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Basingstoke 0-1 Dartford
DARTFORD hold a narrow advantage going into Sunday’s second leg after securing a 1-0 semi-final play-off first leg victory at Basingstoke last night.
Both clubs entered uncharted waters in last night’s meeting at the Camrose, a ground where Dartford have not fared too well in the past two seasons.
With the sloping Camrose pitch it is imperative to score when kicking down, something which Darts did in the dying moments of the first half.
It was possibly a two-edged sword as, kicking that way, it enabled Darts to have a look at danger man Delano Sam-Yorke. It also allowed the visiting back four to bed in.
Sam-Yorke engineered an early break but Tom Bonner easily dealt with the threat before Basingstoke won a corner on the right, which was over hit.
Dartford countered with a corner on the left which was cleared out as far as James Rogers, whose shot was tipped away for a corner by Ashley Bayes in the home goal.
This enlivened the Darts supporters at the Shed End and the visitors continued to have the edge for rest of the half.
Just before the break, Danny Harris ghosted past two defenders and set up Lee Noble, who tucked the ball past Bayes for what turned out to be the only goal of the game.
The second half was dominated by Basingstoke who funnelled everything of significance through the highly-skilled Sam-Yorke.
Cheered on by the drum-led home supporters, Basingstoke applied the pressure but were faced with a determined Dartford who showed the necessary composure throughout the evening.
Midway through the half, Sam-Yorke produced the best bit of individual skill of the evening to get behind the visiting defence and delivered the perfect cross to Shaun McAuley who, faced with an open goal, skewered the ball wide with his wrong foot.
The second leg takes place at Princes Park on Sunday, kick-off 3pm.
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Dartford: Wells, Burns, Green, Bonner, Wilkinson, Champion, Noble, Rogers, Erskine, Bradbrook, Harris. Subs not used: Hayes, Gartrod, Graham, Goodacre, Young. Att: 1,691.