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Dartford 2 Whitehawk 4 match report


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Dartford let a 2-0 lead slip at home to Whitehawk on Saturday.

Andy Pugh scored either side of half-time to put the home side seemingly in control.

But the struggling Hawks quickly pulled a goal back and threw everything at their hosts, scoring a well-deserved equaliser towards the end before striking twice in stoppage-time.

Dartford's Andy Pugh in action against Whitehawk last season Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford's Andy Pugh in action against Whitehawk last season Picture: Andy Payton

Lee Noble captained Dartford in the absence of Elliot Bradbrook, who missed out because of illness. Keaton Wood made his debut at centre-half in manager Tony Burman's only other change, having joined on loan from Millwall to cover for the injured Callum McNaughton.

Ebbsfleet loanee Michael West started for Whitehawk, taking the place of former Dartford winger Dave Martin, who wasn't involved. Chris Sessegnon and Jake Robinson came into the team for Juan Cruz Gotta and Scott Neilson - the latter named alongside Fleet's Alex Osborn on a Hawks bench which only featured three players.

A drab first half produced few chances and the home side lost striker George Sykes and winger Danny Harris to injury.

Sykes had the ball in the net inside two minutes but he was flagged offside and the visitors posed the greater attacking threat after that.

Deren Ibrahim turned Nick Arnold's rasping shot round the post and saved again when the resulting corner reached Danny Mills at the far post.

Robinson then tried his luck from distance although his shot was never dipping quickly enough to worry Ibrahim.

Dartford almost caught their visitors out with a quick free-kick but Harris' low cross from the left was scrambled clear.

At the other end, West hit a powerful shot straight at Ibrahim after Mills had chested Sergio Torres' dinked pass into his path around 30 yards out.

Pugh drove a low shot across the face of goal and Mark Onyemah then did well to make ground down the Dartford left, his cross gathered by Craig Ross after bouncing off Sessegnon.

Danny Harris takes on Sergio Torres before coming off with a hamstring problem Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Harris takes on Sergio Torres before coming off with a hamstring problem Picture: Andy Payton

The half was drifting to a close when the home side were awarded a controversial penalty.

Jack Simmons, on for Harris, tried to get round the outside of Arnold but the full-back seemed to have seen the ball out for a goal kick. However, referee Sam Purkiss pointed to the spot and Pugh fired the penalty into the bottom right-hand corner.

Five minutes into the second half, it was 2-0. Dartford worked the ball forward and when Barry Cogan rolled the ball into Pugh's feet, the striker planted a precise shot into the far corner.

Whitehawk responded almost instantly. Robinson's superb cross from the touchline was just begging to be converted and Mills obliged by sliding in to beat Ibrahim from close-range.

Pugh almost made it 3-1 when Ross saved his low shot from the left although Whitehawk then started to monopolise possession.

Osborn, on for his debut, dragged a low shot wide, before Arnold tested Ibrahim with a powerful shot from distance. Ibrahim made the save but couldn't hold the ball and Ronnie Vint did well to nip in and hack it clear.

Whitehawk were now swarming all over Dartford, who couldn't get out of their own defensive third. Mills turned the ball against the inside of the post and a relieved Ibrahim grabbed the rebound before pulling off a fine save to thwart Neilson.

But the goalkeeper was left red-faced when Mills' shot squirmed through his grasp 10 minutes from time to draw the visitors level.

The comeback was complete in stoppage-time when Mills converted Arnold's low cross and Whitehawk broke in the dying seconds to net a fourth through Neilson.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Gardiner, Onyemah, Vint, Wood, Wynter, Hayes (Francis 83mins), Noble, Pugh, Sykes (Cogan 29mins), Harris (Simmons 39mins). Subs not used: Dembele, Glander.

Whitehawk: Ross, Arnold, Rents, Ijaha, Sessegnon, Leacock, Mendy (Osborn 60mins), Torres, Robinson (Fraser 90mins), Mills, West (Neilson 63mins).

Attendance: 906.

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