Luton 0-2 Dartford
WITH almost 500 travelling supporters at their backs, Dartford made a dream start in their second visit to Kenilworth Road.
The attendance of 6,567 was one of the largest for a visiting Dartford team in the modern era, the best being 9,750 at Kings Lynn in November 1949.
As usual Ryan Hayes made the first run down the right and slung in a cross beyond the far post to serve due notice on the Hatters.
In the sixth minute of the game Darts took the lead.
A free-kick far out on the left found its way into the home penalty area, where Lee Noble was ideally placed to put the ball past Luton keeper Dean Brill.
Relaxed, Dartford certainly had the best of matters for the rest of the first half and it surprised few of the spectators when they doubled their tally four minutes before the interval.
Mark Arber delivered a free-kick from just inside the home half and Tom Bonner gathered possession before waltzing past a static defence to make it 2-0.
Words were obviously spoken in the home dressing room during the break as Luton came out with a determination to match their high placing in the division.
The Non-League Paper corner/free-kick count was probably an accurate enough interpretation of the second half’s progress.
Try as they might, Luton discovered why Darts concede less than a goal a game on the road.
A well-drilled defence, backed up by a keeper arguably the best at the club since the great Dave Underwood of Liverpool and Fulham fame, ensured there was to be no recovery from the hosts.
Luton are a quality team which plays excellent football and up until Saturday averaged two goals per game – you don't get into the top five by being a poor side.
The pressure was on Darts and the visitors battled for every ball.
Possibly where Luton did fall down was in the quality of their final ball, particularly with their crosses which Marcus Bettennelli picked of with consummate ease.
Darts were lucky once when Luton hit the bar.
Would it have made any difference had it gone in?
Possibly to the nervous system.
But it didn’t and Darts left the pitch to generous applause from the home supporters.
In the Luton boardroom home officials acknowledged Darts as the best side to play at Kenilworth Road so far this season.
Not bad for part-time no hopers!
Dartford are at home to Southport on Saturday, kick-off 3pm.
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Dartford: Bettenelli, Burns, Bonner, Arber, Rose, Hayes, Champion, Bradbrook, Harris (Rogers 88), Noble (Collier 83), Erskine. Subs not used: Wells, Green, Wallis. Att: 6,567.