Mudbath mayhem sinks Beavers
Hampton caught by late winner on unplayable pitch
On a pitch that had areas which soon resembled a surface more suited to the annual Shrove Tuesday game at Ashbourne, the Beavers looked good for a point but were caught late in added time by a Pavey snatch-and-grab winner.
Passed by the referee before kickoff to many people's amazement, the pitch continued to deteriorate throughout the game in the incessant rain, and it was a wonder the referee allowed the game to finish, such was the surface. Finish it did though, and the Beavers paid the price late on. After the match, Darts manager Tony Burman conceded that by the end of the 90 minutes, the pitch was 'probably unplayable'.
Both teams played the conditions sensibly but neither could really create what might be called a serious opportunity on goal for the keepers to deal with early on.
Max Kretzschmar for the Beavers and Alex Brown for the hosts both had attempts that flew wide inside the first 25 minutes, and it wasn't until the half hour that Darts keeper Berti Schotterl had to turn away a Kretzschmar shot round the post.
Hampton then created chances through Bradley Hudson-Odoi and Shaun Jeffers as the Beavers proceeded to have slightly the better of the possession for a good 10 minutes but the home defence held firm to the half time break.
After half time, the Beavers had a great chance to open the scoring from a 20 yard Hudson-Odoi free kick, following a foul on Brendan Kiernan, but the shot wasn't powerful enough to beat Schotterl.
On the hour mark, the referee twice went to talk to the benches about the state of the pitch, and there was a sense that the game was more likely to be abandoned than to continue, but continue it did after representations from the players to the referee.
Hampton then nearly took the lead as Kretzschmar's cross was cleared out from under the Dartford bar as the weather effectively dictated the game.
Pugh's attempt on 70 minutes was the closest the home side had come to taking the lead before Alfie Pavey had to be denied at the near post by Seny Dieng some 5 minutes later as the two sides battled away in the mud.
With 10 minutes to go, the Darts created their best chance to that point as Dieng had to turn over the bar a Pavey header from close range but deep in added time, Pavey created for himself a space behind the Hampton defence, and managed to fire the ball into the net to break the Beavers' hearts.