Dartford 3 Nuneaton Town 1
Saturday 11th April, 2015
Match report courtesy of Nuneaton News;
April 26th, 2014….Nuneaton 3 Dartford 1…what a difference a year can make.
Back then, nearly 12 months to the day, Nuneaton, under new boss Brian Reid, ended the 2013/14 season on a high note, thrashing relegated Dartford thanks to a hat-trick from Louis Moult.
Fast forward one year and a lot has changed. Brian Reid has come and gone, Louis Moult is now at Wrexham, and it is the Boro who are on the end of a 3-1 defeat – and looking at life in the league below.
Only the so-called 'AGM Cup' kept Dartford in the Conference Premier for this season.
Three points deducted or not, Nuneaton have just not been good enough this season. A recent run aside, they have always looked like one of the worst four teams in the division.
They have not scored enough goals, or looked solid enough at the back for large parts of the season and they have lacked the consistency needed to remain at the top table of non-league football.
They did not start like that against Dartford though, they began this match like a team enjoying the comforts of a mid-table position at the end stages of the season.
They played without pressure and enjoyed plenty of possession, they should have taken the lead long before the 22nd minute opener from Andy Brown.
They missed chances through Brown, and Adam Walker, both of which should have been converted, before the Nuneaton number ten finally found the back of the net. He rose highest in the box to show his aerial prowess, attacking the ball well to ensure it went in off the crossbar.
Liam Daish's side continued to press after that, but it was only the one goal lead they took into the half time break with them.
Nuneaton are not where they are in the league due to playing football like that though, and in the second 45 minutes they put in a performance that showed why they are facing life in the Conference North next season.
Boro handed the initiative to the home side as soon as the whistle went. It took the most dubious of penalty decisions though, for them to draw back level.
An innocuous ball was put into the Nuneaton box and was cleared, but the referee saw an unknown infringement and pointed to the spot, much to the annoyance of Boro boss Liam Daish.
Elliott Bradbrook made no mistake with the resulting spot-kick as he sent Max Crocombe the wrong way to draw his side level.
It was another Bradbrook, Tom, who grabbed the second goal just ten minutes before the end of the game. He headed home after a goalmouth scramble as he was left unmarked in the six yard box.
Nuneaton had lost their belief at this point and a third goal for Dartford was always on the cards.
Harry Crawford was the man who delivered it, and an easier goal he will never score.
Nathan Green twisted and turned in the Boro box before sliding the ball across to Crawford who simply tapped it home from under the crossbar.
It was a sad end to a sad season for Nuneaton Town fans. They will be hoping for a much brighter summer as they begin life in the Conference North next season.
NUNEATON TOWN: Crocombe, Wheeler, Dean, Cowan, Franklin, Dawson, Rees, Anton Brown (Smith 67), Walker, Sodje, Andy Brown.
Subs not used: Ogleby, Gordon, Wren, Nardiello.
DARTFORD: Ibrahim, Richards, McAuley, Elliott Bradbrook, Hayes, Noble, Pugh, Collier, Crawford (Green 55), Dallison, Driver (Tom Bradbrook 66)
Subs not used: Daley, Kessell, Adams.