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Dover Athletic crowned Ryman Premier champions

PUBLISHED: 12:57 31 March 2009 | UPDATED: 23:35 21 September 2011

Dover Athletic 6 Sutton United 0

By Tom Howard

Dover Athletic have wrapped up the Ryman Premier League title with five games remaining following a stunning performance at Crabble. 

Andy Hessenthaler's side secured back-to-back promotions following a draw by nearest rivals Staines Town at Hastings United, as Staines had to win to keep the title race alive. The result means Dover will be playing Blue Square South football next season.  

Dover started strongly and they could have taken the lead with just two minutes on the clock. A Jon Wallis free-kick from the right found Shaun Welford unmarked at the far post, but his header drifted wide of the post.

Sutton struggled to deal with Dover's attacking threat early on and spent the majority of the half defending.

Dover's increased pressure on the Sutton defence told on 36 minutes, as Hessenthaler's side took the lead. A drilled Wallis free-kick rebounded off a Sutton defender in the area and James Rogers slotted the ball into the net.

The home side could have extended their lead minutes before the interval, but Alan Pouton's shot whistled past the post.     

Sutton came out fighting for the second half and almost levelled the game four minutes after the restart. Sutton's David Hughes found a rare gap in the Dover defence and his near post shot forced a save from Preston Edwards, his first of the afternoon.

The scare prompted Dover to attack and they wrapped up the game in the next 10 minutes by scoring twice. First a ball from Dean Hill found Frannie Collin, who rounded the Sutton goalkeeper Paul Nicholls and calmly placed the ball into the net.

With the Dover fans still celebrating they scored a third goal with Welford slamming the ball into the net from Wallis' rebounded shot.

Sutton looked a beaten side in the final 20 minutes and Dover sealed the victory with a fourth goal from substitute Matt Bodkin, who headed in a Welford cross on 80 minutes. Five minutes later Welford added a fifth with a diving header and the sixth followed shortly after through Hill.   

All eyes turned to the game between Staines and Hastings United and an equaliser from United's Sam Adams sparked wild celebrations at Crabble as Dover were confirmed Ryman Premier League champions.    

Attendance: 1484 Dover Athletic: Edwards, Fish, Schulz, Ball, Hill, Wallis, Rogers, Pouton (Jones 80 mins), Browning (Hughes 85 mins), Collin (Bodkin 75 mins), WelfordSubs not used:  Gore, Keister

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