Home   Dover   Sport   Article

Dover Athletic boss Andy Hessenthaler on his side ending their 364-day wait for a National League win against Eastleigh

Andy Hessenthaler is challenging Dover to still have a say on how the National League table pans out this season - after they ended almost a year-long wait for a win.

Whites earned their first competitive victory of the season on Tuesday as on-loan frontman Alfie Pavey scored the only goal in their 1-0 league success over Eastleigh, with Spitfires manager Ben Strevens leaving the club after their defeat.

Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones
Dover manager Andy Hessenthaler. Picture: Andy Jones

Bottom side Dover remain 30 points adrift despite the win - their first since a 3-1 success over Barnet on January 26, 2021 - but with 19 matches still to play this term, manager Hessenthaler now wants his side to build on it and have a say on how other teams' seasons pan out.

Hessenthaler, whose team host Southend this weekend, admitted: "It was nice to get that monkey off our back. The longer it (the run without a win) goes on, it becomes hard.

"You could see a little bit after losing Saturday’s game (5-0 at Solihull) that confidence was low. We know they’re a good side but we know we gave four goals away.

"But I said on Tuesday, we are at home so we have got to try and put that performance behind us. I've got to say, to a man, they were excellent.

"We got a little bit of luck which, over the course of the season so far, I think, we deserve. They hit the post, and Parkesy (goalkeeper Adam Parkes) made a good save.

Dover loan striker Alfie Pavey scored the only goal of the game at Crabble on Tuesday. Picture: Barry Goodwin
Dover loan striker Alfie Pavey scored the only goal of the game at Crabble on Tuesday. Picture: Barry Goodwin

"First half, I think we looked a bit nervous as a team but we came in at 0-0, which was really important having a clean sheet which we haven’t had. I said it might be an ugly win - and I think it was in the end, hard-fought but an ugly win really, but it was a nice feeling.

"I said to the players now we have won one game but we have 19 left so let’s see if we can try and go on a bit of a run now. Yeah, we picked up injuries on Tuesday and we are relying on some of these younger players which is good for them as well. But can we back it up against Southend now?

"That won’t be easy and can we have a say on the season going ahead for the next 19 games in terms of the teams we are playing? They’re all playing for something still at this stage - whether it’s promotion or staying up - but we have got to have a say in that.

"We don’t want to just turn up and get turned over because we are in the situation we are in. We have got to have a say in it still.

"So I’m now expecting us to try and follow it up on Saturday and get a result against Southend."

Hessenthaler also described the six minutes of second-half stoppage-time as "the longest six minutes of his life".

"Six minutes went up as well after a couple of injuries! Those six minutes were the longest six minutes of my life really," Hessenthaler said.

"I sat down in my seat, got up, sat down, got up. In the end when the final whistle did come, it was a big relief."

Although the win was their first in just under a year, technically, even that result was expunged last season in the end. This means, officially, their last win had been before the Covid-19 pandemic in February 2020 when they beat AFC Fylde 5-1.

The match against the Spitfires, Hessenthaler's old club, also saw forward Michael Gyasi make his Dover debut off the bench, having signed on loan from fellow strugglers King's Lynn for the remainder of the season.

Hessenthaler explained: "Someone mentioned to me about him and said he’s not getting too much football at King’s Lynn.

"I spoke to the manager at King’s Lynn, Tommy Widdrington, and he said he’s available to come out until the end of the season, so I thought why not?

"He gives us another option up front, with his pace. He came on and affected the game."

Pavey's effort was his fourth this campaign since rejoining Whites on loan from Maidstone in November in front of a crowd of 486 at Crabble.

"It has worked out well. I think he is enjoying it, that’s the key," Hessenthaler commented on Pavey's loan stint back at the club.

"We know him and he’s helping us. That’s why we got him into the team - he’s been great."

Hessenthaler also again praised his young players, as teenage Academy midfielder George Wilkinson started for the third successive game against Eastleigh while defender Will Moses returned from a long-term ankle injury to come off the bench.

He stated: "With the situation we are in, it’s giving an opportunity to some of these younger players.

"Young George Wilkinson was excellent again. He got tired - and we took him off - but he is gonna get tired. He was getting cramp, and has played three games on the spin. He's been a revelation.

"It was good to see young Will Moses, he’s 18, he has been out for seven months with an injury. We had high hopes for him but, unfortunately, he’s picked up that injury, and we’ve not seen him. But it was nice to get him on the pitch.

"We also have Alex Green, Harrison Byford and Noah Carney - all these boys coming out of the Academy is fantastic."

Striker Noah Carney will miss Dover's match against Kevin Maher's Southend due to his England under-18 Schoolboys commitments as they play an RAF outfit.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More