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Dartford 1-1 Forest Green Rovers
DARTFORD ended a seven-match losing streak with an FA Trophy draw against Forest Green at Princes Park on Saturday.
They led thanks to a well-taken goal from Danny Harris shortly before half-time and were just 18 minutes from securing a well-earned victory until Yan Klukowski spoilt the party with an equaliser to earn Forest Green a replay.
Dartford had secured the services of midfielder Jim Stevenson on a month’s loan from former manager John Still's Luton Town. On the down side, Mat Mitchel-King joined the walking wounded when substituted with a badly bruised shoulder and two broken fingers at half-time.
Lee Burns slotted into his usual attacking full-back position alongside Mitchel-King, who was in for the suspended Kenny Clark, while the left flank of the defence consisted of Connor Essam and Tyrone Sterling.
Nathan Collier was out wide right and now just needs to fill the striker, wide left and keeper positions to complete the full set in Dartford colours.
Although the crowd of 511 was sparse, the early use of the drum inspired those present, who got behind Darts right from the off. The team responded and more than matched the expensive and experienced opposition.
Darts deservedly went ahead at a crucial time four minutes before the interval through Harris, who chased a pass from Nathan Collier, burst through and drove his effort past visiting keeper Sam Russell.
Forest Green reportedly have 29 full-time contract players, including a brace of England C internationals on the payroll, and after the break gradually the expensively assembled visitors got to terms with the game.
They equalised in the 72nd minute when Klukowski found himself one-on-one with Phil Smith and hit home the leveller.
Cries of offside were ignored by referee Amy Fearn on the grounds the culprit was not interfering with play, but if he’s not interfering with play then what’s he doing on the pitch?
Whatever, Darts are off to Gloucestershire on a dank December night for the replay tomorrow.
Off the field, the newly published Dartford history book Princes Among Men was on sale at a pre-match launch with around 100 copies sold.
For more information on obtaining your copy, visit dartfordfconline.com
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Dartford: Smith, Burns, Mitchel-King (Woodyard 46), Essam, Sterling, Collier, Stevenson, Bradbrook, Martin, Harris (Akinwande 87), Birchall. Subs not used: Cornhill, Vint, Dembele. Att: 511.
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