Full-time: Cheltenham 0 Dover 1
Cheltenham Town were knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league opposition for the second year in succession as Dover Athletic caused an upset at Whaddon Road.
Connor Essam’s 83rd minute strike was enough to take Chris Kinnear’s men through and deny the Robins a potentially lucrative tie in round three.
Conference side Dover made the stronger start, forcing Trevor Carson into evasive action twice.
First Nick Deverdics’ looping effort was touched over by the stretching goalkeeper in the 16th minute.
And two minutes later Stefan Payne found Tom Murphy, who made room for a shot which was parried by the in-form Carson.
Having struggled early on, Cheltenham grew into the game, with Craig Braham-Barrett a constant threat with his attacks down the left wing.
Boss Paul Buckle had named the same starting line-up, but a different formation, with 3-4-3 replacing 4-4-2 for the Robins.
Wide man Braham-Barrett’s run and low shot from a tight angle was saved by Andrew Rafferty in the 24th minute.
Cheltenham nearly opened the scoring in the 29th minute when Byron Harrison linked up with Kane Ferdinand, setting up Terry Gornell, whose shot was deflected against the right post.
Gornell did have the ball in the net after 35 minutes, heading in Kane Ferdinand’s cross from the right, but the ball had gone out of play and the effort was ruled out, with a corner awarded instead.
Dover’s Thomas Bonner blazed over the bar from a good position 10 minutes into the second half after a goalmouth scramble when Cheltenham could not clear their lines.
Braham-Barrett set up Jason Taylor for a low shot which rolled wide of the left upright on the hour as Cheltenham searched for a breakthrough.
Taylor was off target again in the 72nd minute after Harrison’s square ball before Murphy’s powerful drive was parried by Carson at the other end.
Tyrone Sterling hit the inside of the post in the 82nd minute as Dover were inches away from causing an upset.
And they broke the deadlock from the resulting corner, with skipper Essam finding the bottom left corner to send the travelling fans behind the goal wild.
Cheltenham Town (3-4-3): Carson; Deaman, M Taylor, Brown; De Vita (Kotwica 88), J Taylor, Richards, Braham-Barrett; Ferdinand, Harrison, Gornell (Williams 88). Subs not used: Haworth, Gould, Hanks, Black, Sterling-James.
Dover Athletic (5-3-2): Rafferty; Essam, Sterling, Bonner, Orlu, Francis, Kinnear, Davies (Wynter 39), Deverdics, Murphy, Payne. Subs not used: Bellamy, Cogan, Reid, Nanetti, Hook, Poole.
Referee: Dean Whitestone.
Attendance: 3,352 (587 away).
Star man: Craig Braham-Barrett.