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Dartford 2 Hungerford Town 1 match report

By Steve Tervet

Dartford ended their four-match winless run at home to lowly Hungerford on Saturday.

Goals from Jamie Philpot and Lee Noble ensured Dartford will spend Christmas in the National League South play-off places.

They weren't at their best but got the job done despite the visitors pulling a goal back in stoppage-time.

A delighted Jamie Philpot celebrates his opening goal Picture: Sean Aidan
A delighted Jamie Philpot celebrates his opening goal Picture: Sean Aidan

With Charlie Sheringham unavailable, new signing Phil Roberts made his full debut up front for the Darts alongside Philpot.

There were encouraging early signs of link-up play between Roberts and Philpot, although the four corners Dartford forced in the first five minutes came to nothing.

Hungerford's James Rusby had the first shot of the game but it was straight at Bailey Vose and within 60 seconds the home side were in front.

Ben Greenhalgh's free-kick from the left was inch-perfect for Philpot at the back post and he planted a good header high beyond Jacob Weaver although the visitors will surely question their defending when they watch the set-piece back.

Hungerford almost hit back immediately, forcing Darts to clear a header insider the six-yard box.

But when Noble's ball out of defence sent Roberts racing clear into the Hungerford half, Cameron Hargreaves was cautioned for sending the striker tumbling. The visitors insisted Hargreaves was innocent but another referee might have sent Hargreaves off as the last man.

Another good ball in from Noble, this time from a free-kick, reached Daniel Johnson in the middle but his glancing header flashed wide when a firmer connection was needed.

Dartford may have felt comfortable but in truth they were anything but, as Ben Greenhalgh's goal line clearance from a Josh Martin header late in the first half proved. Ronnie Vint then gave the ball away and Hargreaves fed Darren Foxley in the inside-right channel but Vose easily dealt with his strike.

Vint was involved at the other end when Greenhalgh's whipped corner fell at his feet but the defender missed the target by some way.

In stoppage-time there was almost a carbon copy of the opening goal but this time Philpot headed Greenhalgh's deep free-kick back across goal and Hungerford cleared with what was the last action of the first half.

There was no tempo and very little quality after the restart and all the time it stayed 1-0 you sensed Hungerford were growing in confidence.

On came Ryan Hayes and Dan Darbyshire with an hour played and Hayes was involved in Dartford's second goal 10 minutes later.

Greenhalgh led a break down the left, set up Hayes and when his low shot was pushed out by Weaver, the follow-up cross from Greenhalgh was crashed home by Noble on the volley.

There was a touch of controversy about the goal, however, with the Hungerford staff screaming for play to be stopped as Josh Martin lay prone in the Darts penalty area.

But their protests fell on deaf ears and Dartford threatened further punishment in the closing stages.

Philpot sent a free header wide and the quality of set-piece deliveries by Noble and Greenhalgh - all afternoon - deserved men in white shirts throwing themselves at the ball in the middle.

At the other end, Vose stood up well to deny Foxley in a goalmouth scramble and Dartford threw bodies in the way of the rebound.

Vose got behind a Romone Rose shot two minutes from time but he was beaten by Marvel Ekpiteta's towering header from a corner in time added on.

Dartford: Vose, Johnson, Vint, Bonner, Onyemah, Coker (Darbyshire 63mins), Noble, Wynter, Greenhalgh, Philpot (Oyenuga 77mins), Roberts (Hayes 63mins). Subs not used: Driver, Bradbrook.

Hungerford: Weaver, Martin, Jones, Rusby (Rose 68mins), Ekpiteta, Moore-Azille (A Whittingham 68mins), Anderson, Hargreaves (Ten-Grotenhus 75mins), Orsi-Dadomo, R Whittingham, Foxley. Subs not used: Bailey, Herring.

Attendance: 901.

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