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Dartford 4 Eastbourne Borough 2 match report

By Matthew Panting

Dartford went top of National League South after an exciting win over Eastbourne at Princes Park on Tuesday night.

The Darts continued their free-scoring start to the season, although two late goals at the wrong end angered boss manager Tony Burman when his team were seemingly cruising to victory.

It was one-way traffic in the first half as Dartford had all the chances and never looked troubled by an Eastbourne team who tried to pass their way forward but found little room to work in.

Dartford's Alex Brown. Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford's Alex Brown. Picture: Andy Payton

Lyle Della-Verde had a well-struck shot from distance early on go just wide of the target before Darts took a 23rd-minute lead when Alex Brown fired home from inside the area.

It was almost 2-0 two minutes later but Eastbourne keeper Bailey Vose did well to save Alfie Pavey's header from Ryan Hayes' deep cross.

Dartford nearly scored from a counter attack just before the break but the final pass was cut out by the lone Eastbourne defender.

Eastbourne enjoyed their best spell early in the second half but their shots lacked any power or accuracy. That said, Harley Willard's cross was brilliantly cleared by Keaton Wood and the same player then shot straight at keeper Deren Ibrahim after good play by Yemi Odubade.

Dartford doubled their lead just after the hour mark. Hayes, who was playing his 400th game for the Darts, delivered a brilliant corner from the right that was nodded in by Pavey at close range.

The visitors seemed to drop their heads and it was no surprise when another set-piece led to Dartford's third goal with 14 minutes left. A deep free-kick was met by skipper Elliot Bradbrook, whose header was expertly directed inside the upright.

Eastbourne pulled one back six minutes from time when Jamie Taylor fizzed home from 20 yards.

But Darts came back on 88 minutes to lead 4-1 in controversial circumstances. Eastbourne took a quick free-kick but fired it straight against the grounded Hayes, presumably in a bid to get the Dartford player booked. It backfired, however, as Darts played in substitute Tom Murphy, who raced clear and rounded Vose before slotting home.

Dartford's joy was short-lived, however, as sloppy defending saw Lee Noble turn the ball into his own net.

The Darts lost their way in the closing stages and gave possession up too cheaply. But they always had too much firepower for Eastbourne to cope with as they took their league tally to 27 goals in 11 games.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris (Vint 67mins), Wood, Bonner, Sho-Silva, Noble, Hayes, Bradbrook, Pavey (Murphy 82mins), Brown, Della-Verde (Pugh 58mins). Subs not used: Cue, Ajala.

Eastbourne: Vose, Kinda-John (Ransom 82mins), McCallum, Willis, Simpenda, Charman (Worrall 77mins), Willard, Torres, Odubade, Taylor, Harris (Pinney 63mins). Subs not used: Redwood, Drage.

Attendance: 702.

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