Lambs victory sends Darts down
21 April 2014After the Good Friday defeat of Hereford at The Lamb, Dale Belford took his squad to Princes Park, the impressive home of Dartford for their final away game in the top flight of non league for at least a season.
Dartford came into the game knowing that nothing less than a win was required to try and help avoid uncertainty about their tenure in the top flight of non league going into the final game of the season. The Darts got the game underway but the opening exchanges saw Tamworth more in possession and Kerry signalled his intentions by firing a right footed shot at goal inside the third minute.
At the other end, a Burns cross from the right wing found the head of Noble at the far post but he was unable to direct it anywhere other than high over the bar.
Stevenson’s shot from the right of the box struck Evans and went out of play on 4 and on 8 a freekick on the Lambs right wing was headed past the far post by Reindorf.
Thornton’s right footed shot forced a Tamworth corner but the home defence cleared and play was occasionally disrupted by a few niggly tackles, mainly conceded by Tamworth.
Belford was forced into the first telling save of the game to deny the powerful drive of Bradbrook on 21 and Harris curled a shot from the edge of the area around the far post on 24 with Belford at full stretch.
The Darts made a change on 26 and after a brief spell of possession Dartford broke and Bradbrook struck from 18 yards first time but onto the terraces behind the goal.
From a Dartford attack The Lambs were forced to defend strongly and concede a corner rather than leave Belford exposed but from the corner on the left on the half hour Bradbrook stabbed home from close range to give the home side the lead and perhaps more importantly, hope (0-1, 30 mins)
A long range effort from Caprice earned a deflected corner on 39 and Kerry struck from the edge of the box but Reindorf was unable to get the final touch on it.
Richards-Everton picked up a yellow card for excessive backing into the Dartford player on 42 and one minute added time was shown at the end of the first half.
Tamworth got the second half underway and gave home keeper Julian a close call early on with some good balls into the box from Evans, Hoban and Peniket all contributing and on 50 Hoban’s ball into the far post was well met by Peniket’s header but he couldn’t keep it down.
On the hour, Belford prevented Bradbrook’s second with a near post smother of the captain’s powerful low strike, and Tamworth broke up field with a move ending in Reindorf netting from close range to the delight of the overwhelming minority of the crowd in the ground. (1-1, 60 mins)
Evans sent in another teasing ball on 61 and the home defence dealt with it, but Dartford hit back and Bradbrook tried to lob Belford on 65 only to see it drop onto the roof of the net. McAuley struck wildly off target from distance on 69 and Kerry curled an effort over the bar at the other end on 71.
A run into the box by Woolery was halted by the home defence somewhat clumsily on 72 and Thornton struck home from the penalty spot to give The Lambs the lead and almost certainly relegate Dartford in the process, curling the spot kick to Julian’s right (2-1, 73 mins)
Woolery went close to notching a third with a lo shot from the left of the area on 78 and a Reindorf shot forced Julian to push it `round the post with his fingertips on 79.
After Caprice had been booked for tussling the ball for a freekick, Woolery forged through the back line and hit a rising shot over the bar on 83.
Thornton linked up with Kerry and it looked like the latter would bag his second in as many games but Julian somehow diverted his goalbound effort and Suarez headed well enough in the Darts move but failed to beat Belford. Hoban found he had time to go for goal on 86 but curled it wide of the mark from 18 yards and he made space and tried a similar effort on 87 but again his direction was found wanting.
Peniket skipped into the box and a tackle earned a corner on the left on 88 but the corner was wasted and when Swallow was fouled on the Dats right wing on 89 it saw everyone but two players in the Tamworth half allowing The Lambs to break and Thornton to go one on with the keeper and slot home (3-1, 90 mins).
Three minutes added time were shown at the end of the game and Bradbrook was booked for protesting a decision and although he notched his second goal of the afternoon deep into injury time the final whistle blew and both sets of supporters applauded their sides off the field despite the obvious.
Belford, Evans, Hoban, Reindorf, Richards-Everton, Kerry, Thornton, Caprice, Peniket, Woolery, Keane
Subs: Baker, Byfield, Vanderhyde, Batis-Cande, Belford D
Julian, Sterling (Woodyard 90), Cornhill, Noble, Bradbrook, Harris, Mitchel-King (Clark 26), Swallow, Burns, Stevenson (Suarez 68), McAuley
Subs: Collier, Holloway
Referee: Mr. C. Hicks