Published: 21:47, 04 February 2020
| Updated: 07:25, 05 February 2020
A superb performance saw Dover end league leaders Barrow's 15-game unbeaten run in the National League as they earned a 2-1 home win.
Centre-back Will De Havilland scored from a corner to give Whites a deserved first-half lead.
Barrow responded after the restart and levelled when skipper John Rooney equalised from a penalty, only for midfielder Michael Woods to score the winner late on in a gripping match.
The hosts had a golden opportunity inside the first two minutes at Crabble when a long throw from left-back Aaron Simpson found its way to Inih Effiong. But despite the ball falling kindly at his feet, Effiong - who counts Barrow among his old clubs - dragged wide at the back post.
Effiong’s next action of note in the game saw him impressively power past away defender Matt Platt in the ninth minute and whip in a dangerous right-wing delivery which Bobby-Joe Taylor couldn’t quite catch up with.
The Bluebirds were threatening at the other end, and there were some nervy moments for home debutant goalkeeper Ashley Maynard-Brewer early on, but it was Whites who were creating the better chances.
And Andy Hessenthaler’s men took a deserved lead with 19 minutes played.
After Jai Reason had forced a save from Barrow keeper Joel Dixon, Jack Munns took the resulting corner which fell to ex-Maidstone man De Havilland who smartly volleyed into the bottom corner, although Reason did also try to claim he had got the final touch.
In the 24th minute, Ian Evatt’s side threatened the home goal, only for Dior Angus to fire over when clean through.
Just before the half-hour mark, Scott Quigley turned smartly on the edge of the Dover penalty box and tried his luck but he couldn’t beat Charlton loanee Maynard-Brewer who made a comfortable save.
Steven Rigg glanced wide a corner from Munns with 40 minutes played as Whites continued to look dangerous.
Three minutes later, the visitors looked set to equalise when skipper Rooney played through Quigley, only for Dover keeper Maynard-Brewer to deny the league’s top scorer with a smart save.
In first-half stoppage-time, Dover were denied a second when Effiong was adjudged to have flicked home a Taylor free-kick from an offside position.
There was still time for Lewis Hardcastle to fire inches wide from the edge of the box but, in truth, the home team deserved to be in front at the interval.
Angus once again caused problems for the Whites defence five minutes into the second period. He attempted to cross from the right but a combination of the home defence and keeper Maynard-Brewer helped to see the ball out for a goal kick.
Four minutes later, 20-year-old Maynard-Brewer spilled Hardcastle’s long-range drive although, presented with an open goal, Quigley failed to get the ball under his spell with the Bluebirds much improved in the early stages of the second half.
Dover’s first chance after the restart came shortly after the hour when Effiong blazed over after good work by former Wolves man Simpson.
As Whites brought fresh legs on from the bench, Dominic Poleon came on for his home debut on 65 minutes, replacing Reason.
Midway through the second period, Quigley wasted another fine opening as he thrashed wide, having been played through once again by Barrow skipper Rooney.
With 12 minutes left to play, right-back Josh Passley hobbled off, with left-back Shadrach Ogie taking his place as Simpson went across to the right-hand side of defence.
Barrow levelled nine minutes from time when referee Savvas Yianni adjudged Ogie to have fouled Bluebirds substitute Byron Harrison and Rooney coolly chipped home from the spot.
Six minutes from time, the hosts felt they should have had a penalty of their own after Platt brought down Effiong but referee Mr Yianni waved away the appeals.
Leyton Orient loanee Ogie then made amends for his mistake to give away the penalty, as he set up Dover’s second in the 87th minute.
He drove down the left and produced a fine cross which midfielder Woods slotted in at the far post, much to the jubilation of the home contingent.
The loss was a first league defeat for Barrow since a 4-2 defeat at Torquay on October 26, while Whites move up to eighth and are level on points with Bromley who are seventh and sixth-placed Notts County.
Dover manager Hessenthaler had made one enforced change to his starting line-up from the team which had won 2-0 at Stockport on Saturday, as Taylor replaced the injured Oscar Gobern.
Dover: Maynard-Brewer, Passley (Ogie 78mins), De Havilland, Lokko, Simpson, Taylor, Woods, Reason (Poleon 65mins), Munns, Rigg (Modeste 64mins), Effiong. Subs not used: Cumberbatch, Yussuff.
Barrow: Dixon, Brough, Taylor, Rooney, Quigley, Hardcastle (Harrison 77mins), Kay (Dyson 71mins), Platt, White, Angus, Barry (Hindle 71mins). Subs not used: Simpson, Brown.
More by this authorThomas Reeves