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Dover Athletic 1 Maidenhead United 1 - match report

By Mark Stokes

A last-gasp equaliser denied Dover a third successive home National League win.

Ryan Bird's trademark 76th minute header looked to have been enough to see off a doughty Maidenhead side but with just seconds of injury time remaining Jake Hyde scrambled an equaliser.

There was barely time for the game to restart at Crabble before referee David Rock blew the final whistle. The result leaves Whites in second, three points behind Macclesfield.

Dover scorer Ryan Bird tests the Maidenhead defence Picture: Tony Flashman
Dover scorer Ryan Bird tests the Maidenhead defence Picture: Tony Flashman

Manager Kinnear made three changes to the side following the midweek FA defeat at Bromley including handing a debut to 22-year-old striker James Alabi, who signed on loan from Tranmere on Friday.

Loui Fazakerley came in for injured defender Giancarlo Gallifuoco to make just his second league start this season while midfielder Paul Lewis - cup tied for the two Bromley games - replaced Nortei Nortey, who dropped to the bench.

On an typically autumnal afternoon which saw the floodlights on inside 15 minutes Whites took time to get into their stride but then began enjoy a good period.

Lewis had their first sight of goal but volleyed well wide from the edge of area after a long throw from Mitchell Pinnock and skipper Mitch Brundle twice then went close in quick succession.

The first chance was all of his own making as he outwitted a defender with a neat turn only to curl his low shot straight at keper Carl Pentney.

Dover's Mitch Pinnock gets a shot away Picture: Tony Flashman
Dover's Mitch Pinnock gets a shot away Picture: Tony Flashman

Moments later the Whites midfielder capped a surging run with a low, skidding drive from 25 yards which went just wide with Pentney on this occasion at full stretch.

At the other end Whites keeper Mitch Walker had to react well to smother at the feet of ex team-mate Moses Emmanuel, and Jake Hyde produced a good turn and shot but his fierce drive was well blocked by Connor Essam.

Hyde had another opportunity on the half hour when the ball broke favourably for him in the home box but he snatched at his effort which went high and wide.

Maidenhead defender Alan Massey forced Walker to beat away another effort at the near post and then, in the dying moments of the half the visiting skipper popped up at the opposite end to produce a brilliant sliding goal-line clearance to keep out Pinnock's fierce drive.

As the rain began to sheet down again at the start of the second half Whites went close to breaking the deadlock. First Femi Ilesanmi's low cross cum shot was kept out at the near post by Pentney and then Brundle's follow-up was well blocked.

Maidenhead went even closer on the hour when Walker appeared to withdraw his hands as Jake Goodman shot and the ball clipped the bar on its way over.

James Alabi Picture: Tony Flashman
James Alabi Picture: Tony Flashman

Emmanuel then forced Walker to save his close range header but as the half wore on the chances began to dry up.

Hyde curled a speculative effort wide for the Magpies but the game looked to be heading for stalemate when Whites sub Kadell Daniel crossed deep and Bird rose highest to head in via the foot of the post for his seventh goal of the campaign.

Daniel almost doubled the lead soon after when Bird played him in and his 25-yard drive cannoned against the post, but Whites looked home and dry until, with the clock on 93 minutes, Rene Steer's cross was headed goalwards by sub Adrian Clifton and Hyde claimed the final touch.

Dover: Walker, Passley, Essam, Parry, Fazakerley, Ilesanmi, Brundle, Lewis, Pinnock (Daniel 69mins), Bird, Alabi (Richards 86mins); Subs:Nortey, Okosieme, Deen-Conteh.

Maidenhead: Pentney, Peters (Kilman 32mins), Massey, Inman, Steer, Goodman, Odametey (Upward 79mins) Smith, Pritchard, Emmanuel (Clifton 69mins) Hyde; Subs: Barratt, Mulley.

Attendance: 837.

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