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Barnet 0-1 Dover Athletic: Inih Effiong scores dramatic injury-time winner

Inih Effiong came off the bench to score in stoppage time as Dover clinched a 1-0 win over Barnet at The Hive.

Both sides showcased their play-off credentials as defensive units throughout, cancelling each other out in the final-third in a game of few clear-cut chances.

With the seconds ticking down in injury-time, Effiong pounced on the rebound from Jai Reason's strike to head home a dramatic winner.

Scroll down to hear from Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler

Dover striker Inih Effiong. Picture: Paul Amos
Dover striker Inih Effiong. Picture: Paul Amos

Three changes to the team that started against Wrexham saw summer signings Kurtis Cumberbatch and Bilel Hinchiri come in for their first starts, the latter making his competitive debut for the club.

Jack Munns and Oscar Gobern were left out of the squad altogether, while Effiong and Aaron Simpson dropped to the bench.

Barnet, unchanged from their 2-1 victory at Notts County, were almost the architects of their own downfall when a loose pass found its way to Ricky Modeste in the home side's penalty area.

The winger then hesitated before seeing the ball snatched from his feet and cleared to safety, much to the relief of Barnet's supporters.

Then followed a resilient period of defensive work from Dover as they denied the hosts the opportunity to exploit the pace of Ephron Mason-Clark and Simeon Akinola in-behind.

Besides a disciplined high line from the back four, Hessenthaler's men were also aided by some dogged pressing from Hinchiri, Cumberbatch and Michael Woods in midfield.

Their work ethic high up the pitch almost paid dividends when Alfie Pavey went close to beating goalkeeper Scott Loach to a poor back pass.

Barnet did finally get some joy in-behind when Cheye Alexander broke beyond Bobby-Joe Taylor before seeing his driven cross force a recovery clearance from Will de Havilland at the front post.

An early injury forced off Barnet's David Tutonda, who was replaced by Andre Boucard on 23 minutes.

Darren Currie's side pounced at a counter-attacking opportunity shortly after as Jack Taylor drove forward into the final-third, laying off Mason-Clark who saw his shot well-blocked on the edge of the box.

A fascinating duel between Mason-Clark and Taylor led to a penalty shout later in the half, with the Barnet man going to ground under a challenge from the left-back but seeing claims from his bench waived away.

Dover immediately threatened at the other end through a shot from Pavey, whose rebound was teed back from Modeste to Cumberbatch for the midfielder to test Loach's palms a second time.

Mason-Clark thought he had evaded Taylor minutes from the break as he conjured some space on the edge of the penalty area, only to see his left-footed shot blocked by a sliding challenge from the Dover man.

Bobby-Joe Taylor. Picture: Alan Langley
Bobby-Joe Taylor. Picture: Alan Langley

The first opening of the second-half went to Barnet when Mason-Clark fired in a low crossing from the right-hand side, warranting some strong defending from Will de Havilland to out-muscle an incoming Akinola.

Dover responded with some neat link up play between Pavey and Cumberbatch, ending in the summer arrival reaching the byline to block at the front post.

Cumberbatch began to cause Barnet's defence some problems with his runs from midfield having seemingly been instructed to operate in a more advanced role.

The best chance of the game fell to The Bees' Medy Elito, who met Taylor's cross with a header at the back post to force a superb save from Lee Worgan.

Worgan was called into action again moments later, producing another diving save to keep out James Dunne's curling effort from just inside the area.

Taylor turned the tables on Mason-Clark at the other end, skipping beyond the forward and skimming the crossbar with a powerful strike from the left.

Dover's travelling support had their calls for Nassim L'Ghoul's introduction answered as the Frenchman was brought on to replace Modeste with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.

A lack of attacking quality from either side made for a scrappy finish to the game, with substitutes Effiong and L'Ghoul doing their best to stretch Barnet's defence where possible,

Effiong was fed in behind with three minutes remaining but was unable to capitalise as his shot was blocked at the vital moment on the left-hand side of the box.

Then came the drama as Effiong reacted first to the rebound from Reason's saved shot to head home a stoppage-time winner from six-yards out.

Barnet couldn't find a response in such short time, with Hessenthaler's men snatching three points right at the death.

Barnet: Loach, Alexander, Reynolds, Santos, Tutonda (Boucard 23mins), H. Taylor, Dunne, J. Taylor, Mason-Clark (Sparkes 79mins), Akinola, Elito (Coulthirst 64mins). Subs not used: Matrevics, Adams.

Dover: Worgan, Passley, De Havilland, Lokko, Taylor, Hinchiri (Reason 64mins), Woods, Cumberbatch, Modeste (L'Ghoul 74mins), Rigg, Pavey (Effiong 64mins). Subs not used: Mersin, Simpson.

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