Hungerford Town 2-1 Dartford: Sol Wanjau-Smith and Max Ram score as Crusaders halt title contenders
Hungerford Town extended their unbeaten home run in 2022 to four games with a fine 2-1 victory over National League South title contenders Dartford.
Sol Wanjau-Smith opened the scoring in the second-half, after a goalless first 45 minutes, and things got better shortly after as Max Ram fired home an effort from a corner.
Dartford were reduced to 10 men when Junior Tiensia was given his marching orders for a foul on Wanjau-Smith.
The visitors did, however, pull a goal back through Jake Robinson, but the Crusaders held on for a big three points.
The first real opportunity of the game fell to Hungerford forward Ryan Seager, when he forced Dan Wilks to tip the ball over the bar when a header was guided towards goal following a Curtis Angell cross.
Jake Evans went close from distance for Town, while Ade Azeez made Luke Cairney work from close range at the other end.
Duane Ofori-Acheampong then missed a glorious chance for the home side when he failed to make any connection at the back post after a cross was fizzed across goal.
Dartford captain Kieran Murtagh had a chance cleared off the line, while Connor Essam and Azeez also went close with headed opportunities shortly after.
Arguably, the best chance of the first-half fell to Kalvin Kalala.
His long-distance strike took an awkward bounce in front of goal and it beat Cairney, but struck the inside of the post and was cleared away.
Moments later, Che Krabbenden forced Cairney into a safe and then Azeez saw his follow up cleared off the line.
After a penalty shout was waved away, Darford manager Steve King was sent off following a continuous appeal.
He received a yellow for shouting at referee Ross Martin, before being shown another card to confirm his sending off.
Hungerford started the second-half as the better side and were rewarded nine minutes after the break.
An attack forward saw Ofori-Acheampong play through Wanjau-Smith and the forward calmly slotted the ball under Wilks and into the back of the net.
Dartford went close to finding an equaliser, but Luke Allen’s effort from distance was safely collected by Cairney.
However, Hungerford punished their opponents once more as they doubled their lead 15 minutes from time.
A corner from Evans was met by Ram and, at the second time of asking, the defender fired a powerful effort past Wilks.
Things got even worse for Dartford when defender Tiensia was shown a straight red following a foul on Wanjau-Smith, who appeared to be in on goal.
However, the drama didn’t end there as Dartford pulled a goal back through Jake Robinson as the substitute beat Cairney from close range after a number of attacks.
The goal turned out to be a consolation as the home side held on for a huge three points to continue their play-off fight.