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Dartford 1 Cambridge United 1

By Alex Hoad

A string of fine saves from keeper Marcus Bettenelli earned Dartford a point at home to in-form Cambridge in Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday.

The Darts were under pressure for long periods of the game, particularly in the second half, but the on-loan Fulham keeper meant they picked up a point to finish the calendar year seventh in the table.

Dartford v Cambridge United

The strong wind and driving rain meant conditions were never easy and both teams struggled for fluency early on.

Dartford took the lead on 23 minutes when a Lee Noble corner was not cleared and when Tom Bonner returned it across goal, Harry Crawford netted his 13th goal of the season with a perfectly-placed finish.

The goal ignited the visitors into action and they nearly levelled six minutes before the break but Bettenelli got down quickly to produce a stunning save to deny Sam Smith's low drive before the loose ball was cleared to safety.

Smith then failed to pick out a team-mate having burst into the penalty area, only for Cambridge to level the scores on the stroke of half-time. Presented with a free-kick 20 yards from goal, former Ebbsfleet forward Michael Gash opted for a low drive through a sea of players and the ball deceived Bettenelli and found the far corner.

After the break, former Welling striker Andy Pugh - playing wide in midfield - skipped past two challenges before his centre was handled, but Gash sent this free-kick harmlessly over the bar.

Bettenelli came into his own late on, denying Gash's 20-yard strike and then completing a double stop in stoppage time to keep out the forward.

Dartford's best effort came from a free-kick but Mark Arber couldn't keep his header on target with keeper Jonathon Hedge flapping at thin air.

Pictures: Top - Dartford go on the attack against Cambridge and, above right, celebrate Harry Crawford's goal. By Steve Crispe.

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