Grimsby 0-2 Dartford
DARTFORD’S incredible start to life in the Conference continued on Saturday with a 2-0 success at Grimsby Town.
The result inflicted Grimsby Town’s first defeat in 11 games and was only their second of the current campaign, both reverses being at their magnificently-appointed Blundell Park stadium.
Grimsby started brightly enough with England C International Aswad Thomas prominent along their left flank.
On five minutes the home side appealed for a penalty when Thomas turned inside to go past Lee Burns, but referee Mr Toner, who had an excellent afternoon, waved play on.
Although the home side had more possession in the first half, they found Darts unyielding.
In fact, the nearest they got to scoring was when Derek Niven’s long-range strike was tipped over the bar by Marcus Bettinelli.
September manager of the month Tony Burman made some adjustments at half-time and Darts were immediately more effective on the restart as they kicked towards the noisy band of indefatigable travelling supporters.
Defence and midfield squeezed the Mariners back into their own half and the first goal of the afternoon came on 52 minutes.
Darts got half a dozen players into the home penalty area before Gillingham loanee Adam Birchall fed the ball into the pack and Tom Champion hit home from six yards.
Grimsby were stunned and home manager Rob Scott made a double substitution.
But Darts refused to be bullied and, for all the home side’s efforts, they managed to turn the visiting defence only once when substitute Anthony Elding’s cross was blasted wide.
That cost Grimsby dear. With six minutes remaining another Grimsby raid was broken up and the ball whipped out to Adam Birchall, lurking at half way.
He drew the lone Mariners defender, ghosted past him and slid the killer goal coolly into the far corner of the net.
Dartford’s supporters exploded with joy and a drum-led conga wound its way behind the home goal - a fitting end to a great day out for the Dartford Family.
Meanwhile, Darts discovered this morning they will visit fellow Conference high-flyers Forest Green Rovers in the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.
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Dartford: Bettenilli: Burns, Champion, Arber, Rose: Collier, Bonner, Noble, Bradbrook, Harris (Erskine77): Birchall (Wallis 87). Subs not used: Wells, Hayes, Crawford. Att: 4,009.