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Dover Athletic 0 Truro City 2 match report: Second-half goals from Andrew Neal and Ed Palmer condemn Whites to another National League South defeat at Crabble

Two second-half goals inside five minutes worsened basement boys Dover’s relegation fears as they lost at home to Truro City on Saturday.

A controversial first goal from Andrew Neal broke the deadlock after a first half in which Whites had failed to make the most of having the better chances before Ed Palmer added a second the other side of the hour mark.

Dover manager Jake Leberl – his side lost 2-0 at home to Truro City on Saturday. Picture: Tony Flashman
Dover manager Jake Leberl – his side lost 2-0 at home to Truro City on Saturday. Picture: Tony Flashman

It means Whites have now suffered back-to-back National League South defeats, despite their form having initially slightly improved under new manager Jake Leberl.

There was plenty of endeavour on show but little quality in the final third at Crabble in the first period in front of a crowd of 598.

Dover’s opening chance saw left-sided player Bailey Akehurst deliver an in-swinging free-kick beyond everyone on 17 minutes after away defender Tom Harrison had fouled striker Nick Dembele for the first caution of the afternoon.

Three minutes later, another delivery by ex-Gillingham man Akehurst - this time from the left - flashed across goal.

Truro had a corner just before the half-hour mark which the home side almost made a mess of clearing, although they got away with it.

Midfielder Iffy Allen – came off the bench for Dover, only to miss a late chance to set up a grandstand finish. Picture: Stuart Brock
Midfielder Iffy Allen – came off the bench for Dover, only to miss a late chance to set up a grandstand finish. Picture: Stuart Brock

The hosts then wasted the best opportunity so far by a country mile in the 30th minute.

Striker Zidan Sutherland somehow ended up in all kinds of space but blasted over after a ball had been sent forward from midfield.

City goalkeeper James Hamon denied forward George Nikaj, two minutes later, as he turned to find space after a through ball by returning Dover captain James Dunne.

A speculative shot by Palmer was deflected for a corner at the other end after a left-wing cross from skipper Connor Riley-Lowe had only been half-cleared.

Less than 70 seconds after the restart, Whites wideman Roman Charles-Cook tested Hamon.

Dover goalkeeper David Aziaya tipped wide Adam Porter’s 52nd-minute shot after he had been played through by Neal following some nice build-up play.

With the home contingent making noise as they got behind their side, Sutherland steered wide Dembele’s right-wing delivery.

But it was the visitors who made it 1-0 shortly before the hour when Neal stabbed home Ryan Brett’s corner from yards out.

The home players were furious with the decision to award the goal, feeling the ball had already gone out of play - defender Charlie Naylor booked for his protests - although the goal stood.

Sutherland, denied by the on-rushing Hamon, could have levelled things before Truro added a second. Defender Palmer was left with enough time to slot underneath Aziaya.

Dover made a double change midway through the second period, George Wilkinson and Archie Hatcher coming on for Dembele and Henry Young.

With 11 minutes to go, optimistic home appeals for a penalty were dismissed after Nikaj’s effort had been charged down while defender Ben Adelsbury stung the palms of Aziaya with a long-range drive.

Whites still could have set up a grandstand finish in the last minute of normal time.

But substitute Iffy Allen was denied by Hamon from close range after Charles-Cook had done well to cross from the left and there was no way back for them - some home supporters even greeting the final whistle with ironic cheers.

Whites made two changes to their starting line-up from the previous weekend’s 2-1 loss at Aveley. The experienced Dunne and Charles-Cook came in for the sidelined defender Jacob Mensah and Wilkinson.

Dover also named young midfielder Freddie Oliver, rejoining from Isthmian South East title-chasing side Ramsgate, on the bench. But he didn’t come on.

Truro headed into the match on the back of a three-game winning streak.

They now sit 10 points clear of the bottom four, with games in hand, while Whites are still 12 points adrift after a 13th league loss this season.

Dover Athletic: Aziaya, Oyenuga, Akehurst, Charles-Cook, Holding, Naylor, Dunne (Allen 75mins), Young (Wilkinson 68mins), Nikaj, Sutherland (Hatcher 68mins), Dembele. Subs not used: Oliver, Baptiste.

Truro City: Hamon, Melhado, Riley-Lowe, Adelsbury, Palmer, Harrison, Dean, Brett, Porter (Rooney 75mins), Neal (Sullivan 78mins), Harvey. Subs not used: Jones, Buse, Sanders.

Referee: Charles Martland.

Attendance: 598.

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