DARTFORD fell foul of a last minute penalty at Sincil Bank on Saturday for an offence which the on-the-spot referee did not see but the vigilant assistant did.

Colin Larkin beat Marcus Bettinelli from the spot to earn the home side three points.

It is not your scribe’s policy to criticise match officials without whom there would be no football played.

Suffice to say, however, he awarded one red and nine yellow cards in a game which contained rarely a bad tackle.

Dartford kicked to the Cathedral End in the first half, but it is doubtful the Imp watching in his lofty perch enjoyed the game very much.

It has been a hectic few weeks for Darts, including a midweek FA Trophy tie in Halifax which saw the players arriving back at Princes Park at 3.30am the following morning.

Full-time pros have the next day to recover, whereas part-timers go to work the next day.

It takes time to recover from this and traces of fatigue were still evident on Saturday.

The Imps took the lead after just six minutes when Valdaine Oliver headed home from close range.

Lincoln’s Jake Sheridan was sent off for dangerous play on 28 minutes when he went in two-footed on a Dartford player in midfield.

Contact or no contact, such action nowadays is not tolerated, as Sheridan discovered to his cost.

Darts played up the minimal slope in the second half and deservedly equalised when Lee Noble hit a brisk shot after a weaving run, leaving 20 minutes for a possible winner.

The visitors should have had their tails up at this stage but it was apparent the recent number of long trips were having an effect.

Then came the last minute killer blow to underline the point.

Dartford are at home to Luton on Tuesday (7.45pm)

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Dartford: Bettinelli, Burns, Champion, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes (Evans 80), Noble, Bradbrook (Green 69): Harris, Erskine (Collier 59). Subs not used: Wallis, Rogers. Att: 1,789.