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Dartford 1-0 Southport
ADAM Birchall’s first half goal was enough to secure Dartford all three points over Southport at Princes Park on Saturday.
Dartford had a pre-match scare when keeper Alan Julian phoned in to say he was stuck in M25 traffic over the bridge but fortunately he made it in time.
When the game got underway, the visitors belied their poor away record of five successive losses by laying siege to the Dartford goal.
Southport skipper and dead-ball king Jamie Milligan struck the Dartford crossbar on six minutes from 25 yards.
Julian had to deal with a couple of rasping shots but soon Darts were countering, with Ryan Hayes supplying a series of crosses from out right.
However, the main threat was from a series of astute passes by Alex Woodyard who fed Elliott Bradbrook, Lee Noble and Danny Harris to put pressure on a fragile defence.
The only goal of the game came on 31 minutes when a Noble left-side corner was parried by Southport keeper Danny Hurst.
Bradbrook's shot was parried and Birchall swept the ball home.
Despite, or perhaps because of, a post half-time substitution, Southport’s tactics appeared to be over cautious, the visitors seemingly happy to rely on converting one of a handful of chances to naturally come their way in the final 45 minutes.
As it turned out there was only one such opportunity, another Milligan free-kick.
Dartford were content to run the clock down and avoid injuries on the principle it is better to win ugly than lose pretty.
In the final quarter of an hour Darts’ substitutes gave the visiting defence plenty to think about and Hurst had to be on his toes to keep out efforts from Max Cornhill and Uche Ibemere.
September has finished on a high for Darts and home form is looking solid.
Now for a nice trek to Gateshead!
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Dartford: Julian, Burns, Clark, Collier, Fry, Hayes (Cornhill 55), Noble, Woodyard, Bradbrook, Harris (Ibemere 87), Birchall (Prior 79). Subs not used: Hill, Mitchell-King. Att: 1,025.
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