Cheltenham Town 3-2 Dover Athletic
2,021 (96 from Dover)ATTENDANCE:
Walker; Raggett, Grimes (c), Orlu; Magri (Gibbs 59), Parkinson, Miller, Bellamy, Sterling (Thomas 78); Miller (Ofori-Acheampong 80), Payne. Subs not used: Diallo, Ajala.DOVER ATHLETIC (3-5-2):
Phillips, Dickie, Parslow, Downes (c), Barthram; Waters (Rowe 85), Pell, Storer, Munns (Vaughan 46); Morgan-Smith. Subs not used: Kitscha (Gk), Hall, Cooke.CHELTENHAM TOWN (4-4-2):
But the winner arrived six minutes from time, Dickie rolling the ball in Waters’ path down the right who smashed home from a similar position to his first goal to steal all the points.
There was a chance for Morgan-Smith with 10 minutes to go, but he fluffed his shot from six yards.
Cheltenham’s chances were enhanced four minutes later when Liam Bellamy picked up a second yellow card for a foul on Dickie. He had been cautioned for protesting the penalty 22 minutes earlier.
He could have had a second 18 minutes from time when Pell lifted a ball into the box that Morgan-Smith chested into his path, but this time the former Wrexham and Gateshead man dragged his shot wide of the target.
It gave hard-working frontman the chance to net his third of the season, coolly slotting home to Walker’s left.
Waters caused the visitors plenty of problems throughout and was bundled to the ground by Sam Magri after a good move down the left.
Wright then called Walker into a fine save before pulling his side level with the game’s second penalty, and there was no doubt about this one.
His side started it much better than the first and produced the first chance, Waters crossing to Storer who glanced one wide of the target.
Lee Vaughan was sent on at the start of the second half, replacing Munns with Johnson switching to 3-5-2 for the second period.
They finished the first period the stronger team and fashioned a couple more chances before the break, first Downes found Pell with a cross from the right but the midfielder didn’t get enough on his header. Then Morgan-Smith forced his way through the middle but didn’t really trouble Walker with an effort from 20 yards.
It was such an important goal and it proved to be the turning point in the game, inspiring the Robins to turn it around.
Waters pulled one back seven minutes before the break, racing onto Munns’ ball down the right channel and finished under Walker from 12 yards.
Cheltenham had been on the attack, but surrendered possession and were forced into defence. The ball found the midfielder, but for some reason he headed one back into the box, where Payne was on hand to drill a low angled effort under Phillips.
However Dover took advantage of another mistake to double their advantage with 31 minutes on the clock, this time Kyle Storer was the guilty party.
Parslow made a mess of his clearance, but the Dover number nine somehow contrived to lift the ball over when it was easier to score.
Harry Pell became the first player to go into the book when he stretched to tackle Liam Bellamy, and it gave Dover the chance to pump one into the box.
Wright, Jack Munns, Amari Morgan-Smith and Waters all went close, while at the other end Miller wasted a golden chance to extend his side’s lead from a couple of yards out.
It capped a lacklustre start by the Robins, who only really found a foothold in the game with 20 minutes played.
The home faithful weren’t happy with the decision, but it was unnecessary from the Reading loanee and Deverdics made no mistake from 12 yards, sending Dillon Phillips the wrong way.
The pair tussled in the box, but Dickie then tugged at Payne’s neck as the striker moved away from goal and after taking a moment to consider his decision, Mr Pottage pointed to the spot.
Ricky Miller had been a whisker away from giving Dover an early lead from the edge of the box when Dickie was adjudged to have pulled back Stefan Payne in the third minute.
In the end it was the perfect way to respond to last week’s disappointment, and it went some way to atone for last season’s dismal FA Cup second round defeat.
Their cause was helped 14 minutes from time when Liam Bellamy was dismissed for a second yellow, and they went on to capitalise on the extra man to bag the winner with six minutes left on the clock.
Gary Johnson shuffled his pack at the break and his side responded well, Danny Wright squaring the match from the spot 10 minutes after the restart.
But Waters, back in the side at the expense of Asa Hall after last weekend’s dramatic defeat by Altrincham, scored with the interval approaching to spark the revival.
They had everything to do after gifting the Kent side two early goals here, falling behind for the fifth time in nine matches this term.
Not for the first time this season they didn’t make it easy for themselves.
Two goals by Billy Waters inspired Cheltenham Town to another memorable come-from-behind victory over ten-man Dover Athletic at the World of Smile Stadium.