Pools fell to their second successive defeat and finished
the game with only nine men during a fractious affair with Dover Athletic at
The afternoon's proceedings were overshadowed by allegations
of racist abuse by a small minority of fans in the home end following InihEffiong's emphatic opening goal from the penalty spot.
There was even a threat that both sets of players were going
to walk off the pitch at one stage in the aftermath, while the Club reacted
quickly to condemn the action of the perpetrators in a strong statementfollowing the final whistle.
Craig Hignett had made two changes to his starting line-up as
Kenton Richardson returned to the defence in the absence of the injured FraserKerr, and Nicke Kabamba was restored to the attack.
The changes seemed to have a positive impact and it was
Pools who made the early running, with Gime Toure looking dangerous down theright and Kabamba a handful through the middle.
However, it was the visitors who registered the first meaningful
effort when Jai Reason's angled drive skipped up in tricky fashion on BenKillip but the Pools keeper did well to paw it away to safety.
Things swung in Dover's favour ten minutes before the break
when Effiong was adjudged to have been fouled by Aaron Cunningham whilst firinga shot over the bar.
While there was a little debate over the decision there was
little doubt about Effiong's finish as he rammed the spot-kick in to the topcorner of the net.
A lengthy stoppage ensued after the celebrations but when
play finally got back underway there was a subdued atmosphere in the ground asthe 11 minutes of first half injury time were played out with little incident.
The visitors began the second half the brighter but Pools
got a foothold as things wore on and Nicke Kabamba could have brought them level
after escaping through on goal but his low effort was well turned away bykeeper Lee Worgan.
Toure was also starting to have more of an impact from the
left and a mesmerising run past three visiting defenders almost provided amemorable equaliser only for his shot to cannon back off the post.
Ryan Donaldson stung the palms of Worgan with a left-foot drive
from the edge of the area, while Killip had to be alert at the other end to
keep out Effiong just as it looked like the Dover front man was on for his secondgoal of the day.
There was an extraordinary moment on 77 minutes when a ball
in from the right caused chaos in the Athletic penalty area. Kabamba saw his
effort blocked on the line, Raynes' follow-up was also blocked by a defender
before the Pools centre-back forced another effort on goal which was clawedaway by keeper Worgan to somehow deny Hignett's men a leveller.
The referee had already waved away two good appeals for a
penalty from Pools when Toure burst forward on the counter and in to the area
where he looked as though he was upended. However, the official was again
unmoved and refused to point to the spot, with Donaldson shown a straight redcard for his protests and boss Hignett also sent-off in the aftermath.
To rub salt in to the wounds, the visitors tied up their win
when former Gateshead man Steven Rigg bundled in from close range before the
referee then also brandished a straight red card to Pools midfielder NickyFeatherstone for something he said.
Boos rang out at the final whistle and there were some ugly
scenes in the tunnel following the game on what had been a forgettableafternoon for Pools in more ways than one.
Full Time: Pools 0 Dover Athletic 2
Pools: Killip, Kioso, Richardson (James 73), Raynes, Cunningham, Kitching, Mafuta, Noble (Featherstone 78), Donaldson, Toure, Kabamba.
Subs not used: Holohan, Hawkes, Kennedy.
Booked: Raynes, Richardson, Noble.
Sent-off: Donaldson, Featherstone.
Dover Athletic: Worgan, Passley (Taylor 46), De Havilland, Cumberbatch, Simpson, Doe, Woods, Reason, Rigg (Rooney 87), Effiong, Modeste.
Subs not used: Mersin, Lokko, L'Ghoul.
Attendance: 3,329 (56 Dover Athletic)
Referee: Joseph Johnson.