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Dover Athletic 3 Eastleigh 1: Effiong brace earns Whites first home win since August

Dover recorded their first win at home since August 10 as they beat Eastleigh 3-1 in a convincing evening at Crabble.

Oscar Gobern capitalised on some dreadful defending from his old club to open the scoring in the first-half, before Inih Effiong doubled Whites' tally after a goalkeeping howler from Max Stryjek.

Eastleigh hit back with a Tyrone Barnett header just past the hour mark, but their hope was short-lived as Effiong grabbed his second from the penalty spot.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Chris Davey
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Chris Davey

While Dover entered the contest on a four game winless run in the National League, Eastleigh arrived looking to extend their unbeaten run to nine matches across all competitions.

Manager Andy Hessenthaler found himself without injured skipper Kevin Lokko as well as Will de Havilland, Ricky Modeste and Joe Bedford.

Paul Rooney could have opened the scoring eight minutes in when he latched onto a deep free-kick before hitting his volley wide of the target.

Eastleigh's first half-chance came through Scott Rendell, who mis-hit his half-volley on the spin in an opportunity stemming from Yusuf Mersin over-playing at the back.

Steven Rigg had started the game brightly and almost turned provider when he flicked a header on into the path of Effiong, the Dover no.9 seeing his eventual shot blocked having had to wait an age for the ball to settle.

It marked the first instance of some encouraging link-up play between Rigg and Effiong, with the pair proving a nuisance for a disjointed and nervy Eastleigh defence.

Dover's early dominance was rewarded on 17 minutes when Gobern found the bottom corner from the edge of the box after Eastleigh had made a mess of clearing Jack Munns' long-ball.

Jack McKnight then saw his strike from the edge of the box hit the side netting via a huge deflection off the leg of Barnett, much to the relief of the hosts.

Having threatened at one end, McKnight almost gifted a goal at the other when he attempted to head back to goalkeeper Stryjek only to find a clean through Jai Reason, whose shot was well-saved.

An unmarked Reason should have scored again moments later as he directed his header at Stryjek having been picked out by Josh Passley in a swift Dover counter-attack.

Dover punished Eastleigh's defensive frailties again on the half hour mark thanks to a poacher's goal from Effiong.

Having kept the deficit at one earlier in the half, Stryjek flapped at a high ball under pressure from the superb Rigg, leaving Effiong to slide home into an empty net.

Stryjek's nightmare continued just before the break when another mistake left Effiong with what seemed a certain goal, but the striker couldn't get over the ball to keep his volley down from the edge of the six-yard box.

Eastleigh's injury crisis took another blow late in the half when Joe Partington was replaced by Ben Williamson.

Dover forward Steven Rigg. Picture:Chris Davey
Dover forward Steven Rigg. Picture:Chris Davey

Eastleigh emerged from the interval on the front foot, inviting Dover to set-up on the counter-attack with Effiong their leading outlet.

Dover's top scorer squandered two early opportunities to hurt the away side on the break, first over-running the ball having driven from his own half and then missing the target after overlooking the teammates in support.

The visitors' injury woes got worse on 55 minutes when McKnight was forced off, making way for Tom Bearwish.

Having controlled the exchanges since the restart, Eastleigh eventually pulled one back just past the hour courtesy of Barnett's header from a corner.

Effiong looked to issue an immediate response with a powerful volley that stung the palms of Stryjek.

Hessenthaler's men began to rediscover their attacking spark and restored their two-goal cushion in the 73rd minute when Effiong converted from the penalty spot after Gobern had been pulled over in the box.

Full of confidence, Rigg then tried his luck with a fierce half-volley after racing onto a ball over the top on the right-hand side.

Effiong could and should have had his hat-trick with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining but saw his effort kept out by a strong hand from Stryjek after Reason's neat pass.

Three for the Dover man would have glossed what ended up as both an impressive and confidence-boosting home victory for Hessenthaler and his side.

Dover: Mersin, Passley (Taylor 74mins), Doe, Reason, Woods (captain), Effiong, Munns, Rooney, Gobern (Cumberbatch 79mins), Rigg (Jeffrey 79mins), Simpson. Subs not used: L'Ghoul, Ratti.

Eastleigh: Stryjek, Seaman, Partington (Williamson 44mins), Boyce, Miley, McKnight (Bearwish 55mins), Hollands (captain), Payne, Smart, Barnett, Rendell. Subs not used: Flitney, Scorey, Beale.

Attendance: 726

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