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Dover Athletic 1 Tonbridge Angels 2 match report: Midfielder Jordan Higgs scores on Crabble return; Francis Mampolo gets winner after Dover captain Jacob Mensah’s first-half goal

Jordan Higgs scored against his former club as Tonbridge completed a National League South double over Kent rivals Dover for the season on Tuesday.

Midfielder Higgs gave Angels the lead and, although stand-in skipper Jacob Mensah got basement boys Dover level before half-time, Francis Mampolo earned the all-important third goal in the second period after Whites keeper Daniel Jinadu’s mistake, with it finishing 2-1.

Tonbridge manager Jay Saunders – completed a derby double over Dover with a 2-1 win at Crabble on Tuesday. Picture: David Couldridge
Tonbridge manager Jay Saunders – completed a derby double over Dover with a 2-1 win at Crabble on Tuesday. Picture: David Couldridge

The result moved Whites another step towards a second relegation in three seasons while it boosted Jay Saunders’ side’s play-off hopes.

Iffy Allen had blazed over for the hosts inside the first 90 seconds at Crabble on a wet and windy night in front of a 455-strong crowd.

Dover striker George Nikaj also had a couple of early half-chances but twice struggled to get his shot away.

Jake Leberl’s troops again went close when a 10th-minute shot by midfielder George Wilkinson cracked against the crossbar before home penalty appeals were turned down as Tonbridge keeper Jonny Henly gathered the loose ball.

But, six minutes later, the visitors struck first with their opening chance of note. A right-wing delivery fell to Higgs, who was at Dover last term, and his shot was deflected past on-loan Maidenhead goalkeeper Jinadu for just the 26-year-old’s third goal of the season.

Dover manager Jake Leberl – now has suffered four defeats in his last five fixtures. Picture: Tony Flashman
Dover manager Jake Leberl – now has suffered four defeats in his last five fixtures. Picture: Tony Flashman

Henly had to be alert to deny forward Luke Baptiste and his opposite number Jinadu was called upon moments later to thwart Ebbsfleet loanee forward Nathan Odokonyero.

Jinadu was required once more just before the half-hour mark, getting down low to save from Angels’ young on-loan AFC Wimbledon winger Paris Lock - who was with Whites earlier in the campaign - from doubling the away team’s advantage.

Tonbridge captain Scott Wagstaff fed Mampolo, now on dual registration with Isthmian Premier Margate, who shot well wide after he had cut inside from the left on 37 minutes. Jinadu tipped wide after another effort by the same player.

But Dover equalised just before half-time. A free-kick from the right led to a goalmouth scramble and stand-in skipper Mensah bundled past Henly for his first goal this season.

The visitors nearly retook the lead immediately from kick-off, only for Jinadu to save smartly to ensure Whites, perhaps fortunately, were level at the break.

There was an extended stoppage in play early in the second half as Angels defender Kodi Lyons-Foster got whacked on the neck from home midfielder Freddie Oliver’s challenge.

But an error by Jinadu, who had looked solid until that point, then proved costly on 52 minutes. He flapped at a right-wing cross and Mampolo was able to find the empty net for the away team’s second.

Five minutes later, two almost became three for Tonbridge. Lock jinxed around Jinadu and Odokonyero shot, only for Watford loanee defender Scott Holding to clear off the line.

A quiet spell ensued until Dover substitute Nick Dembele was cautioned after he clattered into keeper Henly.

Jinadu saved from Mampolo with 13 minutes to play, with the visitors looking fairly comfortable at this stage, before striker Zidan Sutherland came on for Charlie Naylor as the home side chased an equaliser.

The 86th minute saw Whites’ Wilkinson deliver a dangerous set-piece amid a succession of corners, albeit Tonbridge just about hacked away, while a visiting defender bravely cleared to deny Holding a certain goal from yards out.

Two minutes later, Wilkinson whipped in another free-kick from the left but Holding poked into the side-netting at the far post.

Henly then got behind Sutherland’s strike well in the third minute of stoppage time, Angels bouncing back from last Saturday’s 1-0 home loss to Worthing.

Whites made three changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Torquay last weekend. Roman Charles-Cook, Allen and Baptiste came in for John Oyenuga - who had previously played in every single game this season - James Dunne and Dembele.

A single switch by Angels meant Mampolo replaced Jamie Fielding after Mampolo had played for Margate in their 2-0 weekend defeat to Bognor.

When the teams met at Longmead, Tonbridge had edged to a 1-0 win.

The referee was Constantine Hatzidakis - who famously appeared to elbow Liverpool left-back Andy Robertson in a Premier League match against Arsenal in April 2023.

Dover Athletic: Jinadu, Ojemen (Oldapio 85mins), Mensah, Holding, Naylor (Sutherland 80mins), Baptiste, Oliver, Charles-Cook, Nikaj, Wilkinson, Allen (Dembele 65mins). Subs not used: Dunne, Young.

Tonbridge Angels: Henly, Lyons-Foster, Gard, Mampolo, Higgs, Odokonyero (Greenidge 85mins), Lock (Puffette 90mins), Hinds, Dabre, Vincent, Wagstaff. Subs not used: Parkinson, Aransibia, Velvick.

Referee: Constantine Hatzidakis.

Attendance: 455.

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