IT has been a good season for Kentish football with three clubs in the top third of the Isthmian League Premier, one as Champions, one virtually assured of a play-off spot and the third very hopeful.

Two of those three met at Princes Park last Saturday, the reverse of the early season clash at Tonbridge. This time, Darts halved Tonbridge’s tally while doubling their own.

It was a day of capricious weather, with hail mixed with bright sun and squally rain driving spectators off the seats to mingle with the rain-soaked standees at the back of the terraces.

Darts started with the now-familiar handicap of an early conceded goal courtesy of a lackadaisically-defended free-kick when Scott Gooding applied the nod to Storry’s left-side free-kick in the third minute.

Suitably encouraged, Tonbridge set about building on their lead but, despite heavy pressure, they failed to breach Darts’ rearguard. In fact, the hosts, playing mainly through the middle and left, drew level just before the quarter-hour mark.

Craig Carley evaded a couple of lunges and fed Bradley Woods-Garness, who took up possession a dozen yards out before picking his spot to unleash an unstoppable blast past the mesmerised Lee Worgan to level matters.

Tonbridge recognised they had trouble on their ands and knocked Woods-Garness over for a penalty to Darts, which was saved by Worgan.

Then they had him down just outside of the box before they regained the lead when the industrious Rook fed Paul Booth, who swept the Angels in front again.

Darts settled in immediately after the interval when a Jamie Day free-kick on the left flank was headed home by Adam Flanagan.

This spurred Darts on and much of the mid-season swagger re-surfaced with those instinctive flicks and switches causing problems for the Angels’ defence.

At one time, it seemed like Tonbridge were suffering from some sort of rotational malady with players almost lining up to receive medical attention, resulting in the addition of four minutes added-on time.

This was an absorbing encounter, well-supported in probably the best atmosphere at Princes Park this season. A fine advert for football involving a rivalry stretching back 60 years.

Dartford: Young, Osborne, Gross, Flanagan, Coyle, Dafter, Carley, Day, May, Woods-Garness, Butterworth. Subs: Guest, Isa, Whitnell, Hayes, Ibrahim. Att: 1,380.