Kelly strikes late to deny Dover Athletic a draw at The Crabble

Kelly strikes late to deny Dover Athletic a draw at The Crabble

Photo: Grace Scott

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Dover Athletic 0, Maidenhead United 1

Josh Kelly netted a 92nd minute winner as Maidenhead United’s second half pressure finally paid off against already relegated Dover Athletic at The Crabble.

It had looked like the Magpies would be held to a second straight goalless draw – after Tuesday’s frustrating stalemate with Wealdstone – but United’s leading scorer Kelly fired home the game’s only goal in the final seconds.

For much of the match, United had been thwarted by an exceptional goalkeeping display from Alexis Andre.

The Whites' keeper had performed heroics throughout the second half, as the Magpies stepped up the pressure in search of an opener. He made a series of super saves, including one to deny Shawn McCoulsky just two minutes from time.

But his good work was undone when the Magpies launched one final attack, and the broke for Kelly in the six-yard box who fired home unerringly.

By that stage, the Whites were down to 10 men after Luke Baptiste was sent off for a second bookable offence with five minutes to play. His dismissal gave the Magpies the impetus they needed to go on and claim all three points, however, in truth, the game should have been put to bed before he was given his marching orders. 

The first half was an even affair with few notable chances, however, the Magpies looked marginally more threatening.

In the sixth minute Charlee Adams fired just off target while Emile Acquah – who played up front in an attacking line up alongside Kelly and Sam Barratt – headed another decent chance from a corner wide of the mark. Remy Clerima was forced off with an injury in the 15th minute and was replaced by Ryheem Sheckleford, while the Magpies had a penalty appeal turned down when Sam Beckwith went down under a challenge in the area.

United were much improved after the interval, carving out a series of good chances but Andre was equal to them all until Kelly popped up with the late winner. The Whites keeper gathered in a low strike from Kane Ferdinand in the 58th minute, while McCoulsky – a half-time substitute for Acquah – went close in the 68th minute but the angle was just a little too acute to get his shot on target.

The visitors came close to breaking the deadlock in the 74th minute when both McCoulsky and Kelly were presented with excellent chances, however, Andre made sprawling saves to deny them both. He then palmed out another attempt from McCoulsky in the 77th minute and Kelly fired over the bar from an Adams’ corner a minute later.

Just when it seemed the Magpies would be frustrated in consecutive away matches, Baptiste was shown a red card, opening the door for one final onslaught from the visitors. Devonshire rolled the dice, replacing Shaun Donnellan with Josh Smile and United pressed forward with renewed vigour. An incredible diving save from Andre denied McCoulsky the winner in the 88th minute but the Magpies didn’t give up and Kelly won it at the death when he found the net with his second goal in three matches.

That goal, combined with a late equaliser for Yeovil Town at King’s Lynn Town, lifted the Magpies 13 points clear of the relegation zone with six matches to play. It also lifted them above Eastleigh, Wealdstone and Barnet to 16th ahead of Weymouth’s visit to York Road this Friday (3pm kick-off).

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