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Dover Athletic 1 Dartford 2 - FA Trophy match report

By Alex Hoad

Dartford came from behind to knock Dover out of the FA Trophy in a low-key first round replay at Crabble on Tuesday night.

Jim Stevenson put the National League side ahead early-on with a strike which keeper Deren Ibrahim should have saved, but Ronnie Vint fired the visitors level moments later, just as he had in Saturday's initial tie, and a 20-yard blast from former Dover trialist Luke Wanadio on the stroke of half-time was enough to win it as Dover fell short of their usual standards. 

Ronnie Vint holds off Aswad Thomas on Saturday. Picture Andy Jones

Ronnie Vint holds off Aswad Thomas on Saturday. Picture: Andy Jones

The game began in low-key fashion on a murky night and with a sparse crowd of just 389 but Ross Lafayette saw a free-kick deflected wide on five minutes and Jamie Grimes might have done better than head over the bar from a Moses Emmanuel cross from the right.

The breakthrough came out of nothing on 10 minutes when Stevenson let fly from fully 25 yards with a fierce drive which seemed to swerve on its way to Gibraltan international keeper Ibrahim who could only take the sting off the wet ball before letting it squirm under his body and roll agonisingly over the line.

Dartford responded in perfect fashion and were level just four minutes later when a corner from Ryan Hayes was flapped at under intense pressure by Dover keeper Steve Arnold in his six-yard box, and, in a carbon copy of Saturday's game at Princes Park, defender Vint was on hand to ram a half-volley through a crowd on the line and into the net.

Buoyed by the goa,l former Dover trialist Wanadio curled in a low shot from the left of the box moments later, with Arnold down well to tip inches past the post.

Dover did rally and on 19 minutes Emmanuel should have done better when Sam Magri's cross found him unmarked 10 yards out, only for his touch to let him down.

Duane Ofori-Acheampong cut a frustrated figure on his Crabble return and had already been penalised for deliberate handball when he picked up a booking for charging down a quick free-kick.

Just before the half-hour Emmanuel brought the best out of Ibrahim with a superb curling shot from distance which the keeper tipped onto the bar and over while Ofori-Acheapong headed over from a Wanadio cross at the end of a good run down the left soon after.

Wanadio sent in a 25-yard pea-roller which Arnold dropped onto seven minutes before the break but it turned out to be a range-finder as, in the last minute of the half, a corner was punched clear by Arnold but only to Wanadio who almost burst the roof of the net with a first-time shot from well outside the box.

After the interval Dover started brightly and Ricky Miller latched onto a Lafayette header only to see his low drive saved by Ibrahim and the National League's top-scorer dragged a 20-yard effort past the post soon after.

Emmanuel spun his way past the last defender but his fierce shot from 15 yards was well blocked by the chest of the onrushing Ibrahim.

Some silky skills from Miller earned a corner from which Lafayette's looping header was heading for the top-corner until Ibrahim's fist intervened while at the other end Dartford saw wild appeals for a handball in the box dismissed by ref Carl Brook.

Chances and entertainment were at a premium for much of the half, though Ryan Hayes skewed a shot wide from 20-yards while Lee Noble should have done better when Ofori-Acheampong found him 15 yards out with only Arnold to beat, instead he blazed high and wide.

Jack Parkinson saw a low shot parried away by Ibrahim in the final minute of normal time and sub Tyrone Marsh had a low effort held in four added minutes but it was the Darts who go through to host Chelmsford in round two in January and claim the £5,000 prize money.

 
Dover: Arnold, Magri (Modeste 79mins), Thomas, Orlu, Stevenson (Pinnock 66mins), Miller, Grimes, Sterling, Emmanuel (Marsh 85mins), Lafayette, Parkinson. Subs not used: Walker, Kinnear Jr. 
 
Dartford: Ibrahim, Noble, Vint, Wood, Wynter, A Brown, Bradbrook, Hayes, Wanadio, Harris, Ofori-Acheampong. Subs not used: Dembele, Coxall, Rorenfidd, Thorley-Porter, E Brown.
 
Attendance: 389
 

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