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Dartford 2-2 Maidstone United match report

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Dartford stormed back with two late goals to rescue a point against Kent rivals Maidstone.

The Stones were in charge after two goals in three second-half minutes from Dan Wishart and Ibby Akanbi.

Dartford manager Steve King Picture: Andy Jones
Dartford manager Steve King Picture: Andy Jones

But Tom Bonner pulled one back with time running out and substitute Darren McQueen made it 2-2 in the 89th minute.

For Maidstone, that’s seven points blown in the closing moments in their past four away games.

The first half was pretty forgettable with precious little to excite fans of either side.

Both teams struggled to do much with the ball with a direct 45 minutes low on quality.

Darts boss Steve King urged his side to ‘secure the ball’ and ‘look after the ball’ from the touchline but he was fighting a losing battle.

Luke Wanadio briefly came to life late in the half with a couple of dangerous crosses, the first evading everyone and the second just about dealt with by Luke Pennell.

Back-to-back corners gave the home side some encouragement but there was nothing doing and while Luke Allen twice did well to pinch the ball off Cameron James and then Wishart, his industry in midfield went without reward.

For Maidstone, Nana Kyei headed over a difficult chance from Wishart’s cross, missed the target after a good run and saw a ball across goal hit the legs of keeper Mark Smith.

United blinked first, introducing Matt McClure for Luke Pennell in a half-time reshuffle.

And they threatened at the start of the second half when Cameron James knocked down Noah Chesmain’s cross into the path of Kyei who tried to pick out the bottom corner.

For Dartford, Jordan Gibbons’ cross to the far post was headed over by Andy Pugh, that after Allen robbed Ryan Johnson in midfield, then McQueen’s ball across the face of goal just needed a touch.

Maidstone head coach Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Sean Aidan
Maidstone head coach Hakan Hayrettin Picture: Sean Aidan

The hosts had enjoyed a good couple of minutes but Maidstone took the lead in the 59th minute with a well-worked goal.

Saidou Khan drove down the right and worked the ball to Gavin Hoyte and his cross was met by Wishart a few yards out.

Maidstone doubled their lead three minutes later.

This time, a lovely pass left was picked up by Akanbi who cut inside and drilled the ball into the far corner from just inside the box.

Allen’s strike was held by Jake Cole as Dartford looked for a quick reply and they continued to put balls in the box without hurting Maidstone.

The visitors might even have made it three when a cross dropped to Kyei in a good position but he fired over on the turn.

But there was hope for Dartford in the 86th minute when Bonner bundled home after a corner was nodded back across goal.

The hosts went for it after that with Billy Crook’s fierce effort blocked.

And they had their leveller in the 89th minute when McQueen finished at the second attempt after Cole saved his first strike.

Dartford: Smith, Gibbons, Gordon, Crook, Hill, Bonner, Wanadio (Hayes 66mins), Allen, Romain, Pugh (Wabo 63mins), Marsh Brown (McQueen 55mins). Subs not used: Brodie, Vint.

Maidstone: Cole, Hoyte, Pennell (McClure 46mins), Elokobi, Chesmain, Johnson, James (Marshall 69mins), Khan, Kyei, Akanbi, Wishart. Subs not used: Embery, Lewington, Allen.

Attendance: 2,148.

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