Corby Town’s FA Cup dreams were ended as a powerful second-half display from Dover Athletic saw them secure a 2-1 success and book their place in Sunday’s second-round draw.
The Steelmen had the better of things in the opening period but the Skrill South side showed their class after the break as they dominated proceedings and eventually ran out worthy winners, despite Chris Carruthers pulling a goal back in stoppage-time.
As expected, Steel Park was packed out for the occasion and the middle of the pitch, which had been the cause of recent postponements due to drainage problems, had a cover taken off ahead of kick-off.
That area of the pitch held up well during the first half, in which Corby just about had the better of things.
Tom McGowan had an early effort blocked and joint-manager Tommy Wright didn’t get enough on a header from a cross from the left when he might have done better.
Tom Murphy headed wide with Dover’s first real opening but the Steelmen went so close to breaking the deadlock when Nathan Rooney and Tom McGowan both had shots blocked.
Corby goalkeeper Paul Walker’s only save of the half came when he held on to Craig Stone’s volley but it was the hosts who finished the better.
Rooney was the man out of luck again, however, as a fierce drive was blocked and then, just seconds later, another long-range effort was tipped over by Mitch Walker.
Dover started the second half the livelier and they broke the deadlock 11 minutes after the restart.
The Corby players weren’t happy with something in the build-up and vented their frustrations at referee Amy Fearn afterwards.
But from Dover’s point of view, the goal was simple enough as Murphy crossed from the left and Nathan Elder powerfully headed home.
Corby responded with Tom Berwick seeing his shot from an angle saved by Mitch Walker before McGowan’s effort was deflected over for corner.
But Dover doubled their advantage on 66 minutes and the goal proved to be a killer.
McGowan was penalised for a foul on the left wing. Barry Cogan whipped the free-kick in and Chris Kinnear, son of the Dover manager also named Chris, rose to flick the ball into the far corner.
That goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Steelmen and the game, although it did spark some pretty ugly scenes on the Castle End terrace as the two sets of supporters clashed.
On the pitch, Tom Wynter sent a fierce drive just wide for the visitors, who remained in full control as the Steelmen struggled to get anything going in the final third.
They were, however, given a bit of hope in stoppage-time when Carruthers thumped home from 12 yards.
And they almost snatched an unlikely equaliser in the final moments when Berwick clipped his shot wide of the mark after being given space in the area.
Alas, it was not to be and an equaliser would have been harsh on Dover, who were worthy winners for their second-half display.
Steelmen: Walker; Thomas, Malone, Gascoigne, Carruthers; L Hendrie (sub Jelleyman, 79 mins); S Hendrie (sub Shariff, 87 mins), McGowan, Rooney (sub Ives, 68 mins), Berwick; Wright. Subs not used: Healy, Ingram, Clarke.
Dover: M Walker; Stone, Raggett, Forbes, Wynter; Kinnear; Modeste (sub Bellamy, 44 mins), Rodgers, Murphy, Coogan; Elder. Subs not used: Charles, Bakare, Kamara, Orlu, Hook, Sawyer.
Referee: Amy Fearn.
Goals: Elder (56 mins, 0-1), Kinnear (66 mins, 0-2), Carruthers (90 mins, 1-2).
Bookings: McGowan, Wright (both fouls), S Hendrie, Stone (both unsporting behaviour).