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Dover Athletic 0 Weston-super-Mare 1 match report: Whites lose again in National League South despite assistant Jake Leberl’s return as Dayle Grubb gets the only goal at Crabble

The wait for Dover Athletic’s second National League South success this season goes on after they were edged out by Weston-super-Mare on Saturday.

Recently-appointed Jake Leberl's return as Whites' assistant didn’t prove a happy one on the pitch as Dayle Grubb got the only goal in the first half of a largely uninspiring affair and it finished 1-0.

Manager Mitch Brundle – saw Dover lose 1-0 at home to Weston-super-Mare on Saturday despite being supported in the dugout by the returning Jake Leberl. Picture: Steve Terrell
Manager Mitch Brundle – saw Dover lose 1-0 at home to Weston-super-Mare on Saturday despite being supported in the dugout by the returning Jake Leberl. Picture: Steve Terrell

It means struggling Dover are winless in the league since their second match of the campaign and haven’t won at Crabble in National League South since February 28. They visit basement boys Havant in a massive match at the foot of the table next weekend.

Someone in the away dug-out received the first caution from referee Michael Robertson-Tant in the sixth minute amid an uneventful opening which Weston-super-Mare shaded in front of a crowd of 532.

Midway through the first period, Dover striker Dontai Stewart, who had scored in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Eastbourne Borough, dragged wide after visiting defender Lloyd Humphries failed to properly clear Whites keeper Billy Terrell’s huge clearance.

But the visitors finally created a clear-cut chance on 34 minutes which led to them taking the lead. Left-back Jordan Bastin crossed for his captain Grubb, who fired past Terrell for his third goal this season.

Four minutes later, Mitch Brundle’s men went close to a leveller. Iffy Allen produced a good right-wing run and crossed, only for fellow midfielder Josh Anifowose to volley over.

But the away team appeared in cruise control at this stage and the half-time whistle was greeted by little other than a smattering of boos.

Whites manager Brundle, supported on the sidelines by recently-appointed assistant Leberl, made a double half-time substitution. That saw Paris Lock and Zidan Sutherland come on for Allen and Luke Pearce.

Opportunities at both ends in the 53rd minute allowed ex-Gillingham midfielder James Morton to shoot at Terrell for the away team before Sutherland did likewise to call Seagulls keeper Harrison Lee into his only meaningful action.

Left-back Bailey Akehurst, one of Whites’ better players, then had a long-range drive deflected inches over the crossbar with 63 minutes played.

Nine minutes later, Terrell had to be alert to make a good save to thwart Reuben Reid.

Whites’ last substitution came in the 84th minute and saw Nick Dembele go up front as he replaced midfielder Anifowose.

One of Weston-super-Mare’s substitutes was given a straight red card in the third minute of five in second-half stoppage time, although it mattered little as the visitors comfortably held on.

The hosts initially had made a single change to their starting line-up which saw skipper James Dunne come in after suspension for George Wilkinson in midfield.

But a second switch was made as Sinn'Kaye Christie, on dual registration from Ramsgate, pulled out in the warm-up and was replaced by centre-half Charlie Naylor. Right-sided player Roman Charles-Cook was added to their bench.

Young Southampton loanee frontman Pearce, who previously had been on loan at Weston-super-Mare, also started for Whites.

Experienced former Forest Hill, Cheltenham, West Brom and Rotherham frontman Reid was among the away starters.

Dover Athletic: Terrell, Naylor, Dunne, Anifowose (Dembele 84mins), Allen (Lock 46mins), Akehurst, Mensah, Young, Pearce (Sutherland 46mins), Stewart, Oyenuga. Subs not used: Charles-Cook, Wilkinson.

Weston-super-Mare: Lee, Pope, Bastin, Cane, Humphries, Avery, Willmott, Morton, Reid, Grubb (Dodd 69mins), Fletcher (Mannings 78mins). Subs not used: Jackson, Purnell, Thomas.

Referee: Michael Robertson-Tant.

Attendance: 532.

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