Dartford 2-3 Eastbourne Borough
Dartford 2-3 Eastbourne Borough

Dartford crashed out of the Buildbase FA Trophy after a truly incredible finale in the Princes Park rain.

Visitors Eastbourne Borough were coasting two goals ahead going into stoppage time after a truly frustrating performance from the home side that had many of the home following already heading for the exits.

With the clock already showing ninety minutes, substitute Andre Coker fired what many thought would be a mere “consolation” for the Darts.

Yet incredibly there was still chance for one more attack for the home side and as the ball was played through to Taylor Fisher, the youngster (another substitute) hammered the ball beyond Eastbourne keeper Mark Smith and out of absolutely nothing, the Darts were level!

There was still time for an astonishing finale. The visitors won a free kick which was deflected behind and with literally the last kick of the game, the corner was powered home at the back post by Tom Gardiner to leave those that remained of the home support totally floored.

To be fair, Eastbourne fully deserved their place in the next round as they dominated for long periods with the Dartford central strikers – and Charlie Sheringham in particular – being forced to feed off the shallowest of service.

Meanwhile at the other end, home keeper Bailey Vose really had to be on his game to keep the Darts in the contest in a first half that the visitors bossed without really getting out of first gear.

The keeper made his first save to deny Ryan Hall’s low drive before denying the same player with his feet shortly afterwards.

Adam Liddle was the next to be denied by Vose before the Darts keeper was finally beaten on the stroke of half time when Dean Cox was played in behind the home defence and made no mistake from the angle.

The Darts improved marginally after half time with the double introduction of Kudus Oyenuga and Coker but the visitors were still incredibly comfortable and Cox duly turned provider as Eastbourne went two up as a super ball in from the left found Joel Rollinson who smashed the ball past a hopelessly exposed Vose at the back post.

With the home side making no impression, Rollinson missed a golden opportunity to seal the game for Eastbourne but was denied by another fine Vose save – this time with his legs.

Then came the finish to end all finishes as the Darts looked to have saved themselves through Coker and Fisher before Gardiner’s late heroics means that Dorchester Town now head to the Sussex coast in the next round.

For the Darts, it’s a question of licking their wounds before a weekend off as they prepare to welcome Torquay United for a League fixture at Princes next Tuesday.


Dartford: Vose, Onyemah, Wynter, Vint, Greenhalgh (Fisher 79mins), Noble, Philpot (Oyenuga 46mins), Bradbrook, Hayes (Coker 46mins), Johnson, Sheringham.

Subs not used: Smoker, Gillies.

Eastbourne: Smith, Adebayo-Rowling, Campbell, Wills, Ransom, Gardiner, Cox (Walker 70mins), West (Torres 60mins), Liddle (Briggs 76mins), Hall, Rollinson.

Subs not used: Obudabe, Dawes.

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