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Home Dartford News Article
By Steve Tervet
Dartford came from behind to claim a point from a hard-fought clash with Stockport County at Princes Park on Tuesday night.
The visitors dominated the first half and took an early lead through Mark Cullen, but a Danny Harris equaliser was the least the Darts deserved for their second-half endeavours.
Dartford boss Tony Burman (pictured) named the same side which drew 2-2 at Southport on Saturday. Mark Arber, still shaking off a recent illness, was again named among the substitutes and Tom Champion partnered Tom Bonner in central defence.
After a quiet start, the hosts went close when Lee Burns delivered an inviting cross which James Rogers headed wide at the far post.
But it was Stockport who opened the scoring on 11 minutes. Adnan Cirak unloaded with a shot which goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli shovelled back into the six-yard box, gifting Cullen an opportunity which he gobbled up from close range.
Bettinelli then had another shaky moment, dropping a deep cross at the feet of Cirak, who lacked composure as he blazed a wild shot over the bar.
Stockport arrived in north Kent on the back of three straight home defeats and perilously close to the Blue Square Bet Premier drop zone but they played with a confidence which belied their league position. Jon Nolan headed over from a Cullen cross and Cirak forced Bettinelli to hold his long-range shot as County continued to force the issue.
The Darts keeper then pushed a Danny Whitehead shot round the base of the post. Dartford did come to life as half-time approached but Rogers and Hayes were both off-target with efforts from inside the box.
After the break, the home side showed greater urgency and Hayes unloaded with a half-volley which fizzed just past the angle of post and bar.
Burman made a double substitution midway through the second-half and one of the players introduced, Gillingham loanee Jack Evans, made a real difference with some deadly set-piece deliveries.
The home side looked the more likely scorers and sure enough, they equalised with 20 minutes remaining. After an almighty scramble inside the box, Harris got his foot to the ball and forced it over the line.
Suddenly, the home fans could sense a winner and Crawford rolled a shot just wide of the far post before another substitute, Nathan Collier, whipped an effort across goal and behind.
There was to be no late drama, though, with County surviving a series of late Dartford corners to ensure the spoils were shared.
Dartford: Bettinelli, Burns, Bonner, Champion, Green, Hayes, Wallis (Evans 64mins), Bradbrook, Rogers (Erskine 64mins), Harris (Collier 79mins), Crawford. Subs not used: Arber, Sutton. Attendance: 757.
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