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Eastbourne Borough 0 Dartford 1 match report

Dartford remain top of National League South on goal-difference after victory at Eastbourne on Saturday.

It's now six wins on the bounce for Tony Burman's side after a first-half header from Danny Mills proved the difference on the south coast.

But with title rivals Havant winning 2-1 at home to St Albans, the top two are still level on points with three games left.

Danny Mills (centre) scored the only goal at Eastbourne Picture: Andy Payton
Danny Mills (centre) scored the only goal at Eastbourne Picture: Andy Payton

There was little tempo to either side's play in the first half with Dartford slow out of the blocks.

Eastbourne could have been ahead inside 60 seconds as Sergio Torres was played through before rifling a shot over the crossbar.

It was an assured start by the home side while Darts looked leggy after their midweek win at Gloucester.

Nathan Collier's poor header allowed Gavin McCallum to raid down the left and when he cut the ball back from the byline, it needed an excellent block by Elliot Bradbrook to stop Will Hendon's goalbound shot.

But it was pedestrian stuff at times and Dartford's leading scorer Alfie Pavey often looked isolated in a front three with Mills and Andy Pugh both playing very wide.

Gradually, though, the visitors began to play and good crosses from Lee Noble and Mark Onyemah both needed just a touch in the middle.

Darts took the lead on 33 minutes. Noble flashed a low ball in from the right-hand side and Mills' brave diving header flew into the net despite goalkeeper Mark Smith getting a hand to the ball.

Noble looked the man most likely to make things happen for Dartford. He got to Onyemah's forward pass ahead of Smith and kept the move alive but Pavey was unable to hit the target when Noble teed him up for a shot.

Yemi Odubade came on for Eastbourne at half-time and the former Maidstone striker sent a lob over the bar within a minute of the restart.

But sensing a second goal might break Borough's resolve, Dartford began to press.

Alex Brown wasted a good crossing opportunity but the visitors should have doubled their lead moments later. Bradbrook nodded a right-wing cross down for Pavey, but he miscued his volley down into the artificial turf and saw the ball bounce up over the gaping goal.

All the time it was only 1-0, Eastbourne were right in the game. Shots from Lloyd Dawes and Jamie Taylor, which flashed just wide, served as warning shots across the Dartford bows before Shaun Okojie lashed over from Odubade's knockdown when he should have at least hit the target.

At the other end, Pavey's low cross from the left was just begging for a touch but Pugh, lunging in at the far post, got there a split-second too late.

Dartford won a free-kick just outside the box when Alex Brown was fouled but Pavey's powerful shot, when Noble set the ball for him, wedged between Smith's legs on the goal line.

You could sense the nerves in the closing stages but in truth Eastbourne lacked the quality to hurt Dartford when they got into good positions.

Wild efforts from Taylor and substitute Charlie Harris, which missed the target by a distance, rather summed up their afternoon.

Eastbourne: Smith, Pickering, Hendon, Taylor, Simpemba, Haran, Wills, Torres, Okojie (Harris 67mins), Dawes, McCallum (Odubade 46mins). Subs not used: Khinda-John, Pearson, Platt.

Dartford: Schotterl, Collier, Bonner, Vint, Onyemah, Brown, Noble, Bradbrook, Pugh (Harris 90mins), Mills, Pavey (Ofori-Acheampong 80mins). Subs not used: Hayes, Murphy, Ibrahim.

Attendance: 733.

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