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Dartford 1 Chippenham Town 1: Hill salvages draw for Darts against 10-man Chippenham

ByCameron Hogwood

Substitute Josh Hill produced a superb late equaliser as Dartford rescued a 1-1 draw against Chippenham at Princes Park.

The visitors opened the scoring in the 24th minute when skipper Kieran Parselle found the net after pouncing on a loose ball from a deep free-kick.

Parselle was then sent off for a second yellow card in the 85th minute before Hill earned a point with a goal two minutes from time.

Dartford Manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford Manager Steve King. Picture: Andy Jones

Dartford announced a new signing prior to kick-off, with striker Elliott Romain joining the club having been released by Eastbourne Borough earlier in the week.

The former Maidstone, Torquay, Dagenham & Redbridge and Welling man came straight into the starting eleven as manager Steve King named three changes to the side that lost to Kingstonian in the FA Cup last time out.

The hosts were dealt another injury blow in the week as Lee Noble joined Jordan Wynter, Charlie Sheringham and Sam Blackman on the list of absentees.

Chippenham, who entered the game with the league's best defensive record, started the brighter of the two sides, enjoying plenty of possession on the front foot.

It was Dartford's Cameron Brodie, however, who was first to try his luck on goal, firing from range with an effort that flew just wide of the post.

The visitors then carved a great opening of their own as Chris Zebroski span well in the box only to see his shot blocked, the resulting corner forcing a low save from Mark Smith.

Chippenham then tried to stretch Dartford with a ball over the top to Karnell Chambers who was eventually squeezed wide by some smart defending from Tom Bonner.

Chambers threatened again when he ran onto a pull-back from the right-hand side, but the Chippenham man could only sky his effort.

Darts were then handed an injury setback as Mark Onyemah was replaced by Josh Hill in the 17th minute.

Chippenham took the lead in the 24th minute through Parselle.

He found the net from close range after Dartford had failed to clear a deep free-kick that had been given harshly against Bonner for what had appeared a fair sliding challenge on the left-hand side.

Having seen plenty of the ball, full-back Jordan Gibbons was then key to Dartford's best move of the half.

The right-back was fed by Luke Allen before drilling the ball across the face of goal but just evading the front-post run of Darren McQueen.

Chippenham almost had a second minutes later after Smith had parried a free-kick into the path of Chambers, who was then denied by a vital block.

Dartford's Josh Hill. Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford's Josh Hill. Picture: Andy Jones

Chippenham could have doubled their advantage three minutes into the restart had Chambers been able to pick out a man with his low cross after being played in on the right-hand side.

Their threat on the counter-attack set the tone for the early exchanges in the second half as Dartford penned their opponents inside their own half.

Romain attempted an over-head kick from a Gibbons cross and Andy Pugh had a shot superbly blocked on the edge of the box as the home team pushed for an equaliser.

For all of Dartford's second half possession they struggled to find the killer ball, often inviting Chippenham to hit back on the break.

Chambers, a danger all afternoon, glided beyond Bonner on the right before failing to pick out a teammate in the box.

Dartford then fell asleep to a short corner, which saw Smith tip over Rhys Tyler's curling cross towards the far post.

Tyler was in once more shortly after, this time driving a cross-shot beyond everybody and agonisingly wide of Smith's far post again.

King turned to his bench for some inspiration with a quarter-of-an-hour to play, with Brodie and new man Romain making way for Ryan Hayes and Luke Wanadio.

Chippenham were reduced to 10 men five minutes from time when captain and goal scorer Parselle was dismissed for a second yellow card after a strong challenge on Wanadio.

Dartford capitalised in fine fashion courtesy of early substitute Hill, who cut inside on his right foot before locating the top corner with a sublime curling effort.

King's men pushed hard for a late winner but ultimately had to settle for a draw.

Dartford: Smith, Gibbons, Onyemah (Hill 17mins), Crook, Bonner, Vint, Brodie (Wanadio 74mins), Allen, Romain (Hayes 74mins), Pugh, McQueen. Subs not used: Wabo, Greenhalgh.

Chippenham: Puddy, Tyler, Ferguson, Zebroski, Whelan, Gunner (Rigg 63mins), Jarvis (Pratt 63mins), Parselle, McDonald, Chambers (Richards 83mins), Haines. Subs not used: Hopper, Youseff.

Attendance: 883

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