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Dartford 3 Havant & Waterloville 1

By Alex Hoad

Lee Noble

Dartford recovered from a slow start to keep their Blue Square Bet South title hopes alive with a 3-1 win over Havant & Waterlooville at Princes Park on Saturday.

The visitors made a bright start and took the lead after just eight minutes when the hosts failed to clear a corner and the ball was returned to the centre where defender Sam Pearce was left unmarked and fired past Louis Wells.

Jacob Erskine went close to a reply, only to see his off-balance header saved by Daniel Thompson but Havant were presented with a golden chance to make it 2-0 after just a quarter of an hour when Tom Bonner brought down Scott Jones in the box, only for the subsequent penalty to be lashed way over Wells’ bar.

However the let-off sparked Dartford into life and they were back on level terms within eight minutes when Erskine’s cross-shot across the face of goal was fired in by Lee Noble (pictured).

The game was almost turned on its head six minutes later but Danny Harris saw a strike ruled out for offside and Harris was also denied by Thompson after the break when the Hawks keeper superbly saved his poked effort.

Champion saw a header cleared off the line 25 minutes from time and Thompson denied an Adam Green drive before Darts finally took the lead for the first time with nine minutes remaining when Harris bundled home from close range after Tony Garrod flicked on a Ryan Hayes cut-back.

Hayes went close to a third, scuffing wide when clean through, but the clincher eventually arrived when a Hayes cross was powerfully headed in by on-loan Luke Wilkinson for his first Darts goal three minutes from time.

The win kept Darts eight points behind Woking – who beat Welling 2-1 – but Tony Burman’s side do have a game in hand.

Do you think Dartford will still win the Blue Square Bet South title? Leave your comments below.

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