It had occurred to me that the match might be off as the weather has been so cold, but the pitch was judged playable. And so it was, if somewhat muddy. The penalty box areas at both ends proving to be a real mud-bath. Apparently replacing the turf is an extraordinarily expensive luxury. Turf has to be 4 inches deep (not the thinner stuff you put on your lawn) as otherwise it just comes away. I gather it costs about £4,000 to repair the patches, and a whopping £75,000 to returf the whole pitch!
Macclesfield came to the match yesterday full of optimism having won 9 of their last 10 matches. Dartford, on the other hand, have had their ups and downs. However, in the end, Dartford triumphed. It was a tricky match to photograph, the blue of the Macclesfield kit made the autofocus work hard to lock on, and it just seemed that although I was the only photographer present, the action seemed to be too far from where I was or backs of player intruded. It happens sometimes. I got some good shots, but not as many as I would have liked.
In the 13th minute, Dartford scored when a sliced clearance from Lance Cronin (keeper) fell to Jon Wallis, who returned it with interest, with his strike from all of 40 yards dipping just below the bar, but out of the reach of any defenders. Macclesfield paid for a careless mistake.
Dartford’s Marcus Bettinelli (Keeper) had his work cut out and there was strong defensive action by Dartford which paid off. I wish they’d heed the words of Jock Stein “The best place to defend is in the opposition penalty box.” But they were an effective, if not pretty, team.
It was a Dartford substitution which proved decisive. Lee Noble come off the bench and less than a minute later he was on hand to finish a counter-attacking move created by Danny Harris to give the home side a 2-0 lead, and thereby crush the silk as Macclesfield drop to 10th in the Blue Square Bet Premier table. Dartford, on the other hand, climb to seventh and are now just three points adrift of the play-off places.