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Dartford 2-2 Southport
THE late, great Liverpool manager Bill Shankley once said he was unhappy if his title winning side played six good games in a season.
Certainly Dartford’s game against Southport would not have impressed him, as the two points Tony Burman's team let slip at the end could well have been all three.
As ever, Darts set about the opposition on a chilly, dull afternoon courtesy of testing crosses from Ryan Hayes.
Sadly Dartford were less effective along the other flank, almost as though somebody had gone walkabout.
Jacob Erskine, as usual, was the target man who obviously misses Harry Crawford, absent through suspension.
It didn't seem to matter early on when Elliot Bradbrook gave the home side the lead courtesy of a pile-driver from just outside of the area,
But the advantage lasted just five minutes as Southport were given a free-kick out by the left corner flag.
Karl Ledsham swung the delivery in to Marcus Bettenelli's far post, where Steve Akrigg rose highest and nodded Southport level.
Mark Arber, in attempting to block the ball, collided with the post and ended up with a fractured jawbone.
After five minutes of intense treatment he declared himself fit to continue.
His bravery, especially when he dived to head the ball away at boot level, made nonsense of his low man of the match rating on the Pure DFC website.
The next twist came on 33 minutes when Ryan Hayes was sent sprawling in the Southport area.
Up strode Bradbrook to burst the net from the spot to give the hosts a 2-1 interval lead.
Darts seemed to be content to hold on to what they had and this allowed Southport to gradually get the upper hand as the game wore on.
Even so, it was well into the four minutes added on before they got an equaliser when Shaun Whatley fed Ledsham to calmly slot home.
This inspired Southport to go for the winner and there was an interminable goalmouth shambles which seemed to last longer than the four added on minutes.
Legs and bodies flailed to no avail and the two teams had to share the spoils.
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Dartford: Bettenelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes (Wallis 84), Champion, Noble (Collier 87), Bradbrook, Harris, Erskine (Rogers 87). Subs not used: Wells, Green. Att: 1,506.
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