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Dartford 1 Farnborough 1 match report: Max Statham scores but Alfie Pavey equalises against former club in National League South

Dartford’s wait for a first win of the National League South season continued on Saturday after late drama at Princes Park.

The Darts thought Max Statham’s goal with 15 minutes left was going to be enough but Alfie Pavey scored a penalty against his former club deep into stoppage time to rescue a point for the visitors.

Max Statham - scored for Dartford on Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard
Max Statham - scored for Dartford on Saturday. Picture: Keith Gillard

Mitch Beeney was back in goal for Dartford with Jack McIntyre recalled by Accrington after just one week of his loan due to injuries. McIntyre was on the bench at the League 2 club.

There was a first start for Paul Rooney, who joined the Darts from Havant in the summer but had a three-game ban carried over from last season.

Brandon Barzey started as his suspension from Tuesday night’s red card versus Hampton doesn’t start until next weekend.

Darts lined up in their usual 4-5-1 formation and struggled to get bodies forward to support lone forward Harvey Bradbury.

An early Luke Coulson cross was missed by James Golding in the box before Barzey shot wide after a free-kick was half-cleared.

Bradbury had his shirt pulled almost off his back by Sid Nelson in the box after 20 minutes but the referee was unmoved.

It was a first half dominated not by either team but by whistle-happy referee Eugene Robinson, who struggled with his decision-making. There were bookings for Darts duo Coulson and Statham plus a bemused manager Alan Dowson. Nelson was eventually booked just before the break for his ongoing pursuit of an early shirt exchange with Bradbury.

The closest either side came to a goal came seven minutes before the break when Farnborough substitute Adam Payce saw his deflected shot bounce just the wrong side of the upright with keeper Beeney wrong-footed.

The second half failed to get much better. Miller-Rodney was harshly booked for not making contact with Holmes right in front of the assistant referee.

Farnborough had a shot on target when Beeney was down well to save from Selim Saied just past the hour but their long-throw tactics were well dealt with by the home side, who themselves lacked ideas in the final third.

Darts introduced Lewis Manor for the final 20 minutes and he was straight into the action, holding off his marker before shooting over from 25 yards.

The breakthrough arrived with 15 minutes left. Coulson’s corner was headed on by Golding and Statham pounced at the far post to turn the ball home.

Farnborough immediately made a double change, replacing Payce who had come on in the first half for the injured Reggie Young. Taylor Mahoney’s first involvement was a yellow card after stopping a promising Dartford counter attack.

It needed an excellent 89th-minute save from Beeney to keep out Jack Ball’s header while Darts had to see out more than seven minutes of stoppages. They failed to do it as Barzey needlessly barged into the back of Cullen, and the referee pointed to the spot.

Pavey stepped up against his former club and drilled home the spot-kick to level the scores after 97 minutes.

Dartford: Beeney, Wynter, Block, Miller-Rodney (Allen 64mins), Coulson, Rooney (Manor 69mins), Statham (Altintop 90mins), Barzey, Golding, Nembhard, Bradbury. Subs not used: Wray, Altintop, Sheringham.

Farnborough: Turner, Ball, Norville-Williams, Robinson, Partington, Perez, Pavey, Young (Payce 29mins, Cullen 76mins), Saied, Holmes (Mahoney 76mins), Nelson. Subs not used: Gifford, Fearn.

Referee: Eugene Robinson.

Attendance: 920.

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