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Hungerford Town 2 Dartford 0 match report

By Steve Tervet

Dartford are still waiting to cement their play-off place after losing at Hungerford on Good Friday.

The visitors were very much second-best in Berkshire and two goals in the second half extended their winless run away from Princes Park to six matches.

Dartford remain fourth in National League South with three games of the regular season left. They are six points clear of Hungerford, in sixth, while seventh-placed Hampton & Richmond don't play until Saturday.

Dartford manager Tony Burman. Picture Andy Payton

Dartford manager Tony Burman. Picture: Andy Payton

 

There was a late change to the Dartford line-up after striker Duane Ofori-Acheampong injured himself during the warm-up. Andy Pugh, having been left out of the original starting XI, was drafted in to partner Alfie Pavey up front - the on-loan Millwall man making just his second start in a Darts shirt.

With boss Tony Burman mindful of Monday's home game against Hampton & Richmond, wingers Ryan Hayes and Luke Wanadio made way for Alex Brown and Tom Murphy while defender Keaton Wood again missed out with an ankle injury.

The first half delivered very little goalmouth activity with both teams struggling to gain control on a bumpy pitch in blustery conditions.

Dartford's delivery from wide areas was good early on but the end product, on each occasion, was lacking.

Lee Noble lashed over from Murphy's deep left-wing cross before Pavey, climbing well in the middle, sent his downward header from a Pugh centre just wide of the far post.

As the half wore on, Hungerford started to enjoy more possession.

Matt Day forced a save from Deren Ibrahim and Jon Boardman, sliding in at the back post, almost converted a whipped James Clark delivery after Tom Bonner had given away a cheap free-kick and subsequently been cautioned for dissent.

Sandwiched between those chances, Pavey got his head to a Noble free-kick but couldn't keep his effort down.

Right-back Rhys Tyler got in behind the Darts backline on the stroke of half-time and his low cross was begging to be converted but no-one in white could apply the crucial touch.

However, the hosts struck just 20 seconds into the second half.

Louie Soares was first to a bouncing ball in the Dartford box and although Ibrahim got fingertips to his stabbed effort, the ball rolled into the bottom corner.

Pugh headed over from Noble's corner at the other end but the goal rattled Dartford and Bradbrook followed Bonner into the book as Hungerford pressed for a second goal.

A couple of tame challenges failed to stop Luke Williams and the midfielder rifled a low shot just wide from 20 yards.

Danny Harris had his name taken for pulling back Warren Bentley and it was no surprise when Hungerford doubled their lead 18 minutes from time.

This time Soares turned provider, crossing low for Stefan Brown who made no mistake with a sharp finish at the near post.

It was almost 3-0 when Brown was left unmarked in the box, Hungerford's top scorer this time glancing a header narrowly over.

The home side looked dangerous with every ball they put into the box and substitute Harry Goodger tested Ibrahim when he connected with a deep delivery from the right.

Tempers boiled over in the closing stages. Ronnie Vint was booked after sliding in to challenge Goodger and a heated exchange followed between Burman and his opposite number, Bobby Wilkinson, with the Hungerford manager calling for Vint to be sent off.

Hungerford: Ward, Tyler, Jones (Thomas 53mins), Boardman, Day, Williams, Clark, Rees, S Brown (Goodger 77mins), Bentley (Meechan 82mins), Soares. Subs not used: O'Brien, Lynch.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Wynter, Bonner, Vint, A Brown, Noble (Hayes 69mins), Bradbrook, Pugh, Pavey (Wanadio 82mins), Murphy. Subs not used: Seixas, Coxall.

Attendance: 522.

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