Dartmouth AFC 3,
Newton 66 5
Dartmouth AFC were knocked out of the Herald Cup after they were on the wrong end of an eight-goal thriller at Longcross.
The afternoon started with the home side pushing forward for the opening goal and dictating most of the play.
The first real chance fell to the normally reliable boots of striker Nick Rushe, but after exchanging passes with Ben Greeno he snatched at his shot when well placed 12 yards from goal.
Winger Robbie Chalk’s involvement in the game gradually increased as the half went on, and it was he who Dartmouth looked to time and time again to create from the right-hand side.
A number of dangerous deliveries from Chalk and his right back Joe Kirby into the penalty area couldn’t find a teammate, leaving the home side frustrated 20 minutes in. Another cross into the box, this time from Greeno, was inch perfect, but again Rushe failed to dispatch his effort at the back post.
Failing to take their chances nearly cost Dartmouth when the away striker outmuscled his marker inside the area, but fortunately he curled wide of Sam Davies’ goal when he should have scored. However, five minutes later they did open the scoring to silence the clubhouse end.
A long ball downfield was not dealt with and the 66 winger showed good composure to slot through the legs of Davies. Determined to level before the half-time break, the home side got a foothold in the game and started to control proceedings, with young Jake Self and Scott Mcroy at the heart of most of the good play.
Dartmouth forced a corner minutes before the interval and deservedly got themselves level: Nick Rushe’s excellent cross was met by brother Danny, who towered above his man to plant home a header from 10 yards.
The hosts returned from the break looking to get their noses in front in what was turning out to be an enthralling cup tie. The industrious Chalk continued where he left off in tormenting his marker and delivering crosses into good areas, but the 66 back line dealt with what Dartmouth were offering fairly comfortably.
With 25 minutes remaining Simon Webb and Daniel Lumley brought on the commanding presence of Sam Churchill for the excellent Self in central midfield in a bid to grab the all-important third goal of the afternoon.
Despite all the home side’s dominance Newton 66 were always in with a shout at 1-1, and they went ahead after a good five-minute spell for the visitors. A ball into the box outwitted the Dartmouth defence and the away striker was there to slot home.
With less than 10 minutes left on the clock, Daniel Drury was introduced at centre back, allowing Danny Rushe to partner Nick up front in an attempt to force extra time.
A hopeful ball into the penalty area saw Nick fall to the ground and a soft penalty was awarded to the hosts. Up stepped the ever reliable Kevin Causley to confidently and clinically send the keeper the wrong way and level the match at 2-2.
All the momentum was now with Dartmouth and they took the lead dramatically with only four minutes left on the clock. Cameron Webb picked up the ball on the left and delivered a sweet cross into the penalty area that was flicked home into the far corner by Churchill, to spark celebrations among the Longcross faithful.
Dartmouth now had to manage what must have been less than two minutes of the match to book their place in the next round.
One last attack from the visitors saw another controversial decision awarded, this time the away side being the beneficiaries of a soft penalty decision. The 66 striker slammed the ball home to force extra time, much to the annoyance of the Dartmouth players and management.
The first five minutes of the extra-time period saw the away side take the lead for the third time in the match when a corner at the near post came off the
leg of Kirby before nestling into the net.
Dartmouth were then dealt another blow after no free kick was awarded when it appeared that Drury was fouled inside his own half; the advancing winger took a touch and lobbed the ball over the head of Davies, who was a yard too far off his line, to extend the visitors’ lead.
Dartmouth now had 15 minutes to salvage penalties. Indeed, they came agonisingly close to making the score 4-5 when a Jordan Frost header cannoned off the post before being hacked away to safety.
The hosts continued to press for the remainder of the second period, but ran out of ideas and fell to their first defeat of the season.
Dartmouth had enough quality on show to progress and will be disappointed to bow out to their division one opponents.
This week Dartmouth play Watcombe Wanderers in the next round of the Devon Premier Cup, with kick off at 2pm at Longcross.
The reserves were without a game last weekend and will be watching the first team tomorrow with no game scheduled once more.
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