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Dartford 1 Wrexham 2 match report

By Steve Tervet
Lee Noble shields the ball from Wrexham midfielder Joe Clarke Picture: Richard Eaton

Dartford lost at home to Wrexham on the first day of the Vanarama Conference season.

Wes York headed the Welsh side in front but Tom Bradbrook, making his second Dartford debut, levelled things up early in the second half.

Wrexham, though, left north Kent with all three points when York doubled his tally late on.

Six of Dartford's new signings - Jason Brown, Rory McAuley, Adam Green, Luke Daley, Andy Pugh and Tom Bradbrook - started the game. Bradbrook was preferred in attack to Harry Crawford, who was named on the bench alongside Peter Sweeney, the Darts' most recent summer arrival.

Elliot Bradbrook (ankle) had been a doubt in the days leading up to the game but the Dartford captain took his place in central midfield for the home side.

All six of Kevin Wilkin's summer signings started for Wrexham. That meant Stoke loanee Daniel Bachmann played in goal at the expense of Andy Coughlin.

The visitors, like Dartford, boasted a new-look strikeforce: Louis Moult and Connor Jennings.

Daley had the first effort for Tony Burman's men, dragging a shot wide from 20 yards.

But the visitors carried a real threat from set-pieces. One corner from Neil Ashton was headed back across goal and the ball dropped for Elliott Durrell, who forced a good low save from debutant Brown.

Dartford should have taken the lead in the 20th minute. Nathan Collier's ball over the top caught Wrexham's defence cold and Tom Bradbrook had time to set himself inside the box. But the striker, who joined from Leatherhead in the summer, snatched badly at his shot, which skewed wide of the near post.

Debutant Luke Daley gets a shot away despite the attentions of Manny Smith Picture: Richard Eaton

Bachmann looked nervous whenever the ball was played back to him and his poor kicking invited Dartford forward.

The men in white shirts started to get into their stride. They might have been awarded a penalty when former Welling defender Blaine Hudson barged McAuley in the back - but referee David Rock said no.

And so it was somewhat against the run of play that Wrexham took the lead on the half-hour. Jennings delivered a fine cross from the left and York's header had enough pace on it to beat Brown at the far post.

Dartford stayed positive, though. Elliot Bradbrook pulled the ball back from the right-hand byline and Tom, his younger brother, fired a shot just wide.

And less than eight minutes into the second half, the Darts were level. Noble swung over a corner from the left and Tom Bradbrook bundled the ball over the line to make it 1-1.

Back came the Red Dragons, Jay Harris shooting wide from distance and Moult then heading a York cross just over.

Burman brought Crawford on for goalscorer Bradbrook just after the hour but the former Barnet player failed to make an impact on the game.

Dartford had to withstand a series of Wrexham corners, the last of which was delivered by Ashton and headed across the face of goal by impressive centre-back Manny Smith.

The next chance went to Dartford, Daley improvising a volley which flew just past the angle.

But a moment of quality opened up the home defence with 12 minutes left. Moult's cheeky scooped pass played in his former Nuneaton team-mate York, who prodded the ball into the net.

Wes York (16) has just scored the winning goal for Wrexham Picture: Richard Eaton

Green tried his luck late on, when another Noble corner was nodded into his path by Elliot Bradbrook, but the ball whistled into the home fans behind the goal.

And it might have been 3-1 in the end, Jennings shooting just wide in stoppage-time.

Dartford: Brown, Burns, McAuley, Mitchel-King, Green, Noble, Collier, E Bradbrook, Daley (Sweeney 83mins), Pugh (Harris 73mins), T Bradbrook (Crawford 63mins). Subs not used: Cornhill, Hayes.

Wrexham: Bachmann, Carrington, Hudson, Smith, Ashton, Durrell (Bailey-Jones 69mins), Harris, Clarke, York, Moult, Jennings. Subs not used: Coughlin, Evans, Rushton, Stephens.

Attendance: 1,561.

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