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Dartford 3 Bognor Regis Town 1 match report


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Dartford are up to fourth in National League South after beating Bognor at home on Saturday.

Alfie Pavey fired Darts in front but the visitors quickly levelled and the sides went into half-time at 1-1.

But an Elliot Bradbrook penalty restored Dartford's lead and they made sure of the points with an Andy Pugh header.

Andy Pugh celebrates with Alfie Pavey Picture: Andy Payton
Andy Pugh celebrates with Alfie Pavey Picture: Andy Payton

With Deren Ibrahim on international duty with Gibraltar and academy keeper Tony Coxall suspended, Jordan Carey played in goal for Dartford.

Carey, who lined up against Darts for Cray Wanderers in the Kent Senior Cup last month, found online fame after a video of him headbutting the post during a match last season went viral.

Both teams came into the game on the back of good FA Cup wins, Dartford having thrashed Needham Market 6-1 while Bognor knocked out south coast rivals Eastbourne.

The Rocks lost Sami El-Abd to a hamstring injury in that game so Corey Heath came into a young backline which also featured on-loan Bromley left-back Kristian Campbell.

Two of English football's most experienced managers went head-to-head in the technical areas with Tony Burman up against Jack Pearce - who's been at Bognor for almost 50 years.

Ollie Pearce whipped an early free-kick over for the Rocks before Dan Lincoln pushed Alfie Pavey's header over at the other end.

Tom Murphy makes ground down the Dartford left Picture: Andy Payton
Tom Murphy makes ground down the Dartford left Picture: Andy Payton

But the home side took the lead on seven minutes and the goal stemmed from a slip by Campbell near the halfway line. Ryan Hayes harried him and Campbell's heavy backpass forced Lincoln to kick the ball out for a throw-in. Hayes took it quickly, finding Andy Pugh in the penalty area and his clever flick set up Pavey for a left-footed shot into the bottom corner.

Bognor looked to play out from the back at every opportunity but with the Darts pressing them, it was difficult for the visitors to get out of their own half for a while.

Dartford's strikers were linking well and Pugh glanced a Carey kick into Pavey's path but this time Calvin Davies eased him aside and the ball ran through to Lincoln.

Davies connected well with a long shot at the other end but Carey was right behind the ball to make a solid save.

However, the visitors were level on 17 minutes. Campbell stepped inside Keaton Wood far too easily and then turned away from Richard Sho-Silva in the box before scoring with a low shot despite Tom Bonner's last-ditch attempt to clear off the line.

Pugh had a shot blocked after Tom Murphy had latched onto Hayes' crossfield pass before Pearce went close with another free-kick for Bognor.

Elliot Bradbrook makes it 2-1 from the penalty spot Picture: Andy Payton
Elliot Bradbrook makes it 2-1 from the penalty spot Picture: Andy Payton

The visitors had settled right into the game by now although Dartford went closest to scoring again before half-time.

Heath did well to block a Hayes shot which might have been creeping inside the far post, then Pavey headed wide from the corner which followed.

Bognor also got bodies in the way of a Lee Noble volley when Sho-Silva's long throw from the right was only cleared to the edge of the penalty area.

And the Darts regained their lead seven minutes into the second half. Onyemah was caught with a high foot inside the box and Bradbrook powered the penalty to Lincoln's right.

Chad Field headed wide from Bognor's next corner as, to Burman's fury, the visitors were allowed to get their foot on the ball and ease themselves back into the contest.

There was some relief, therefore, when Dartford made it 3-1 in the 65th minute. Hayes stood up a lovely cross from the right-hand side and there was Pugh to head home at the far post.

Andy Pugh up well to score Dartford's third goal Picture: Andy Payton
Andy Pugh up well to score Dartford's third goal Picture: Andy Payton

A big cheer greeted Duane Ofori-Acheampong's introduction for the last 15 minutes, the big striker taking to the pitch at Princes Park for the first time this season following keyhole surgery on a knee injury in the summer.

Ofori-Acheampong linked well with fellow substitute Lyle Della-Verde, the winger sidefooting an excellent effort from 20 yards which would have flown in were it not for the fingertips of a sprawling Lincoln.

The pair resumed their duel moments later, Lincoln producing another fine save to push Della-Verde's free-kick round the post. Bradbrook headed over from the resulting corner.

Deep in stoppage-time Jimmy Muitt was sent clear for the Rocks but a combination of Carey and Onyemah kept his low shot out.

Dartford: Carey, Wood, Sho-Silva (Harris 85mins), Bonner, Onyemah, Hayes (Della-Verde 77mins), Noble, Bradbrook, Murphy, Pugh, Pavey (Ofori-Acheampong 76mins). Subs not used: Brown, Mfula.

Bognor: Lincoln, Davies, Campbell, Block, Heath, Field, Muitt, Beck, Whyte, Pearce (Suraci 79mins), Swallow (Wild 73mins). Subs not used: Lea, Scott.

Attendance: 1,126.

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