Dartford 2-1 Harlow Town

UNDER an ice-blue sky made surly by grey cumulonimbus, the two teams, management and supporters joined in silent remembrance for Daniel DeGale a young Academy physio who sadly died on the preceding Wednesday.

The tie itself was sponsored by relatives of Tony Harris, who died in August, aged 46.

Darts replaced Steve Butterworth with Ryan Hayes for the start, with newcomer Cody McDonald on the bench for Rob Haworth, who was out injured.

The new supporters’ flag, having survived its rather brusque baptism, made a welcome reappearance. Both sides made tentative starts in front of the round’s second-largest crowd, with the opening skirmishes including the obligatory flattening of Lee Noble after just four minutes. The feat was repeated 10 minutes later.

This time the free-kick was cleared as far as Adam Flanagan who, lurking 35 yards out on the right, fired in an unstoppable volley past James Hassel in the visiting goal to put Darts one up.

Dartford were altogether more positive all round than against Margate, while Harlow, though obviously a good side, appeared to be a little short on ambition.

However, they did have periods of pressure and just before the midpoint of the half, earned a penalty which defender Mark Taylor placed inches away from Andrew Young’s fingertips to level the scores.

After the interval it was all a bit cat-and-mouse, with Dartford just having the edge on possession, although a rather fortuitous free-kick for Harlow early in the half almost gave the visitors the lead.

But Young, who deserved his man of the match award, palmed the kick round his right post.

Twice more he outwitted Harlow with similar saves.

With the visitors seeming more and more likely to snatch a replay, a swift ball out of defence from Jamie Day found Ryan Hayes on halfway.

The winger outstripped Harlow’s wide open defence, drew Hassel and slotted a sweet left-footer into the vacant net for the winner and, incidentally, his 50th goal for Dartford.

There remained sufficient time for Harlow’s skipper Jamie Richards to receive a hard-earned red card and for Cody McDonald to replicate Hayes’ goal, thwarted in the end by Hassel.

Dartford: Young, Coyle, Osborne, Flanagan (Powell 59), Guest, Dafter, Hayes, White (McDonald 63), Cass, Day, Noble (Butterworth). Subs not used: Taylor, Kessell. Att: 851.