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Dartford 3 Weston 2 match report

By Matthew Panting

Alex Brown turned from zero to hero by firing Dartford up to third spot on Tuesday night.

Brown saw red in the FA Trophy defeat to Chelmsford on Saturday but smashed in a stunning winner for Darts against Weston-super-Mare in National League South.

His goal from 20 yards out came with just seven minutes remaining and was the perfect response to Saturday's red card.

Alex Brown. Picture Andy Payton

Alex Brown. Picture: Andy Payton

Dartford started brightly enough with skipper Elliot Bradbrook firing over on eight minutes.

The hosts thought they had taken the lead two minutes later through Ryan Hayes. His left-foot shot found the bottom corner but Danny Harris ran across keeper Luke Purnell and was flagged offside by the assistant referee.

Almost immediately, Weston found the breakthrough with their first attack of note. Dayle Grubb took on right-back Keaton Wood and crossed into the penalty area for Gethyn Hill to turn the ball home from close range.

It needed the safe hands of Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim to keep out long-range shots from Grubb and Lloyd Humphries as Weston grew in confidence.

Dartford's best openings came through the wing play of Hayes but Luke Wanadio on the left failed to have a similar impact.

Strikers Harris and Tom Murphy worked tirelessly but were feeding off scraps as Darts hit too many long balls and boss Tony Burman became increasingly animated as the game wore on.

Burman's half-time team talk clearly did the job as Darts came out with renewed vigour after the break, Wanadio firing a low shot goalwards inside the first minute.

They should have levelled on 51 minutes as Wanadio bundled his way into the penalty area and found Harris, but his shot was deflected wide for a corner with the keeper out of position.

The equaliser did arrive on 58 minutes, however, as Tom Wynter arrived on the edge of the penalty area and his low left-foot shot was too good for Purnell.

The confidence was back in Dartford's side and they went ahead on 66 minutes. Hayes' deep cross was brilliantly headed back across goal by Wanadio and Harris slided in to score from close range.

Danny Harris. Picture Andy Payton

Danny Harris. Picture: Andy Payton

Weston refused to give in, though. They enjoyed a huge slice of luck to make it 2-2 on 71 minutes. A good break down the left saw Bradbrook win the ball but it went straight to Humphries, whose shot from the edge of the box was deflected past the stranded Ibrahim.

But this Dartford team were not going to be denied and Brown's stunning finish ensured a happy ending at Princes Park.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Wood, Wynter, Bonner, Vint, Brown, Hayes, Bradbrook, Harris, Murphy (Noble 77mins), Wanadio. Subs not used: Dembele, Seixas, Habte, Coxall.

Weston: Purnell, Pope (Reid 76mins), Barker, Humphries, Baldwin, Menayese, Chamberlain (Cane 54mins), Kington, Ash, Grubb, Hill (Lee 87mins). Subs not used: Anderson, Williams.

Attendance: 538.

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