Dartford struck a major blow in the race for the National League South title by defeating Havant on Saturday.
A solitary strike from Tom Murphy after two minutes proved to be the match winner in a hard-fought game.
Havant enjoyed a lion’s share of possession but failed to truly test Darts keeper Deren Ibrahim throughout the contest.
There was a recall for 18-goal leading scorer Alfie Pavey for the first time since December after his contributions from the bench over the festive period with Danny Mills dropping to the bench.
With so much at stake, the hosts got off to a dream start with an opening goal inside two minutes.
Elliot Bradbrook launched a ball forward that Pavey did well to nod down into the path of Murphy who fired a brilliant effort beyond Ryan Young at the near post.
Both keepers soon became spectators however as both midfields battled for dominance. Havant enjoyed the majority of the ball but failed to test the Darts back line with a quality final pass.
Pavey had a half chance early in the second period to double the lead for his side but could only direct his header wide of the target after a ball in from Ryan Hayes.
The Darts once again allowed Havant to keep possession but then had to rely on Ibrahim to produce a smart stop to deny Bradley Tarbuck’s dangerous low cross to reach its intended target before Jordan Rose waste fully fires wide at the far post.
As the game entered crunch time, Havant begun to turn the screws a little.
With twenty minutes remaining, an in-swinging cross from Rory Williams was met at the far post by Jason Prior, whose resulting header failed to do the justice the cross had deserved, heading high and wide.
With seven minutes left, Havant engineered their best opportunity to grab a point.
Rose’s fat post header was beaten away by Ibrahim only as far as Tarbuck but Mark Onyemah was there to excellently block the follow-up before Prior sent a volley into the ground that bounced over the bar.
Dartford survived the ensuing four minutes of stoppage time to record one of their biggest victories of the season to remain two points clear at the top of the table.
Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Collier, Hayes, Bradbrook, Pavey (Noble 79mins) Pugh (Mills 66mins), Murphy (Della-Verde 85mins). Subs not used: Ofori-Acheampong, Sho-Silva.
Havant: Young, Williams, Stock (Hayter 78mins), Woodford, Harris, Fogden, Prior, Tarbuck, Carter (Lewis 65mins), Robinson (Tubbs 60mins), Rose. Subs not used: Walker-Harris, Molyneaux.
Man of the Match: Danny Harris
|January 13, 2018||3:00 pm||National League South||2017/18||90'|
|Grass Banks, Dartford DA1 1LZ, UK|
|Havant & Waterlooville||0||Loss|