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Ebbsfleet United 2 Dartford 2

Nathan Elder heads goalwards as Ebbsfleet battle Dartford. Picture: Matthew Walker

Nathan Elder scored in the last minute of stoppage-time to earn Ebbsfleet a dramatic draw against local rivals Dartford on New Year’s Day.

The Fleet had trailed 2-0 but a draw was no more than their second-half endeavours deserved.

In truth, Liam Daish’s side had enough chances to win the game but they came within 30 seconds of losing their second north Kent derby in the space of a week.

Dartford opened the scoring on 12 minutes. The hosts were caught sleeping when Ryan Hayes laid a free-kick to Lee Burns in acres of space and his cross was swept home by Jon Wallis.

Stung momentarily, Ebbsfleet recovered and twice went close through Elder before Danny Harris had a goal ruled out for offside at the other end.

Three minutes after the interval, Harry Crawford doubled Dartford’s lead from close-range but Elder smashed home Liam Enver-Marum’s pass less than two minutes later to keep the game alive.

Dartford were under siege for much of the second-half and goalkeeper Marcus Bettinelli saved well to deny Enver-Marum and Paul Lorraine as the hosts poured forward.

With just seconds on the clock, the Fleet were awarded a free-kick which Dartford were adamant should have gone their way. The ball eventually dropped at the feet of Elder, whose instinctive finish found the bottom corner to spark wild celebrations around Stonebridge Road.

Victory for Blue Square Bet Premier basement club Barrow at Gateshead means the Fleet are kept off the bottom only by their goals-scored record. They host Lincoln City on Saturday while seventh-placed Dartford, still just a point outside the play-offs, travel to Alfreton Town.

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