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Home Dartford Sport Article
Dartford had victory snatched away from them at the death by 10-man Aldershot on Tuesday night.
Elliot Bradbrook opened the scoring from the penalty spot, six minutes into first-half stoppage-time, after Shots keeper Glenn Morris had been sent-off for bringing down Alex Wall.
But the visitors earned a point with two minutes left courtesy of a superb Brett Williams half-volley from distance.
Dartford boss Tony Burman described his players as "shattered" after Saturday's 2-0 win over Hereford, but he was able to field the same team for a third game running.
Before the game was five minutes old, Aldershot suffered a serious injury. Joe Partington came off worse in a 50-50 challenge with Wall and, after lying motionless on the ground for several minutes, was stretchered off.
Both teams struggled to get any rhythm into their play but when things did settle down, it was Dartford who began to assert their authority.
They won a series of corners in quick succession and from one of these, an Alex Woodyard delivery, Rory McAuley climbed well at the back post and headed the ball dangerously back across goal. White shirts piled in and Bradbrook looked set to stab the loose ball home, but Aldershot managed to scramble his effort off the line.
Wall cracked a free-kick over the bar after Danny Harris had been fouled on the corner of the box, before Bradley Bubb tried his luck with a shot on the turn at the other end. The ball was fired straight at goalkeeper Alan Julian, though, who gathered easily.
Morris faced a stiffer test moments later when Bradbrook burst into the box, the Shots keeper doing well to save with his foot.
The Darts had been on top for much of the first half but they survived a scare when Jordan Roberts' shot took a wicked deflection off Mat Mitchel-King and Julian had to adjust quickly to save with his legs.
Four minutes were added by referee Amy Fearn and they were almost up when Aldershot skipper Craig Stanley clattered Woodyard just inside the Dartford half, picking up a yellow card for his troubles. Lee Burns pumped the free-kick into the box and it fell at the feet of Williams, who only needed to knock it out of play to see out time. But, inexplicably, he turned back into traffic and Mitchel-King nicked the ball into the path of Wall, who was taken out by Morris. Fearn pointed to the spot and sent Morris off. Bradbrook slammed the penalty past substitute keeper Luke Williams as the clocked ticked past 51 minutes.
It was a breathless end to the first half.
The second was a battle, with the Shots desperate to find a way back into the game and Dartford equally determined not to let them.
Woodyard's cross from wide on the right picked out Wall, unmarked, but the Luton loanee's radar was askew and he headed the ball well wide.
Another delivery from the excellent Woodyard was sliced just wide of his own post by Chris Barker, who looked relieved to see the ball flash behind for a corner.
Dartford hunted their visitors down relentlessly, not giving them a moment's respite. Jim Stevenson won the ball in central midfield and sent Wall racing clear, but Jaydon Gibbs got back to thwart him with a superb saving tackle.
Woodyard was rightly cheered from the field when he was replaced by Lee Noble with 16 minutes left.
Still the home side were winning the loose balls in midfield and chasing into the corners. Their desire was insatiable.
Noble played a pass into Wall's feet but Williams saved his low shot. At the other end, Bubb looped an effort over Julian but it dropped just over the bar.
Desperate Aldershot finally began to pile on the pressure in the closing stages, but time seemed to be against them.
That was until Williams, whose blunder led to Dartford's penalty, went from zero to hero with a magnificent half-volley from 25 yards out which seared past Julian and nestled in the bottom corner.
Dartford: Julian, Burns, Mitchel-King, McAuley, Sterling, Woodyard (Noble 74mins), Cornhill, Stevenson, Bradbrook, Harris, Wall (Swallow 85mins). Subs not used: Clark, Collier, Wellham.
Aldershot: Morris, Oastler, Stanley, Taiwo, B Williams, Bubb, Roberts, Barker, Partington (Tonkin 7mins, Scott 83mins), Gibbs, Plummer (L Williams 45mins). Subs not used: Mekki, Rowlands.
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