Dover Athletic 1

Bird 57′ pen

Torquay United 0

United suffered defeat at the Crabble Stadium going down to a penalty from Dover striker, Ryan Bird.

United were hit by a double whammy of decisions, first conceding a penalty given against Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, and then moments later the sending off of striker, Rhys Healey. Elliott Romain also received a red card in added on time in the second half.

Gary Owers made two changes to the match day squad that beat Woking seven days ago. Vincent Dorel missed out after receiving a knock against Woking, with Ryan Clarke coming off the bench to take his place. Neal Osborn came onto the bench.

The game struggled to catch fire in the first half. Dover forced four corners in a row in the opening five minutes, and then Mitch Brundle got a shot away in the 13th minute, but Clarke was right behind it.

Rhys Healey was at the centre of everything United did well. There were moments of ingenuity from the on loan striker, and it was unfortunate that they didn’t result in a goal. In the 16th minute he was momentarily free inside Dover’s box. He took a touch, and with his second he tried to chip Walker but his effort wasn’t on target. Then in the 22nd minute he was able to test Walker at his near post.

Dover then had opportunities of their own, generally resulting from a counter-attack. Ryan Bird the one to head just wide of goal under pressure from McGinty.

Healey was at it again in the 31st minute when he met the ball just inside the box. He took one touch, and then his shot was just wide of goal. Then just before the half-time break he took on a defender inside the box, he twisted and turned but couldn’t quite shake his man. His shot was blocked.

The second half continued much in the same vein as the first until the 56th minute when Connor Lemonheigh-Evans was adjudged to have handled inside the box.

The referee judged that Evans had hand stopped Giancarlo Gallifuoco’s volley. Ryan Bird sent Clarke the wrong way to open the scoring.

Just moments later United were down to ten men. Rhys Healey was given his second yellow card after catching Essam trying to charge down a clearance. His first was given by the referee for simulation early in the first half.

The sending off limited United in attack, despite Gary Owers keeping Williams and Romain as a front two. United stayed competitive in keeping Dover at bay, but chances were few to come by.

Further attacking substitutions failed to change the game for United against a physical and well-organized Dover Athletic team.

Luke Young forced Walker to dive to his left anto keep the ball out late in the second half.

United forced one more chance. Gowling flicked on for Romain to head towards goal. Walker tipped the ball away from goal and Williams couldn’t beat Walker when the ball came out to him. It was at a difficult height.

Elliott Romain received a straight red card after catching Giancarlo Gallifuoco in added on time.

United are now seven points away from 20th place Solihull Moors with an inferior goal difference and will be missing Rhys Healey and Elliott Romain for the visit of AFC Fylde on Tuesday.

Thank you to the fans that made the long trip to Dover today.

Dover Athletic (3-4-3): 1 Mitch Walker, 2 Josh Passley, 3 Femi Ilesanmi, 4 Giancarlo Gallifuoco, 5 Manny Parry, 6 Connor Essam, 8 Mitch Brundle (c), 17 Ryan Bird, 18 Nortei Nortey, 25 Anthony Jeffrey [30 Adebayo Azeez 83′], 26 Kevin Lokko Substitutes (not used): 11 Mitch Pinnock, 23 Kadell Daniel, 28 Liam Bellamy, 29 Keani Marsh-Brown,

Booked: Ryan Bird, Gallifuoco 74′

United (3-4-3): 1 Ryan Clarke (GK), 26 Conrad Balatoni [2 Michee Efete 64′], 6 Josh Gowling, 5 Sean McGinty (capt); 21 Aaron Barnes [19Jamie Reid 76′], 8 Luke Young, 29 Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, 3 Liam Davis; 22 Elliott Romain, 28 Rhys Healey, 39 Brett Williams Substitutes (not used): 20 Neal Osborn (GK), 9 Jon-Paul Pittman, 18 Yan Klukowski,

Booked: Healey 11′ & 60′ , McGinty 77′, Gowling 79′,

Red Card: Healey, Romain 90’+2

Att: 1,128 (107 Away)