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Dover Athletic 1 Braintree Town 0 Vanarama Conference match report

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Nick Deverdics’ head is proving to be a match winner for Dover after his header earned Whites a 1-0 win in the Vanarama Conference clash against Braintree Town at Crabble on Tuesday night.

The midfielder, whose header secured his side a 1-0 victory over Eastbourne Borough in the FA Cup fourth round qualifying replay a couple of weeks ago, headed home Stefan Payne’s cross in first half injury time.

It was his first league goal for boss Chris Kinnear’s side and it secured a sixth league win this season.

It also moved Whites up to 17th on the ladder and was sweet revenge for the 3-0 loss at Braintree in August.

Boss Kinnear said he was pleased for his players.

He said: “It was always going to be tough to back up after Saturday’s FA Cup win over Morecambe. We knew that.

“But the lads dug in and we got a vital three points.

“And to be honest, they (his players) are a bit frustrated they didn’t get a few more goals. That’s football though.”

Earlier, Kinnear started the same team that beat Morecambe and it was one of them, Payne, who scored the winner that day, who had the first chance of the game. His volley was well saved by Braintree goalkeeper Nick Hamann.

Nicky Deverdics heads home in the 1-0 FA Cup replay win against Eastbourne Borough last season
Nicky Deverdics heads home in the 1-0 FA Cup replay win against Eastbourne Borough last season

And apart from Tom Murphy’s shot, which was again saved by Hamann, chances were few and far between.

Dover had cause for concern before just before Deverdics struck when goalkeeper Andy Rafferty went down following an aerial challenge with Alan Massey.

He battled on and was then able to celebrate when Deverdics rose high to power home a header very similiar to his winner against Eastbourne.

Dover went close to adding a second after the break when Murphy and Payne both fired wide.

And it needed a couple of saves from a bloodied Rafferty late in the game to keep the visitors out and earn his side a hard-fought win.

Rafferty went to hospital after the game and tests revealed he had fractured his nose.

Dover: Rafferty, Essam, Francis, Bonner, Orlu, Deverdics, Kinnear jnr, Taiwo, Sterling, Payne (Rutherford 80mins), Murphy (Bellamy 68mins). Subs not used: Wynter, Raggett, Reid.

Attendance: 696

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