equalised at Crabble as the game headed towards the final stages.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones

But Kieran Green made it 2-1 to the visitors while Waters was also able to get his team’s third and his second of the encounter in the final minutes of normal time to pile more misery on winless Dover, despite another plucky performance.

The first opportunity fell to Andy Hessenthaler’s men with eight minutes played as midfielder Ryan Hanson headed inches wide after a smart free-kick routine saw on-loan Millwall defender Junior Tiensia put the ball in the box.

But Halifax immediately broke straight down the other end, with Waters opening the scoring. He slotted past home goalkeeper Adam Parkes despite offside appeals from the Dover contingent.

Midway through the first period, Parkes made a fine save to prevent the Shaymen from doubling their advantage. Green met midfielder Matty Warburton’s corner, only for the Watford loanee to do really well to push the ball away from danger.

Four minutes before half-time, Gregory - fresh from scoring his first goal of the season at Torquay - again went close as he drilled wide a Henry Woods corner from just inside the area.

More good work from Gregory two minutes later saw him win possession on the left before he forced a save from Halifax's goalkeeper Sam Johnson with his shot from a tight angle as the hosts trailed at the interval once more in a familiar tale for Dover this season.

The Whites started brightly after the restart, although they still were struggling to find a way through the league’s meanest defence which had conceded only 11 league goals prior to kick-off.

Halifax hit the Whites on the counter-attack which led to Kian Spence drilling in a right-wing cross, only for hitman Waters to head the ball over the bar on 56 minutes.

Just before the hour, the Shaymen again went close as Jesse Debrah found himself free in the penalty area but nodded wide before Parkes made himself big to thwart Jack Vale.

Vale’s replacement, Elliot Newby, then should have done much better with 65 minutes played, firing wide after another Halifax break.

Tyrell Warren was the next to try his luck for Halifax who were looking to double their advantage and effectively end the contest. Parkes made another fine save to thwart Warren, though.

With 72 minutes played, as the visitors continued to threaten, centre midfielder Green glanced inches wide.

But Dover equalised in front of the crowd of 595 with 14 minutes to play. A long throw fell kindly to captain-for-the-day Williamson who stabbed into the net, much to the jubilation of the home supporters.

Just four minutes later, however, the Whites were hit with a sucker-punch. Green heading a Newby corner past Parkes to re-establish Halifax's lead.

Waters sealed Halifax’s victory two minutes from time, as he scored his second of the game - his 12th this season - meeting the ball at the far post.

It is 12 league losses this term for basement boys Dover, who play Wealdstone on Tuesday night, while Halifax move a place up to fifth in the table.

There was a one-minute silence before kick-off in memory of Andy Fisher. The Whites announced the death of the fan and long-serving committee member of the Dover Athletic Supporters’ Club this week after his battle with cancer.

Hessenthaler made one change from the side which lost 2-1 at Torquay last weekend, despite Gregory’s effort.

Injured player-coach Reda Johnson, who has a thigh strain, was replaced by Harry Ransom.

Academy striker Noah Carney was named on the bench but he didn’t come on.

For Halifax, ex-Whites man Jamie Allen missed out through an ankle injury.

Dover: Parkes, Bramble, Goodman, Williamson, Cosgrave (Bentley 82mins), Ransom, Gregory, Woods (Caton 69mins), Tiensia, Collinge, Hanson. Subs not used: Bexon, Wood and Carney.

FC Halifax Town: Johnson, Warren, Debrah, Maher, Senior, Spence (Summerfield 69mins), Green, Warburton (Gilmour 77mins), Waters, Slew, Vale (Newby 61mins). Sub not used: Swaby-Neavin.

Ref: Lloyd Wood.

Attendance: 595.

Read more: All the latest sports news from Kent

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