Dartford 0 Grimsby Town 0 (Grimsby won 3-0 on aggregate)
Bradbrook meets Ryan Hayes' cross but Dartford's best chance of a
goal against Grimsby went
Picture: Andy Payton
by Steve Tervet
Dartford reached the end of the road in the FA
Trophy when Grimsby held them to a goalless draw to book their
place at Wembley on Saturday.
Trailing 3-0 from the semi-final first leg at
Blundell Park, the Darts needed an early goal to inject belief into
their cause but Grimsby weathered an early storm and went on to
control the game.
Already missing the suspended Lee Noble,
Dartford manager Tony Burman had to do without experienced
centre-back Mark Arber, who missed the game due to illness. Jon
Wallis took his place and Tom Champion dropped back into defence,
while Jacob Erskine returned from injury in attack. Adam Green was
preferred to Richard Rose at left-back.
The home side did make a strong start, with
Ryan Hayes (pictured) the fulcrum of their most dangerous
Hayes had already seen one free-kick deflect
behind when he crossed for skipper Elliot Bradbrook to head
straight at Grimsby goalkeeper James McKeown from six yards.
Another wicked Hayes delivery fell at the feet
of Harry Crawford. The Barnet loanee whipped the ball across goal
and Bradbrook almost turned it home, only for a Grimsby foot to
The Mariners are targeting an historic
league-and-cup double this season and they began to show the form
which has carried them into the Blue Square Bet Premier title race.
Lenell John-Lewis headed a cross wide of the far post as the
visitors stifled Dartford’s exuberance.
After the break, Grimsby came out looking to
kill the tie completely. Jamie Devitt’s low shot forced Marcus
Bettinelli to push the ball round the post before the on-loan
Fulham man denied John-Lewis from close range.
Dartford’s attacks were becoming more sporadic
but they almost reduced Town’s aggregate lead midway through the
second half. Crawford’s snap-shot was deflected behind and the
subsequent Hayes corner caused mayhem in the six-yard box before
the ball was eventually cleared.
But there was to be no dramatic fightback by
the men in white shirts. Grimsby could even have won the game
through John-Lewis or Richard Brodie, but their noisy travelling
supporters celebrated a 3-0 aggregate win which sends them through
to an FA Trophy Final with title rivals Wrexham on March 24.
Meanwhile, the Darts return to league action
next weekend when they visit Southport.
Dartford: Bettinelli, Burns,
Champion, Bonner, Green (Rogers 80mins), Hayes, Wallis (Evans
80mins), Bradbrook, Harris, Erskine (Collier 76mins), Crawford.
Subs not used: Wells, Rose. Attendance: 2,153.