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AFC Uckfield Town 1 Dartford 3 match report

By Matthew Panting

Dartford survived a major FA Cup scare before finally seeing off AFC Uckfield on Saturday.

The Darts needed three goals in the final nine minutes to see off the Southern Combination League side hosts.

But it was far from an easy ride for Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan's team, who trailed at half-time to a side who play their football three divisions below the Darts.

Dartford survived an early scare when keeper Deren Ibrahim failed to get height or distance with his punch and Regan Smith's low effort was cleared off the line by Tom Bonner.

The visitors had the ball in the net on 10 minutes but the offside flag thwarted Charlie Sheringham. Ben Greenhalgh's deep cross from the right was well met by Sheringham, who produced a tidy finish at the far post, but the goal was quickly chalked off.

Sheringham's 20-yard free-kick was then deflected behind for a corner as Darts looked to assert their authority on the game.

But for all their possession and early territorial advantage, they were up against an AFC Uckfield side who showed great defensive resolve, held their shape and had pace and knowhow on the counter attack.

Regan Smith sent a snapshot well wide before Callum Smith raced through after a slip by Ronnie Vint, Ibrahim producing a smart near-post save to deny the Uckfield striker.

The hosts took the lead three minutes before half-time. A free-kick was headed back across goal by Matthew Maclean and Callum Smith showed great composure and footwork to score from close range.

Dartford showed their intentions at the start of the second half, the ineffective Delano Sam-Yorke - without a goal since the first day of the season - was replaced by Jamie Philpot as the visitors switched to a 4-4-2 formation.

That, together with their predicament, meant an improved display. Greenhalgh was at the heart of most good things, but both Sheringham and Elliot Bradbrook were unable to convert his crosses.

AFC Uckfield were restricted to a couple of corners and they needed a brilliant block on the line by Steve Hickman to deny Greenhalgh midway through the half.

It was Greenhalgh who provided Dartford's brightest spark, and he went close again with 15 minutes left when he fired against the angle of post and crossbar from 20 yards.

The equaliser finally arrived with just nine minutes left when a free-kick was cleared as far as Tom Murphy, the substitute producing a fantastic 20-yard curler into the far corner.

It was a goal that deflated Uckfield and Dartford, with their superior fitness, were camped in the hosts' half.

The pressure told with four minutes left when Sheringham produced a smart turn inside the box and his low left-foot finish nestled in the bottom corner.

A third goal flattered the visitors but it arrived in the first minute of stoppage time - of which there was plenty due to time-wasting - as Murphy headed down Greenhalgh's cross and Bradbrook turned the ball home.

It looked a decent scoreline in the end but this was anything but comfortable for the Darts.

AFC Uckfield: Rogers, Ryan Welch, Rodrigues-Barbosa, Hickman, Sherriff, Richie Welch, Okojie (Cooper 72mins), Maclean, C Smith, Black (Loft 76mins), R Smith (Temba 60mins). Subs not used: Cormack, Janneh, Norman, Storey.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Yao, Onyemah, Vint, Bonner, Greenhalgh, Noble (Murphy 70mins), Sam-Yorke (Philpot 46mins), Issac, Bradbrook, Sheringham. Subs not used: Nicholls, Oyenuga, Mensah, Fulton.

Attendance: 500.

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