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Margate 0 Dartford 2 - match report

By Mark Stokes

Two goals in the closing 15 minutes earned Dartford the points in their Vanarama National League South derby at Margate on Tuesday.  

Substitute Andy Pugh pounced from close range to open the scoring with skipper Elliot Bradbrook adding the second from the spot two minutes from the end.

In between the goals Margate had threatened an equaliser with Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim twice producing superb saves to deny home sub Elliott Buchanan.

Tony Burman. Picture Andy Payton

Tony Burman. Picture: Andy Payton

The win was Dartford's second away from home this season and stretched their unbeaten run to four while ending Gate's three-game unbeaten sequence.

Home boss Nikki Bull made just one change to the team that won 2-0 at Bishop's Stortford on Saturday with fit again skipper Luke Moore replacing Scott Donnelly, who was ruled out by a knee injury.

Darts boss Tony Burman handed a start to Ryan Hayes, who came off the bench to score Dartford's equaliser in the 1-1 draw with East Thurrock United on Saturday.

Defender Keaton Wood also came back in with Ellis Brown and Pugh dropping to the bench.

The game began at a decent pace with Dartford's Duane Ofori-Acheampong drilling the ball across the face of the home goal after getting in behind but Gate immediately countered with Daniel Akindayini flashing a shot just wide after a neat turn.

Gate then suffered an injury setback when winger Alex Osborn limped off with a quad injury to be replaced by Buchanan, who had himself been sidelined by a back spasm at the weekend.

Buchanan squandered Gate's best chance before the break when he blazed over on 28 minutes after Matt Johnson's charged down shot had broken to him.

Moments later the ball dropped invitingly on the edge of the area for Johnson but he too fired high and handsome while Michael Thalassitis cut inside before curling his shot just over.

The best Darts offered in response during the same period was a low 20-yard drive from skipper Bradbrook which was comfortably saved by home keeper Lewis Ward but just before the break they threatened twice.

First Hayes finished off a quick break with a low drive that was deflected wide and from the corner Luke Wanadio's centre drifted right across the face of the home goal with no one able to get a touch.

The second half started like the first with both teams pressing and Gate had an early chance when Darts keeper Ibrahim came out smartly to block from Thalassitis as he ran onto Buchanan's cute through ball.

Immediately at the other end Dartford's Tom Wynter headed onto the roof of the net after Ward had only half punched clear from a corner, and then Hayes crossed and Danny Harris stabbed a volley over the bar.

Hayes was becoming an increasing influence and just before the hour he teed up substitute Pugh to fire wide.

Gate's chances were becoming more fleeting but Thalassitis forced Ibrahim to save away to his left before Pugh broke the deadlock, pouncing after Ward had only parried a shot from Harris.

Ibrahim then denied Buchanan with a flying stop and then, after the Darts keeper had frustrated the same player with another top drawer save Harris went down in the box under a challenge from Yads Mambo and Bradbrook beat Ward away to his left to complete the win.

Just before the penalty Harris had wasted a great chance to double Dartford's lead rolling the ball wide from 15 yards.

Margate: Ward, Sessegnon, B Johnson (Tunwa 64mins), M Johnson, Mambo, Parry, Karagiannis (Laing 85mins), Moore, Thalassitis, Akindayini, Osborn (Buchanan 11mins); Subs: Bull, Phipps.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Gardiner, Wynter, Bonner, Wood, Brown, Hayes (Noble 88mins) Bradbrook, Ofori-Acheampong, (Pugh 56mins) Harris (Francis 89mins), Wanadio; subs: Brown, Seixas.

Attendance: 574

 

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