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Dover Athletic 2 Wealdstone 3: Reaction from Whites assistant manager Nicky Southall to his team's National League defeat


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Assistant manager Nicky Southall admits defensive mistakes cost Dover once again after their 3-2 defeat against Wealdstone on Tuesday night.

Two goals from full-back Jayden Sweeney and one for Wealdstone top scorer Josh Umerah consigned Whites to a sixth straight loss in all competitions and a record ninth consecutive National League defeat.

Dover assistant manager Nicky Southall. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover assistant manager Nicky Southall. Picture: Andy Jones

They twice fought back at Crabble through goals from defender Harry Ransom and midfielder Henry Woods but they still fell to a 13th loss this season from 16 league games.

Academy striker Noah Carney came on as a second-half substitute and twice went close late on, however he couldn’t find a way through for Andy Hessenthaler’s side.

Southall conceded: “It’s pretty much the story of our season, isn’t it?

“But I feel really proud of the boys with the way they created a lot of chances. It’s probably the best football we have played in a while.

“But our Achilles heel, making mistakes at the back, has cost us again. It just keeps happening.

“For some reason, there is a lapse of concentration somewhere within us within the 90 minutes and we just seem to be letting goals in at that stage, especially when we are on top.

“The one real positive was young Noah Carney coming on. I thought he was outstanding.”

There was a surprise change in goal which saw Adam Parkes, on loan from Watford, replaced by Josh Bexon who made his first competitive appearance since September 14.

Explaining the decision, Whites’ No.2 said: “We just felt as if Adam has looked a little bit tired recently.

“With the pitch on Saturday being heavy, we felt he wasn’t striking the ball cleanly. So we brought Josh in who could strike it a little bit further and get us up the pitch a little bit more.

“I feel sorry for him. He has come in and he has conceded three goals.”

Defender Danny Collinge was also absent through illness.

“He woke up on Monday with some kind of virus. It’s not Covid,” Southall explained.

“There is this bug going around.

"He felt a bit rough after the game and Adam felt really rough at half-time on Saturday. So that was sort of another reason we looked to just give him (Parkes) a rest.

“But hopefully, Danny will be okay for the weekend (when Dover visit Yeovil).”

After Dover’s 3-1 defeat to FC Halifax Town at the weekend, Hessenthaler said the club had missed out on a striker last week, although Southall says they may have one in the squad in time for their trip to Huish Park.

Southall revealed: “We spoke to a striker. Hopefully we can maybe move things forward for the Yeovil game.

“We are actively looking because we need another striker.

“But we are actively looking in other positions as well - obviously centre-back is causing us problems. It seems whoever we put in there is making these mistakes.

“We need to try and sort that out, and to look to strengthen the squad. You could see on Tuesday the squad was down to the bare bones again.

“We had two of the Academy boys on there (the bench) again (Carney and Alex Green), even though young Noah came on and was absolutely fantastic.

“He is on the verge of getting in with England Schoolboys as well. He is on the last selection part with that. He has got his trial in Birmingham coming up.

“I think we have unearthed a rough diamond, a nice little gem there.”

Dover remain bottom of the table and they now are some 22 points from safety as they continue to await a first victory this campaign.

Asked if there have been any discussions regarding the future of the management team, Southall replied: “No.

“We just get on and do our jobs. We are here, and we are desperate to win a game of football.

“Everyone knows the plight we were in at the start of the season (having started the season on minus 12 points) and through last season.

“But we are football men, we have been in the game long enough.

"We just have to keep going and keep believing."

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