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Dartford 1 Havant & Waterlooville 1 match report

By Steve Tervet

Adam Cunnington's first goal for Dartford earned them a draw against much-fancied Havant & Waterlooville.

Darts were well on top in the first half and Cunnington's fine header was the least they deserved.

But it was a totally different story after the break and the home side were hanging on for a point by the end.

Adam Cunnington celebrates his first goal for Dartford Picture: Andy Jones
Adam Cunnington celebrates his first goal for Dartford Picture: Andy Jones

Dartford were unchanged from their midweek draw against St Albans, with Norman Wabo playing up front alongside Cunnington in a 4-4-2 system.

With a strong wind at their backs, the Darts spent much of the first half in Havant territory and Luke Wanadio forced an early save from Ross Worner after cutting in from the left flank.

Many of these Dartford players are still getting to know each other and it showed as too many passes didn't find their intended target. Cunnington was dominant in the air but his partnership with Wabo is a work in progress and flicks which ran through to the Hawks backline left the big man with arms outstretched in frustration.

Amos Nasha played a good through-ball for Wabo, who did well to beat the first man but then took a touch too many, allowing Havant to clear.

It was a poor spectacle, admittedly not helped by the conditions, but neither team was doing enough on a pitch perfectly prepared for passing football.

Ben Greenhalgh plays his way out of trouble in midfield Picture: Andy Jones
Ben Greenhalgh plays his way out of trouble in midfield Picture: Andy Jones

Josh Taylor hacked a low shot wide after a scramble in the Dartford box but Havant's attacking threat was almost non-existent during the first 45 minutes.

Wabo almost forced the ball home from a Ben Greenhalgh corner and went close again moments later, lobbing Worner but also clearing the crossbar.

Luke Allen turned well in midfield and his powerful strike was beaten out by Worner but Darts hit the front with a goal of real quality five minutes before half-time.

Andy Drury was penalised for handball and Greenhalgh floated the free-kick onto the head of Cunnington, who powered a terrific header across Worner into the far corner.

It was no more than Dartford deserved although they survived a scare in stoppage-time when Drury hit the wall with a free-kick from a good position before rolling the rebound straight into Mark Smith's gloves.

Norman Wabo bears down on goal Picture: Andy Jones
Norman Wabo bears down on goal Picture: Andy Jones

The quality of the game didn't improve after the break, with both teams still guilty of giving the ball away cheaply.

A teasing cross from Wes Fogden flashed through the six-yard box without a touch as the Hawks, blown forward by the strong breeze, started to get on top.

Dartford were really labouring with the conditions and it was no surprise when Havant equalised on 66 minutes. The ball was cut back from the left and Jonah Ayunga was left with a simple finish from close-range.

The home side simply couldn't get a foothold and it was all Havant now with the Darts under siege going into the last 10 minutes.

Dartford showed Roarie Deacon inside and he almost punished them with a crashing shot which rattled the far post, although Wanadio broke well and fired a low effort wide.

It was like the Alamo towards the end, with Havant piling on the pressure, but they couldn't find a winner.

Dartford: Smith, Wynter, Hill, Bonner, Warner-Eley, Greenhalgh, Nasha, Allen, Wanadio, Wabo (Pugh 80mins), Cunnington (Sheringham 72mins). Subs not used: Vint, Hayes, Brodie.

Havant: Worner, Read (Tarbuck 79mins), Straker, Beckwith, Magri, Fogden, Drury, Ayunga, Deacon, Bailey, Taylor (Rutherford 64mins). Subs not used: Walton, Cook, Paul.

Attendance: 873.

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