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Dover Athletic 1 Ebbsfleet United 1 match report

It finished all square in the Kent derby between Dover and Ebbsfleet at Crabble on Tuesday night.

Fleet, struggling towards the foot of the National League, took an early lead through Ayo Obileye.

Dover missed a penalty and trailed at the break but equalised through Will De Havilland in the second half.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler Picture: Alan Langley
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler Picture: Alan Langley

Dover boss Andy Hessenthaler named an unchanged team following their 2-0 win at Harrogate but the visitors changed both personnel and their system.

Garry Hill switched to a back four, handing Bournemouth loanee Tyler Cordner a debut at centre-half and dropping Jamie Grimes, while it was announced just before the game that Bondz N'Gala had left the club.

New signing Alex Reid made his first start, in a wide left attacking role, while Aswad Thomas was recalled at left-back with Obileye and Frankie Sutherland drafted into midfield.

Alex Lawless and John Goddard, both starters at the weekend, weren't even on the bench.

Dover made a bright start, Nassim L'Ghoul getting away from two men and shooting narrowly wide before Inih Effiong saw his low cross hacked clear at the near post.

Jai Reason lifted a shot over the bar following a corner but it was Ebbsfleet who took a 13th-minute lead.

Thomas launched a high diagonal ball into the box, James Ball nodded it down and Obileye powered home a half-volley for his first Fleet goal. Ball had done well initially to keep the move alive, nicking the ball back off L'Ghoul just as he looked to spring Dover forward on the break.

The visitors had their tails up for a while and Myles Weston tested Lee Worgan low to his left after cutting inside from the right flank.

Ball was well off target with a strike from distance but Cordner, who looked assured in his defensive duties, went much closer with a header from Sutherland's floated free-kick as Worgan found himself in no man's land.

As the half wore on, Dover improved and they were awarded a penalty when Thomas tangled Steve Rigg on the right-hand side of the box.

Effiong stepped up but his penalty was awful, flying high over the bar into the travelling supporters.

Oscar Gobern, on the stretch, could only turn a dangerous L'Ghoul cross wide but although Whites had plenty of territory and possession, they created little.

Weston broke to good effect late in the first half and when he was eventually dispossessed, Ball forced a smart low save from Worgan.

Hessenthaler had clearly had words at half-time because Dover came out flying. Holmes beat out Effiong's shot at his near post and Michael Woods had an effort deflect narrowly over as the home crowd found their voices.

The equaliser arrived eight minutes into the second half, Sutherland booked for a challenge on Reason and his lofted free-kick headed in by De Havilland as Holmes came but didn't get there.

An error from Jack King was almost punished by Effiong, who strode into space and stung the palms of Holmes, diving to high right.

Dover were well on top and Alfie Pavey came on for the last 30 minutes as Hessenthaler look to make the advantage count.

But instead it was the visitors who enjoyed a good spell, taking the sting out of the game and then starting to build themselves.

They went close from another Sutherland free-kick before Effiong blazed over at the other end after Pavey had flicked on Worgan's long clearance.

Chances came at both ends late on, Obileye seeing his header from a Weston cross saved by Worgan before Holmes pulled off two good stops at the other end.

Hill, content to leave with a point, sent on Grimes and reverted to a back three for the last few minutes although Ebbsfleet almost won it when Ball's rasping volley from a Weston knockdown tested Worgan.

At the other end, Jack Munns saw an effort deflect narrowly wide and Holmes performed heroics in stoppage-time just as the Whites looked certain to nick all three points.

Dover: Worgan, Passley, Lokko, De Havilland, Reason, Woods, Effiong, L'Ghoul (Pavey 64mins), Munns, Gobern, Rigg. Subs not used: Mersin, Doe, Rooney, Hinchiri.

Ebbsfleet: Holmes, King, Thomas, Obileye (Grimes 86mins), Ball, Weston, Umerah (Ugwu 74mins), Wilson, Sutherland, Cordner, Reid. Subs not used: Palmer, Egan, Biabi.

Attendance: 1,247 (136 away).

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