City can’t blunt Darts title target as play-off hopes end

City’s slim play-offs finally disappeared this afternoon as they failed to score for just the second time away from home in the league this season to lose 2-0 to title chasing Dartford. Over the 90 minutes there was little to choose between the sides but a goal in each half was enough to keep the Darts three points clear of second place Havant – albeit having played one game more – as the Vanarama National League South season enters its final week. Chances were few and far between in the games opening exchanges, although it was clear that Dartford’s direct approach was more suited to the difficult playing surface than City more measured passing approach. So it was no real surprise when the hosts took the lead on 37 minutes, Mills heading home Pugh’s deep cross. City responded well to this setback and had a great chance to level just before the interval when Jack Compton’s corner found an unmarked Jack Batten but his slot flew over the bar. The second half began with City still on top and Darts keeper Schotterl did well to keep out Compton’s low free-kick in the 48th minute. City suffered a blow seven minutes later when Compton limped off to be replaced by youth team player James Ollis. Although City continued to press forward the home side where beginning to pose a threat on the break and on 69 minutes they doubled their lead, Pavey side-footing home after the ball broke to him in the box. This understandably lifted any pressure Dartford were feeling and City find a goal to test their nerves again. In fact it was Dartford who came closest to adding to the scoring during the closing stages before the final whistle ensured City would be spending at least one more season in the National League South. A fate Dartford will hope to avoid in seven days time.