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Dartford 1-0 Crawley Town - Jet setting Champion's wonder strike dumps favourites out of FA Trophy PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
FA Carlsberg Trophy First Round Replay
Tuesday 14th December 2010
Mike Green reports from Princes Park Stadium

A VOLLEY from substitute Tom Champion in the second minute of stoppage time sent Dartford through in the FA Trophy to a meeting with Ashford Town (Middlesex) in the last 32 at the expense of Blue Square Premier and FA Trophy favourites Crawley Town on an emotional night at Princes Park.


After coming so close to dumping League Two pace setters Port Vale out of the FA Cup a month ago, Champion's stunning stoppage time strike sparked scenes of jubilation around Princes Park that have seldom been seen. 

Indeed Champion himself (who missed out on the original tie at the weekend as he was on business in America only arrived home late on Monday) was only introduced seven minutes from half time as a tactical substitution that saw Carl Rook withdrawn.

Crawley got out of the traps at the start of the game as though their lives depended on it and totally blitzed the Darts, 

But the wall of white, brilliantly marshalled by the magnificent Paul Goodacre and the superb Joe Bruce somehow held firm, although the Darts were perhaps fortunate to not concede a spot kick in the first minute when Sergio Torres went down under Bruce's challenge. 

Torres then almost broke the deadlock on six minutes with a rasping drive which was magnificently tipped over the bar by Sponsors Man of the Match Andrew Young.  Darts themselves had a loud shout for a penalty as Torres appeared to have handled in the box on 15 minutes, but again referee Hopkins (who it must be said had a consistent game) waved away the appeals. 

Michael Shinn then headed Kyle McFadzean's header off the line from a corner on the half hour as Crawley continued to dominate as the first half closed (a corner count of 7-1 in their favour in the first half speaks volumes), yet after the break the visitors only really tested Young the once - and that was courtesy of Darts striker / midfielder Lee Burns. 

On 62 minutes, Darts won only their second corner, yet it was cleared and the visitors broke incredibly quickly.  Burns sprinting towards his only goal stretched out a boot as a desperate measure to stop Crawley top scorer Matt Tubbs having an open strike from the edge of the box, but only succeeded in volleying the ball towards the top corner of Young’s net.  Yet somehow, Young managed to change direct and claw the ball away from underneath his crossbar and away for a corner. 

The look on Burns' face at that moment was absolutely priceless as his run slowed to an almost crawl as he gleefully thanked his keeper for sparing his blushes!

As extra time loomed, the Darts won only their third corner of the game.  Skipper Elliot Bradbrook, who like Champion was in the States at the weekend and so missed the original tie, swung the ball into the box only for the giant Crawley keeper Michel Kuipers to palm the ball straight to Champion, who from the edge of the box volleyed the ball through a sea of legs and into the net to send Darts into the last 32 and maintain Crawley’s incredible record have never getting further than the Fourth Round of the Trophy.

But while Steve Evans' side can dream of possibly playing nPower League football next season (they will go top of the Blue Square Premier if they beat Mansfield on Friday night), for Tony Burman's Darts this was a night to remember... and time to get the A-Z's back out and plan their trip to Ashford Town (Middlesex) where in mid January they will battle for a place in the last 16 - just three rounds from Wembley!  Ah well we can but dream - especially at Christmas!

More to follow.

Dartford: Andrew Young, Billy Burgess, Tom Bonner, Joe Bruce, Paul Goodacre, Michael Shinn, Ryan Hayes (Adam Burchell 68), Charlie Sheringham, Carl Rook (Tom Champion 38), Lee Burns (Jake Burman 90), Elliot Bradbrook.
Subs: Billy Eves, John Whitehouse

Goal: Tom Champion 90

Booked: Carl Rook 31, Michael Shinn 54, Charlie Sheringham 66, Elliot Bradbrook 72

Crawley Town:  Michel Kuipers, Sam Rents, Danny Hall, Steve Masterton, Sergio Torres, Matt Tubbs, Glenn Wilson, Abdulai Bell-Baggie (Scott Neilson 77), Craig McAllister, Dean Howell, Kyle McFadzean. 
Subs: Nick Jordan, Jamie Cook, Chris Flood, Richard Brodie

Booked: Matt Tubbs 54, Kyle McFadzean 64, Danny Hall 86

Attendance: 605
Referee: Mr John Hopkins
Assistants: Mr Mark Engelbretson & Mr Lloyd Wood
Fourth Official: Mr Andy Mead

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 15 December 2010 )
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