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Darts hit double top to sink the Iron
10:26am Wednesday 26th September 2012 in Sport
By Ron Fosker
BRAINTREE TOWN 0 DARTFORD 2
Blue Square Bet Premier
DARTFORD are turning out to be the 2012 version of Braintree.
Promoted last season, they got off to a slow start but have turned the power on in recent matches and have charged up the table.
This win – their sixth in eight matches – took them up one place to sixth, and Braintree down two places to 16th.
They have no outstanding players, no special skills on the ball.
But like Braintree last year, they are playing with confidence and a spring in their step.
They looked sharper all over the pitch, usually the first to react when the ball broke loose and quick to close down their opponents when they did not have the ball.
They were also solid at the back, normally one of Iron’s strong points, but not here.
Both Dartford goals resulted from crosses from the right which sailed over the defence’s heads to an unmarked white shirt.
Tom Bonner tapped in the first and Jacob Erskine the second.
The goals came in the 18th and 34th minutes.
In between, Iron had two chances to level but the visitors were indebted in each case to excellent work by their keeper Marcus Mettinelli.
First he advanced to block a Dan Holman shot from a tight angle on the right and then pulled off an even better save from a Brad Quinton free-kick that looked to be heading for the corner of the net.
Even before they scored, Mettinelli had been the busier keeper.
He tipped over a fierce Holman drive and advanced to thwart Sean Marks when he ran on to a Danny Sparkes through ball.
Manager Alan Devonshire opted for a different shape in the second half, taking off Ryan Peters, who had been injured in the first half, and Adam Bailey-Dennis and bringing on Matt Paine at the back and Josh Dawkin on the left wing.
Sparkes dropped to left-back, with Pat O’Connor moving over to the right.
After 70 minutes be brought on Kaine Shepherd in place of Marks, who seems to have lost his mojo a little this season.
But it made no difference.
The Dartford defence held firm.
Devonshire always looks for positives in defeats and he need look no further than the increasing influence of James Mulley on the right wing.
After four games on the bench, he has now started the last four and looked to be the only one likely to unlock the defence.
He showed excellent ball control and produced some clever runs.
It was not his fault that his colleagues failed to capitalise.
Braintree: Naisbitt; Peters (Dawkin 45), Wells, Bailey-Dennis (Paine), O’Connor; Mulley, Quinton, Symons, Sparkes; Marks (Shepherd 70), Holman.
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