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Match Reports

Dover 2-2 Notts

Dennis grabs late point off the bench

5 October 2019

Kristian Dennis came off the bench to earn us a 2-2 draw in the dying moments of this afternoon's trip to Dover Athletic.

The forward's 90th-minute header meant we had twice come from behind to earn a good point on the Kent coast.

Mitch Rose had earlier opened his account for the season from the penalty spot, cancelling out Bobby-Joe Taylor's opener.

But skipper Kevin Lokko restored Dover's lead after the break, leaving Dennis to play the role of hero.

Neal Ardley was forced into one change in central defence, with the injured Damien McCrory being replaced by the returning Ben Turner.

The boss opted for a keeper-less bench as Nathan Tyson also completed his return from injury by taking his place among the substitutes.

Dover nearly had the dream start when, with three minutes on the clock, Josh Passley stooped to meet Taylor's cross. Under pressure from Slocombe, he crashed his header off the crossbar.

Our response came 10 minutes later when Enzio Boldewijn cut in from the left before rolling the ball to Wes Thomas, who could only side-foot it over the bar from just inside the area.

The game then entered a lull with both sides cancelling each other out for a lengthy period.

Spectators had to wait until the 28th minute for the next opportunity as Sam Osborne's endeavour resulted in the ball breaking to Kyle Wootton on the edge of Dover's area. He could only fire it straight at keeper Lee Worgan.

We just about had the edge - but the hosts had the lead on 35 minutes when Taylor directed a free-kick into the top corner after Boldewijn had fouled Nassim L'Ghoul 20 yards out.

But Taylor's joy soon turned to dispair as, moments later, he felled the rampaging Richard Brindley in the area to allow Rose to restore parity with a sweetly-struck penalty.

The momentum was well and truly with us and Wootton's eyes lit up when he turned his man on the edge of the area. He could only send his shot over, however.

Half-time was nearing but there was still time for another chance as Osborne clipped a lovely first-time pass down the touchline for Zoumana Bakayogo to race on to. The left back's low cross beat a defender in the middle and found its way to Thomas, whose goalbound effort was brilliantly blocked.

One minute was added on at the end of a half which by this point looked destined to end with the scores level.

But that was only the case thanks to brilliant work from Sam Slocombe, who made an excellent save to deny Dover dangerman Inih Offiong from point-blank range.

We reemerged for the second half unchanged and nearly took the lead shortly after the restart as Osborne stung Worgan's palms with a fiercely-struck effort from the edge of the area. Rose kept the move alive with a cross into the box which resulted in Thomas attempting an overhead kick which went wide of the post.

But we were kicking ourselves shortly afterards when a lofted ball into our area caused us all sorts of problems and, after Effiong had failed to pounce, Lokko finished with aplomb from six yards.

Wootton led our charge for an equaliser on 66 minutes, showing good strength to hold off a defender so he could get into the box and shoot. Worgan saved but the rebound came out to Thomas, who smashed the ball goalwards from eight yards. Somehow, Worgan got in the way to make a superb save with his head to the dismay of the 355 travelling Magpies.

Ardley's first change followed as Sean Shields replaced Osborne in a like-for-like switch on the left wing.

But it was a cross from the Dover right which nearly brought about the next goal as two substitutes combined for the hosts, Ricky Modeste delivering for Kurtis Cumberbatch who could only nod the ball wide.

Moments later, Brindley made a superb last-ditch challenge in the area to prevent Effiong from making it three.

Ardley sent on Dennis in place of Thomas with 10 minutes to play and Notts mustered a couple of half-chances shortly afterwards, with Wootton seeing a shot deflected behind and Boldewijn hitting an effort against the substitute at the back post.

As we pressed for an equaliser space was inevitably opening up in our defence, too, and Effiong nearly capitalised when he had the pace to race clear of our back line. He decided to take his shot early, attempting to lob Slocombe but instead sending the ball high into the stand behind the goal.

Boldewijn then saw another effort blocked as it looked like it wasn't going to be our day.

But Dennis had other ideas as, in the final mnute of normal time, he produced a cute header from Rose's cross to level it up once again.

Four minutes were added on at the end of the match and Notts were dealt a late scare when Cumberbatch raced through one-on-one with Slocombe.

But, just as he did late in the first half, the keeper made an excellent save to ensure we took a point with us on our long journey back to Nottingham.


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