Dartford 0-1 Braintree Town
Dartford 0-1 Braintree Town

Another tight game between Dartford and Braintree Town ended with disappointment for the hosts.

Earlier in the season the two teams shared the points with a 2-2 draw in Essex and followed up with a 1-1 stalemate in North Kent.

Tony Burman made three changes to the team that finished the 42 game league campaign with a victory at Bognor Regis Town whilst Braintree Town were unchanged from their midweek play-off eliminator in which they beat Truro City in a penalty shoot out.

Alfie Pavey almost embarrassed Marc-Antony Okoye in the opening minutes when charging down a clearance but it flwe wide of the near post.

Okoye was then in action at the other end when heading over after Braintree had worked a short corner well.

Reece Grant was booked for a very late challenge on Lee Noble. When the free kick was eventually taken it came to Elliot Bradbrook who spun and shot low only to be foiled by a brilliant save by Nathan McDonald.

Much scrappy football followed until Braintree put a good passing movement together which ended with Marcel Barrington screwing a shot wide of the near post.

Another great chance then went Dartford’s way. Mark Onyemah sent Danny Mills clear and McDonald made a superb save with his feet. It came back out to Onyemah and his cross picked out Duane Ofori-Acheampong but his close range header flew wide.

Billy Crook sliced a shot wide for Braintree before a needless Ronnie Vint foul gave the Iron another chance. Luke Allen tried to be clever expecting the defensive wall to jump but they didn’t and the chance was gone.

As the half came to a close, Mills twisted and turned to create room for a cross and found Pavey but his close range towering header went the wrong side of the post.

Neither teams made changes at the break and the first chance of the second period went the way of the visitors. Dan Thompson sent Grant clear and as he attempted to round Berti Schotterl, the Darts goalkeeper stuck out a leg to make a tremendous goal saving tackle.

Once more Braintree broke quickly and won a corner that Okoye headed over. Barrington then put a thirty yard free kick into the trees outside the ground as Dartford struggled to make an impression.

Allen tested Schotterl with a shot that he could not hold but there was nobody following up and the Darts’ custodian was able to claim the loose ball.

Barrington fired over from the left hand side then Jonathan Muleba cut in from the right but curled his effort too high.

Substitute Roman Michael-Percil went on a great run before his shot was turned wide and from the corner, Braintree went ahead. Okoye showed composure to square and it came eventually to Crook who fired home gleefully.

Diaz Wright shot wide for Braintree as they looked for a killer second goal.

Despite a double substitution, Dartford continued to struggle and after Ryan Hayes was unable to turn a Tom Murphy cross in from a tight angle and their excellent nine win streak and their promotion hopes came to an end.

 

Dartford: Schotterl, Collier, Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Brown (Pugh 78), Noble, Bradbrook, Pavey (Murphy 78), Ofori-Acheampong (Hayes 60), Mills.

Subs not used: Harris, Ibrahim.

 

Braintree Town: McDonald; Muleba, Gabriel, Hill, Okoye, Wright, Allen (Frimpong 90+2), Crook, Grant (Michael-Percil 58), Thompson, Barrington (Wyatt 82).

Subs not used: Acoridge, Bettache.

 

Dartford:

Goalscorers: None

Yellow cards: None

Red cards: None

 

Braintree Town:

Goalscorers: Crook (72)

Yellow cards: Grant

Red cards: None

 

Referee: Lloyd Wood

Assistants: Craig Green and Matthew Russell

Fourth Official: Lee Brennan

 

Attendance: 1,704

 

Dartford star player: Elliot Bradbrook

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