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Match Report


Posted Sun 04 Jan 15 at 18:30 PM


Marvellous Marvin Johnson’s fantastic late double earned Harriers a place in the top five as they came from behind to take all three points at Dartford.

Ryan Hayes scored inside the opening minute for the Darts but Gary Whild’s side fought back through Johnson, as the winger took his goal tally into double figures.

Harriers’ first win at Princes Park moves them into fifth place, leapfrogging Woking to move one point behind fourth-placed Grimsby Town.

There were two changes to the side which lost 4-2 to Forest Green Rovers on New Year's Day, as Akwasi Asante made his first start for Harriers, having featured three times as a substitute since joining the club last month.

As well as Asante, who replaced Reece Styche in the starting XI, Callum Gittings was recalled as the injured Aman Verma did not feature. 

Dartford made four alterations to the team which lost 3-0 to Braintree Town, with Nathan Green making his debut after joining from Dagenham & Redbridge earlier this week.

He was joined by Hayes, Max Cornhill and Callum Driver in the Darts line-up, in place of Lee Noble, Luke Daley, Peter Sweeney and Tom Bender.

Harriers endured the worst possible start as the Darts took the lead after 45 seconds in an unorthodox fashion straight from a corner kick.

After winning the set-piece initially, Hayes curled an inswinging cross straight into the bottom corner, as Danny Lewis got a hand to the ball but couldn’t prevent it from finding the net.

However, after dominating the second half, Harriers were rewarded by Johnson, who bagged his ninth and 10th goals of the campaign.

Spencer entered the fray on the 57th minute and soon made his impact on the game, setting up Johnson on both occasions.

After 79 minutes, fed by his team-mate, Johnson drove down the right flank, beat the offside trap and sent a delicately-crafted lobbed effort over the head of ‘keeper Deren Ibrahim.

Six minutes later, a well-worked move saw the winger receive the ball on the right from Spencer’s pass, helped on its way by a clever Jack Byrne dummy.

Johnson, as we’ve seen so often this season, cut in and fired a low shot into the back of the net, with Dartford’s attempts of a goal-line clearance arriving too late.

It had been coming for Harriers and it was Spencer himself who almost bagged his first for the club three minutes before Johnson broke the deadlock.

The winger’s cross from the left was headed at goal by the former Redditch man and pushed against the post by Ibrahim, with the lurking Asante unlucky not to get a touch as the ball was scrambled clear.

Jordan Tunnicliffe headed wide not long after the interval, and Johnson saw a shot saved by the Dartford ‘keeper on the 66th minute, as Harriers attacked after Jared Hodgkiss had leapt to make a tremendous header clear from a cross.

Whild’s side had been pelting their opponents’ penalty box with crosses from either side, including from set-pieces, and they rightly saw their endeavours rewarded.

The closest Dartford came to another goal, on the other hand, was through Mat Mitchel-King, who was denied by a stunning punch clear by Lewis in the dying stages.

However, Harriers had made a slow start to the game, scuppered by conceding early on.

Their first decent chance on goal occurred after 18 minutes after Johnson was fouled on the right-hand side.

From Kevin Nicholson’s set-piece, Kyle Storer leapt into action at the far post but his goalward header was saved by Ibrahim.

Johnson then tested the Darts ‘keeper on the 22nd minute, forcing him into a dive to his right after thumping a well-hit strike from outside the area.

Asante, meanwhile, was well-positioned to try a close-range effort as Byrne headed on Johnson’s cross following a cleared Harriers corner, but the ball dropped just too far for the striker to take advantage of.

In a stop-start first half of few clear-cut chances, Dartford also threatened but Lewis was wise to the hosts’ efforts on goal.

Leading Darts goalscorer Tom Bradbrook’s header was caught comfortably by the Harriers ‘keeper after seven minutes, who then punched powerfully clear from another Hayes corner two minutes later.

Lewis also made a vital touch to Harry Crawford’s dangerous attempt from only yards out, getting enough of a hand to his low angled shot to send it gliding untouched across the goalmouth.

Harriers stepped up the pace in the second half and gained the three points which their dominance had deserved, showing a tremendous never-say-die attitude to keep on fighting and claim their first three points of 2015.

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