Dartford soared to the top of the National League South after seeing out an unexpected goal fest in the last ten minutes against Eastbourne at Princes Park.
The free-scoring Darts added another four to their impressive tally this season, although the jubilant mood was slightly soured by conceding two late goals in an otherwise comfortable game.
The result leaves Dartford top on goal difference with only three points separating first place and ninth.
Going into the game, Ofori- Acheampong and Mfula were both unavailable whilst Onyemah missed the squad due to family reasons.
The Darts produced a dominant first-half display, rarely fazed by an Eastbourne side attempting to dictate the passing, but failed to engineer much room in the final third.
Lyle Della-Verde had the home sides first opportunity, as he narrowly missed the target from a well-hit shot from distance before Alex Brown made no mistake inside the box to open the scoring in the 23rd minute.
The onslaught continued as Alfie Pavey almost doubled their lead two minute later from a Ryan Hayes cross but his header was thwarted by Eastbourne keeper Bailey Vose.
Dartford then had another opportunity to extend their advantage just before the break as they looked to hit Eastbourne on the counter attack but Hayes just couldn’t claim Sho-Silva’s long ball.
A fresh Eastbourne enjoyed their best spell early in the second half but their attempts on goal were expertly dealt with by some strong defending. First, Keaton Wood brilliantly dealt with Willard’s dangerous cross before Willard then had a chance himself but the shot was swallowed by Deren Ibrahim.
Just as the away side were beginning to grab a foothold in the game to haul themselves back on level terms, Pavey headed home to place distance between the two sides.
On his 400th game for the club, Hayes whipped in a delicious corner that Pavey guided home from close range.
It was a hammer blow for the away side whose heads clearly dropped and the Darts soon grabbed a third. Another set-piece, this time a deep free-kick well met by captain Elliot Bradbrook, who expertly directed his header inside the upright.
With six minutes remaining, chaos ensued. First, Eastbourne pulled a goal back when Jamie Taylor arrowed an effort home from outside the box.
The Darts responded in controversial circumstances to regain their four-goal advantage. A quick free-kick cannoned off a grounded Hayes, but amidst Eastbourne calls for the player to be carded, play continued, and substitute Tom Murphy rounded Vose net to short-live the to slot home.
Eastbourne weren’t finished yet however as a rare piece of sloppy defending ended with Lee Noble unwillingly turning the ball into his own home sides joy.
A whirlwind final ten in which Tony Burman will be aggrieved at his side’s late capitulation at the back but there seems to be no stopping their firepower as the result took their league tally to 27 goals in 11 games, and straight to the top of the table.
Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris (Vint 67mins), Wood, Bonner, Sho-Silva, Noble, Hayes, Bradbrook, Pavey (Murphy 82mins), Brown, Della-Verde (Pugh 58mins). Subs not used: Cue, Ajala.
Eastbourne: Vose, Kinda-John (Ransom 82mins), McCallum, Willis, Simpenda, Charman (Worrall 77mins), Willard, Torres, Odubade, Taylor, Harris (Pinney 63mins). Subs not used: Redwood, Drage.
Man of the Match: Alfie Pavey
|September 12, 2017||7:45 pm||National League South||2017/18||90'|
|Grass Banks, Dartford DA1 1LZ, UK|