Bill Robinson reports from Ship Lane….
Thurrock are still looking for their first win but with keeper Joe Woolley and centre back Phil Anderson making their first appearance of the season due to injury all the signs where on show that Thurrock are nearly back to their best.
Matt Bodkin was at his best today and some of his runs just needed that final touch to find the net, in the 4th minute Matt ran from his own half to the Dartford goal line were he put in a cross back towards the six yard box, Lee Roache tried to force the ball past keeper Andrew Young but the ball was cleared, but only as far as Leon Lalite who blasted a shot back towards goal only to see it deflected away by the defence.
On 12 minutes Matt Bodkin has a tremendous chance, on the edge of the box he drove his shot high and just inches wide.
Dartford were creating chances as well, as the game flowed from end to end and on 16 minutes Dartford’s Danny Harris was gifted a golden opportunity when he intercepted a miss-timed back pass from Max Lette-Jallow that put him one on one with keeper Joe Woolley, the keeper spread him self well and pulled off a fine save.
But on 21 minutes Thurrock should have taken the lead, a Matt Bodkin cross to Cliff Akurang found himself in acres of space, he got a firm and powerful header on the ball and with the keeper and defence all flat footed the ball flew past the outside of the post.
Again as the action changed ends constantly Danny Harris again found space to turn his defender and made progress into the Thurrock box before blasting over the bar.
The action continued into the second half keeping the 644 spectators entertained with good flowing football from both teams.
On 62 minutes Charlie Sherringham had two half chances but both attempts were well defended by the strong looking Thurrock back four. As the ball was cleared a run by the recently returned Max Lette-Jallow put him on the edge of the Dartford box two challenges failed to clear the ball and as the ball fell kindly for Max he side footed home the opener.
Thurrock came under more pressure as Dartford push on looking for an equaliser and for a time it was difficult for the Fleet to clear their own half.
Dartford were finally rewarded with a goal on 79 minutes, deep in the Thurrock half a foul by Craig Pope gave a free kick to Dartford, the ball was floated into the area were it was only partially cleared and after a couple of attempts the ball came wide for Elliott Bradbrook who shot low and hard beating the keeper to put the two teams level.
Dartford had the smell of victory and threw everyone forward trying to snatch a winner and with only added time remaining they nearly pulled it off on two occasions.
First substitute Lee Burns ran onto a cross from a corner his header smacked against the bar and away with the Thurrock defence watching. Then with what was virtually the last kick of the game Danny Harris beat the offside trap and once again he found himself with just Joe Woolley to beat and once again Joe saved even better this time and Thurrock collected another valuable point.
Thurrock:Joe Woolley, Craig Pope, Lee Flynn, Phil Anderson, Kenny Clark, Danny Hart, Matt Bodkin, Leon Lalite, Lee Roache, Cliff Akurang, Max Lette-Jallow
Subs: Paul Olima, Florin Pelecaci, Joe Collins, Reiss Gilbey, Michael Bakare.