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Match Report


Posted Tue 05 Mar 13 at 21:58 PM

Hard earned point for Hatters

In a game that saw both sides dominate a half, the Hatters bounced back from a run of three straight defeats to earn a creditable draw at Dartford. Mark Cullen's first goal for the club early in the first half being cancelled out in the second half by Ryan Hayes strike.

County began the game well with Adnan Cirak earning the first corner of the match, Sean Newton kick well claimed by Marcus Bettinelli in the Darts goal. An early counter attack down the left from the home side being dealt with by Newton, Andy Halls clearing the loose ball.

Neat play from the recalled Danny Whitehead brought another opportunity only for Cirak to be caught offside. The home side's next chance came as James Rogers headed over the County bar after good play down the County left by Hayes. 

The Hatters looked the more likely side to score and took the lead their play deserved in the 10th minute as Cullen slotted home after Bettinelli had spilled Cirak's shot from the edge of the box. The Swede missed a chance minutes later as he blasted a shot well over the bar after Cullen had knocked Newton's cross down into his path.

The home supporters were growing more frustrated as their side were struggling to create a clear opening, and were  up in arms looking for a penalty as Danny Harris went down in the box under a challenge from James Tunnicliffe, referee Rees waving away appeals. In another rare venture forward  from the home side Tunnicliffe again cleared the danger.

The Hatters were looking good in possession and more neat play down the left between Newton, Cullen and Mainwaring ended with Bettinelli saving at Cullen's feet to deny the County striker a second goal.

As the half came towards its end, Nolan, Mainwaring, Cirak and Cullen all went close to adding to the early goal with the Darts earning a couple of corners with O'Donnell punching clear on each occasion.

HT: Dartford 0 Stockport County 1 (Cullen)

The home side began the second half in earnest and almost grabbed an early leveller as a neatly worked free kick routine saw Tom Bonner's header clear the bar.

More chances came as Halls cleared an effort in his 6 yard box, Hayes coming close with a shot that flashed just wide as the home side applied pressure.

The Hatters were still looking good on the counter attack, Cullen shooting wide after good work from Whitehead and Kenyon, Nolan shooting wide after good work from Cirak and following a superb break from Whitehead, Cullen's shot was deflected wide.

The Darts pressure was growing, and following a succession of corner kicks they made a double substitution with Jacob Erskine and Jack Evans replacing James Rogers and Jon Wallis.

Bettinelli kept his side in the game with a superb save to tip a Matt Mainwaring shot aside as the Hatters took advantage of the changes, Halls, Whitehead and Nolan playing a part as Mainwaring found space on the left.

The keepers save was made all the more important as Erskine's shot deflected into the path of Hayes who forced the ball home at the near post to bring his side level.

Both sides were now looking for a winning goal, in conflicting styles the home side sent the ball long into the County half, the Hatters playing the neat controlled football that had been missing from the last two games.

Bonner, Erskine and Collier all went close for the Darts whilst Cullen, Cirak and Newton had efforts cleared for County.

In a frantic finale Dartford earned three corners in added time and with Tunnicliffe clearing the danger for the last time in the game, the referee's whistle ending an entertaining match level.

FT: Dartford 1 Stockport County 1 (Cullen)

Starting XI: O'Donnell, Halls, Newton, Hammar, Tunnicliffe, Whitehead (Hackney), Kenyon, Cullen (Macken), Nolan, Cirak, Mainwaring.

Subs: Ormson, Fagbola, Macken, Hackney, Marshall.

ATT: 757 (61)  

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