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Dartford 2 Billericay Town 1 match report

By Matthew Panting

Tom Murphy came off the bench to keep Dartford's season alive in National League South on Monday.

Murphy scored twice in the last three minutes as Darts staged a dramatic comeback against a stunned Billericay.

It means they go into the final day of the season just one point outside the play-off places - but it needs a number of results to go their way.

Dartford's Callum Driver closes down Moses Emmanuel. Picture: Phil Lee
Dartford's Callum Driver closes down Moses Emmanuel. Picture: Phil Lee

Dartford started brightly after their six-goal mauling at Eastbourne on Saturday.

The home fans were in good voice, lifted by a rousing send-off to Elliot Bradbrook, who retires at the end of the season after 444 games for the club, prior to kick-off.

Within three minutes, Ryan Hayes' right-wing cross was headed wide by the unmarked Ben Greenhalgh.

Then Charlie Sheringham fed Darren McQueen as Darts countered with pace but his low shot was gathered at the second attempt by keeper Mark Smith.

Dartford keeper Louis Wells turned over Jack Paxman's 30-yard free-kick before producing a smart save from the resulting corner to deny the same player.

Dartford's Darren Mcqueen gives chase. Picture: Phil Lee
Dartford's Darren Mcqueen gives chase. Picture: Phil Lee

Darts looked dangerous on the break and nearly went ahead on 22 minutes. Lee Noble burst forward and his stunning right-foot chip was heading for the top corner before Smith tipped it behind. Amazingly, the officials gave a goal kick.

The best chance of the half arrived five minutes before the break. Moses Emmanuel sent Jake Robinson clear of the home defence but the Billericay striker directed his low shot wide of the far post as Wells came out to close the angle.

Referee Andrew Kitchen was at the centre of the action early in the second half - and he got both calls right.

Charlie Wassmer needlessly barged Sheringham in the back to give away a 52nd-minute spot-kick. But Smith guessed right, diving to his right to keep out Sheringham's penalty.

Just four minutes later, Billericay were ahead as Daniel Johnson needlessly barged Adam Cunnington in the back. Robinson sent Wells the wrong way from the spot.

Sheringham twice went close at the other end as Darts showed plenty of fight.

Charlie Sheringham loses out in the air against Billericay. Picture: Phil Lee
Charlie Sheringham loses out in the air against Billericay. Picture: Phil Lee

Robinson dragged Sam Deering's well-worked free-kick wide for the visitors before he was replaced for the final 10 minutes by Jamar Loza.

It needed a smart save by Wells to deny Loza on the break with seven minutes left as Billericay threatened to score a second.

But then up popped Murphy to turn the game around. Paul Rooney made a complete mess as he tried to clear Andre Coker's cross in the 88th minute, leaving Murphy to take full advantage.

Then, two minutes into stoppage time, Murphy was given time and space on the edge of the box to fire home a dramatic winner.

Dartford: Wells, Driver, Wynter, Vint, Bonner, Greenhalgh, Noble, McQueen (Murphy 74mins), Hayes, Johnson, Sheringham (Coker 82mins). Subs not used: Vose, Evans, Smith.

Billericay: Smith, Kizzi, Efete, Rooney, Wassmer, Potter, Emmanuel (Deering 68mins), Paxman (Coombes 90mins), Robinson (Loza 80mins), Howells, Cunnington. Subs not used: Kennedy, Waldren.

Attendance: 1,325.

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