Dartford 3-3 AFC Hornchurch

ON an evening to remember at Princes Park, Darts pulled back a half-time 3-0 deficit to share the spoils with FA Cup heroes AFC Hornchurch.

Even the chilly evening and ice-cold searing wind wasn’t preparation enough for what was crammed into 90 pulsating minutes.

A bright opening from Dartford saw a lightning burst along the right from Cody McDonald, which ended with a slashing drive grazing Brightly’s right-hand post, this following a turned down penalty appeal.

The Urchins reposted with a couple of counter-attacks and took the lead on 13 minutes when a two-pass move ended with the hard-working Dean Green slotting home for the opener.

Four minutes later, Green was the architect for the visitors’ second, crossing to Simon Parker who nodded home from six yards.

Darts had done little wrong except for, maybe, a lacking in accuracy passing out of defence and through midfield.

It appeared to be one of those nights when nothing was going right for the homesters as the few chances carved out went astray.

Lee Noble hit a 25 yard free-kick wide and followed this up with a shot which ended in Row Z26!

Powell was harshly fouled on the edge of the Urchins’ penalty area, but the free-kick was wasted.

Just before the break, it was 3-0 for Hornchurch as a two-pass move ended with Green outwitting the Darts’ rearguard to slot home from close range. Undaunted, Darts hit back but couldn’t quite find a telling final ball.

Whatever was put in the half-time teapot should be bottled because Darts came out looking for vengeance.

McDonald duly obliged on 50 minutes by executing a high-pace run, shrugging off flailing defenders and gliding in Darts’ first of the evening.

It then became all Dartford as wave after wave of attacks penned Hornchurch back.

There followed a spell of three corners in quick succession and it became 2-3 when Rob Haworth converted Ray Powell’s cross with an acrobatic scissor kick.

And it was all-square when Jamie Day let fly with an unstoppable 25-yarder, the goal of the night.

It was a fantastic comeback from Dartford and when they can add the second half of the night to the first half at Maidstone then – who knows?

The effort put into that spell took its toll and the rest of the game lost almost all its bite.

Dartford: Young, Coyle, Osborne, Flanagan, Powell, Dafter, White (Barnes 75), Day, McDonald, Haworth, Noble Butterworth 78). Subs not used: Cass, Baigent, Ibrahim. Att: 923.