The Darts came crashing back to earth after relinquishing their unbeaten streak in a 0-1 loss to East Thurrock in the National League South.
A solitary strike from Sam Higgins in the first half was enough for his side to maintain their own unbeaten streak and keep themselves inside the top three.
Dartford attempted to respond after the break but a lacklustre display in front of goal meant they were unable to force home an equaliser.
The Darts started the game without star keeper Ibrahim, who was called up to international duty with home country Gibraltar so new loan signing Jordan Beeney from Charlton was between the sticks.
A cagey first forty-five yielded few chances as both sides struggled to gain a foothold in the game as the Darts were left to rue a lack of support for Mfula and Pavey up-top for long periods of the game.
Out on the wings Ryan Hayes cut an isolated figure on the right whilst Della-Verdes attempts to get his side’s attacking play often gathered little results.
The visitors plan to suffocate the home side was working wonders and soon they had another reason to celebrate as Higgins grabbed what was ultimately the match winner.
A well hit free kick from Reece Harris caught out Beeney at his near post but the on-loan starlet did well to get across and somehow divert the ball onto the bar however Higgins, who had lost his marker, was alert to convert from close range.
Once in the lead East Thurrock were seemingly content to continue to sit back and stifle the Darts attack, frustrating the home fans, particularly with players going down to receive treatment.
Dartford’s best opportunity of the half came five minutes before the break as Warren Mfula showed great determination to hunt down a long ball and work an effort to beat Kepler Lukas Lidakevicius but unfortunately saw the effort roll wide of the empty net.
The Darts came back out after the restart with renewed spirits but for all there probing, they were unable to fully break down Thurrock’s stubborn defence.
A long throw in was almost forced home by Alfie Pavey before Hayes fired an effort wide of the mark.
The Darts continued to press for an equaliser as Thurrock ran the clock down. Pavey’s skilled footwork was out on display as he cut inside two defenders to release a goal bound effort that forced Lidakevicius to be at full stretch to tip away to safety.
Alfie Cue was sent on by Tony Burman to add an extra dimension to the attack and both him and Elliot Bradbrook saw efforts thwarted whilst numerous penalty appeals for the home side were waved away.
Dartford did have one final opportunity to snatch a point as another substitute Andy Pugh was found brilliantly by Harris but he could only direct his headed straight into the grateful hands of Lidakevicius, thus condemning the Darts to their first loss of the season.
Dartford: Beeney, Harris, Onyemah, Bonner, Sho-Silva (Wood 62mins), Noble, Hayes, Bradbrook, Pavey, Mfula (Pugh 56mins), Della-Verde (Cue 72mins).
Subs not used: Ajala, Brown.
East Thurrock: Lidakevicius, Peddie (Sammons 57mins), Harris, Allen, Ekpiteta, Burns, Agyemang (Ruel 61mins), Cornhill, Higgins, Akinwande (Honesty 85mins), Smith.
Subs not used: Boswell, White.
|August 28, 2017||3:00 pm||National League South||2017/18||90'|
|Grass Banks, Dartford DA1 1LZ, UK|
|East Thurrock United||1||Win|