DARTFORD and Bromley shared the derby honours in an entertaining game at Princes Park on Saturday.

There have been many meetings between Bromley and Dartford over the years, mainly in the Kent Cups, but this weekend’s fixture was the first league game between the two clubs for 97 years.

The last meetings came in season 1913-14 in the Kent League.

Bromley maintained their unbeaten start to the season, while Dartford remain undefeated at home after nine league outings, although both sides came close to losing their records in an action packed and keenly fought game.

Dartford started well and put Bromley under early pressure when Ryan Hayes’ 35 yard free-kick skimmed the crossbar after just six minutes.

One minute later, Jerrome Sobers did well to block Lee Burns’s side footer from just inside the area before Elliot Bradbrook shot over after 13 minutes.

Bromley weathered the early pressure and Ryan Dolby fired over when a David Graves cross was cleared into his path.

Paul Vines won possession in the centre circle on the half hour to feed Tony Finn, who promptly set off on a 35 yard run, only to lift his effort high and wide of the intended target.

Finn was instrumental in Bromley’s opening goal five minutes later when he picked up a loose ball before wrong-footing two defenders to loop a cross to the far post.

With Darts keeper Andy Young off his line, the ball appeared to be dropping into the top corner of the net but to make sure Nic McDonnell got the faintest of headers to help it over the line.

The visitors then had a good spell going into the break, forcing a series of corners, all of which came to nothing.

McDonnell went close at the start of the second period when he shot just wide from Vines’s flick on, and on 52 minutes a flowing movement for Bromley saw Vines just fail to connect with a header following Finn’s penetrating cross.

Wes Foderingham blocked well from a goalmouth scramble before Hayes blasted over the loose ball from 25 yards, and then rather tamely shot straight at the Bromley keeper from close range.

Bromley’s best chance of the match was wasted in the 64th minute when Graves made a great overlapping run before crossing to Daly who, with the goal at his mercy, tamely shot straight at the Dartford keeper from 10 yards.

This miss was to prove costly as the home side levelled the scores in the 75th minute from the penalty spot in controversial circumstances.

A long ball into the heart of the Bromley defence saw four players – two from each side – challenge for the ball and then collapse in a heap.

The match official, who was at least 30 yards behind play, immediately pointed to the spot and then took an age to produce the red card and show it to Sobers.

How the referee could decide to dismiss Sobers from his position is a mystery, as the assistant was in a far better situation to adjudge if any offence had been committed and, more to the point, as to which player had offended.

After a lengthy stoppage, Hayes drove the spot kick past Foderingham, although the Bromley keeper got a hand to the ball.

The sending off altered the course of the game and Dartford put Bromley under a lot of pressure in the closing 15 minutes with Bradbrook and substitute Carl Rook each missing twice from reasonable positions.

However, Bromley scored what they thought would be the winner with three minutes remaining.

Harrison Dunk intercepted Salifou Ibrahima’s intended pass to debutant Ben Davisson to run at the Dartford defence and fired a cracking left foot shot which gave Young no chance in the Dartford goal.

But Bromley’s celebrations were cut short as straight from the restart, the home side broke down the right and Hayes’ cross to the back post was headed home by Bradbrook to level the scores once again.

Bromley finished the game with nine men as Dunk burst through again in stoppage time near the corner flag before Tom Bonner trod on his left ankle.

The offence went unpunished by the referee, who was no more than eight yards away from the incident.

Dartford: Young, Bonner, Gross, Bruce, Goodacre, Shinn, Hayes (Noble 88), Champion, Sherringham (Harris 66), Burns (Rook 66), Bradbrook. Subs not used: White, Whitehouse.

Bromley: Foderingham, Graves (Fray 77), Dunk, Daly, Scarborough, Sobers, Finn, Henriques, Vines (Ibrahima 75), McDonnell, Dolby (Davisson 70). Subs not used: Green, McBean. Att: 1,834.