Published: 21:43, 23 November 2021
| Updated: 22:17, 24 November 2021
Dover's National League problems continued as they were beaten 3-2 by Wealdstone on Tuesday night.
Goals from full-back Jayden Sweeney and Wealdstone top scorer Josh Umerah gave the visitors a 2-1 half-time lead despite Harry Ransom’s goal in the first half.
Basement boys Dover equalised through Henry Woods after the restart but a second for Sweeney and a third for the Stones consigned Whites to a sixth loss in a row in all competitions and a ninth consecutive league defeat.
The hosts got off to a nightmare start at Crabble when they fell behind in the fourth minute. Rhys Browne’s left-wing cross was stroked home by Sweeney who is on loan from Leyton Orient.
But Antigua & Barbuda international Browne’s night came to an abrupt end on nine minutes. He hobbled off and was replaced by Jay Bird as Stones manager Stuart Maynard, a former Dover player, was forced into an early change.
Six minutes later, Whites went close as a brilliant goal-line clearance by away skipper Jerome Okimo thwarted Aaron Cosgrave who had steered skipper Sam Wood’s corner towards goal.
But from the next corner, delivered by Woods on the other side, centre-half Ransom smartly flicked past visiting goalkeeper George Wickens at the near post to level with the Crawley loanee claiming his first goal of the season as the home team got level.
Travis Gregory then tested Wickens in the 16th minute after a quick free-kick routine before Cosgrave shot inches wide soon after, with Andy Hessenthaler’s men enjoying a good spell.
Midway through the first period, Ben Williamson fired towards goal and his strike partner Cosgrave connected with the ball but could only steer the ball narrowly wide.
A minute later, however, ex-Ebbsfleet frontman Umerah put the visitors ahead once more against the run of play. He out muscled Ransom and ran on to a long ball and slotted the ball past home keeper Josh Bexon for his seventh league goal this season.
Bexon had to be alert to prevent Charlie Cooper’s in-swinging corner from going straight into his net with 27 minutes played before almost an identical situation happened seconds later.
Just before the half-hour, Gregory blasted over for Whites after fine play by Cosgrave who, potentially, could have pulled the trigger himself as he found some space before eventually setting up wideman Gregory who tried his luck.
Shortly before the interval, Cosgrave drilled in a powerful cross from the right but Wealdstone’s defence managed to clear with Gregory lurking.
Hessenthaler made a positive half-time switch which saw playmaker Arthur come on for defender Wood, as local lad Ryan Hanson, a midfielder, moved into a back three.
Two minutes into the second half, Umerah had a chance to double his tally from a Sweeney corner, although he powered his header just wide.
A long-range effort from Arthur stung the palms of Wickens with 51 minutes played.
Substitute Bird tried his luck five minutes later, bending his strike narrowly wide of Bexon's right-hand post.
The home team threatened on the hour as the Stones defence caused problems for themselves, however they - just about - managed to clear their lines.
Woods, who was the provider for Dover’s first, netted himself for his first goal of the season on 63 minutes.
Wealdstone just about cleared following a melee inside their penalty box after good movement by Cosgrave had created an opening but on-loan Gillingham midfielder Woods drilled the ball past Wickens with a great shot from 20 yards out.
But 18 minutes from time, the away side retook the lead once more as Sweeney got his second of the game when he expertly volleyed a fine Cooper cross past Bexon.
Whites, still winless this season, were now pushing for a leveller for a third time and Arthur drilled inches wide in the 77th minute with a cross-cum-shot.
Dover were looking threatening in the latter stages as Arthur once again tested Wickens three minutes from time.
In the last minute of stoppage-time, Noah Carney headed straight at Wickens.
Then with Bexon sent forward for a free-kick, another shot by Carney was tipped wide by Wickens in unusual fashion in the dying seconds as the hosts couldn't find a third.
Dover remain bottom, now 22 points from safety, while Wealdstone are 15th in the league and 10 points clear of the relegation zone.
There were two surprise changes in Dover’s starting line-up from the side which lost 3-1 to FC Halifax Town on Saturday.
Goalkeeper Adam Parkes was replaced by Bexon, with Bexon making his first start since the 4-1 loss at Eastleigh on September 14.
The other change saw defender Danny Collinge miss out through illness as Wood came back into the team.
Playmaker Arthur was back on the bench, though, after a calf injury while Academy players Carney and Alex Green were also selected in Hessenthaler’s squad.
For Wealdstone, who are a part-time outfit like Dover and came into the match unbeaten in four matches, Umerah started while ex-Whites frontman Ira Jackson Jr was named among their substitutes and didn't come on.
The last meeting between the sides at Crabble saw Jermaine Beckford score two goals in a 4-2 victory for Wealdstone in December 2004.
Dover: Bexon, Wood (Arthur 46mins), Bramble, Goodman, Williamson (Carney 83mins), Cosgrave, Ransom, Gregory, Tiensia, Woods, Hanson. Subs not used: Parkes, Caton, Green.
Wealdstone: Wickens, Cook, Okimo, Buse (Dronfield 68mins), Umerah, Browne (Bird 9mins), McAvoy, Dyer, Mundle-Smith, Cooper, Sweeney. Subs not used: Marigliani, Jackson, Mascoll.
Ref: Jacob Miles.