Tuesday evening’s heavy rain didn’t deter another good crowd from turning up at the Charles Ground to watch the Hoops’ second pre-season friendly against Dover Athletic.
And, as against Margate on Saturday, Deal gave a good account of themselves against a team from a higher level before eventually losing 3-0 to their Vanarama National League opponents.
For the Dover supporters present it was their first opportunity to see the new-look Whites’ squad following all the “comings and goings” at Crabble during the past couple of months and it was one of the new faces, George Essuman, who opened the scoring on the half hour mark with an acrobatic overhead kick following a Mitch Brundle corner.
Although that was one of several corners Dover had forced in the opening period the Hoops again showed the same defensive resilience that had been a feature of their performance against Margate, and they almost equalised on the stroke of half-time when Joe Anderson’s glancing header from a Steve O’Brien cross struck the inside of a post.
Whites’ manager Chris Kinnear made nine changes at half-time including bringing on a number of trialists and it was one of the latter, whose name Whites’ officials weren’t prepared to reveal, who added Dover’s second goal with a 73rd-minute drive from outside the box.
At the other end one of Deal’s half-time subs, Amir Zureiqi, found the side-netting from an acute angle before Dover keeper Mitch Walker had to make his one genuine save of the night, pulling down a long-range strike from Lee Scott.
Then, with 11 minutes remaining, another of Dover’s new signings, ex-Newport County striker Ryan Bird, finished off the scoring with a sharp finish.
Deal team: Tonkin, Reeves, K Smith, Hill, O’Brien, Scott, Miller, Anderson, Adams, Gregory, Coyne. Subs: Zureiqi, Wilson, D Smith, Brunetti.
Dover starting XI: Walker, Fazakerley, Ilesamni, Essam, Parry, Essuman, Pinnock, Brundle, Richards, Allen, Sho-Silva.
The Hoops are in action at the Charles Ground again this Saturday (3pm) when they take on Aylesford side K Sports, who play in Division One of the Southern Counties East League.