Dartford 4 Hyde 3
A shirtless Matt Godden celebrates the late goal which won the game for Dartford and completed his hat-trick (Pic: Andy Payton)
Matt Godden scored a hat-trick as Dartford rescued victory from the jaws of defeat against a spirited Hyde on Saturday.
The hosts raced into an early 2-0 lead against the Skrill Premier's bottom side but they proceeded to throw that away as Hyde roared back to lead 3-2.
With time ticking away, Darts academy product George Monger levelled things up with his first senior goal for the club, before Godden smashed home a last-gasp winner to send Princes Park into raptures.
With a quartet of key players injured and skipper Elliot Bradbrook suspended, Dartford's team effectively picked itself.
Matt Fry returned at left-back, with Nathan Collier moving across to partner Mat Mitchel-King in central defence. There was a recall for Ryan Hayes, while in Bradbrook's absence, Lee Burns wore the captain's armband.
The visitors arrived at Princes Park on an 11-game losing streak but they set up in an attacking 4-3-3 formation.
Dartford looked to get on the front foot early on and their positivity was rewarded with two goals in the opening 15 minutes.
Hayes played a slide-rule reverse pass into the feet of Danny Harris and his clever dummy allowed Godden to take possession and fire a smart shot across Hyde keeper Dave Carnell into the far corner.
It was an accomplished finish from the on-loan Scunthorpe striker, who didn't even need to look up before he pulled the trigger.
The visitors' afternoon then took another turn for the worse when Carnell, racing out of his box to clear a through-ball, pulled up with a hamstring injury. He immediately tore off his gloves and limped away, to be replaced by Ashley Frith.
Frith was beaten within two minutes of entering the field. Hayes swung over a corner from the right and Godden planted a downward header into the net.
Hat-trick hero Matt Godden brings the ball under control (Pic: Andy Payton)
At this stage, Dartford looked a far better side than Hyde, but their biggest mistake was to start believing it themselves. They took their foot off the accelerator and the visitors crept back into the game.
Liam Tomsett was allowed to stroll through midfielder before shooting wide.
Hyde's fragile confidence was beginning to grow and they were given a lifeline when Lee Noble brought down Tomsett in the penalty area. Scott Spencer stepped up and sent Alan Julian the wrong way from 12 yards.
The home side could easily have re-doubled their advantage, though. Hayes turned in the box and forced a smart save from Frith, the rebound falling to Godden, whose follow-up was blocked on the line.
However, Spencer stunned the home crowd with his - and Hyde's - second goal, 11 minutes before the interval. He exchanged passes with Louis Almond and planted a low shot beyond Julian's left hand. It was no more than the visitors deserved for their determined fightback.
Half-time came and went but the momentum stayed with Hyde.
And the visitors completed an extraordinary turnaround on 55 minutes when Almond's powerful free-kick, 30 yards out, took a wicked deflection and flew past Julian, who was completely wrong-footed.
The excellent Almond almost made it 4-2, hooking a shot just wide after neat Hyde build-up on the edge of the box. Dartford were second to every loose ball and the Tigers now had their tails up.
They had a golden opportunity to put the game to bed when Reece Gray was afforded a clear sight at goal, 12 yards out, but Julian pulled off a vital save.
Dartford could not get themselves going and Julian was called into action again when Spencer dug out a low shot from 18 yards.
Tomsett's driven corner was then volleyed over by David Poole.
The home side didn't look like they had an equaliser in them, until the introduction of Monger with 10 minutes left. The midfielder got on the ball, 30 yards out, and swirled a superb effort over the head of Frith.
George Monger wheels away after scoring to make it 3-3 (Pic: Andy Payton)
Hyde could still have won the game. Almond had one shot saved and drilled another just wide as the home supporters bit their nails.
But they were celebrating wildly moments later when Godden volleyed the winner into the far corner after Danny Harris' floated cross from the right had only been half-cleared.
Spencer sent a shot just over the bar at the other end, with Julian beaten, and with that mis-directed effort went Hyde's last hopes.
Dartford make the short trip to Stonebridge Road next Saturday for their much-anticipated FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash with local rivals Ebbsfleet.
Dartford: Julian; Burns, Mitchel-King, Collier, Fry; Hayes (Monger 80mins), Cornhill, Woodyard, Noble (Ibemere 62mins); Harris, Godden. Subs not used: Hill, Porter, Eisa.
Hyde: Carnell (Frith 13mins); Brizell, Haining, Belezika, Blakeman; Poole (Devaney 86mins), Tomsett, Brown; Almond, Spencer, Gray. Subs not used: Collins, Hughes, Mainwaring.
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