Dartford 0-0 Hungerford Match Report
Promotion-chasing Dartford had to settle for a point in their opening game of the National League South season.
After a solid preseason, the Darts started the game with Dartford utility man Danny Harris partnering Tom Murphy upfront, but failed to break down a stubborn Hungerford defence, despite edging the overall play in the first half.
Murphy was the focal point for most of the Darts attacking play and one effort drew a good save after linking well with Della-Verde during some strong corner attacking play.
Dartford did enter the match lively and could be credited with several concise passing movements but for all their probing in the centre, there were no real instances of stretching the Hungerford back line who were content to sit back and counter.
The home crowd roared into life when Hungerford captain Matt Day cynically took Elliot Bradbrook from behind before following that up with some afters on Harris. The incident sparked an uptake in the attacking tempo with Bradbrook himself sending several deflected efforts goalwards.
A failure whilst on top to grab the opening goal invited Hungerford to grow into the game as the half wore on. A good spell just before the break saw the Darts defence fail to deal with the ball and had Brown stab his shot inches wide.
Hungerford attempted to crank up the pressure at the start of the second half but Ibrahim was there to collect with ease from a curling effort from Luke Williams.
Dartford soon responded through Bradbrook who found some space off a deep Della-Verde corner but could only direct the ball skywards.
Having started the season with Ofori-Achempong and Pugh ruled out with injury, Tony Burmans luck was only compounded when Vint was then forced off minutes later to add to the list.
Not to halt his sides growing momentum in the match, Mfula was sent on for his debut and almost has an instant impact in the box but can’t retain possession on the turn.
Another dangerous Della-Verde corner found its way to Harris at the back post but he couldn’t keep it down following a long-range strike from Onyemah that deflected behind.
However, moments later an animated Tony Burman screamed at his players for their slack defending when a Hungerford short free kick was taken that led to Louie Soares in space but fortunately he could only find the side netting.
Hungerford were much improved in the second half, seeing more of the ball as Dartford stood strong at the back. It was back to simple play with long no-nonsense clearances to deal with the onslaught from Hungerford who were sniffing a victory.
To change the balance of play academy graduate Alfie Cue was sent on and his long throw was flicked onto Bradbrook and then almost squeezed over the line by Wood before Hungerford could scramble the ball clear and held on for an impressive draw.
Unfortunately for the Darts, the first win of the season will have to wait.
DARTFORD FC TEAM: Ibrahim, Wood, Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Brown, Noble, Bradbrook (c), Harris, Murphy, Della-Verde
DARTFORD FC SUBS: Hayes, Mfula, Cue, Eweke, Coxall
HUNGERFORD TOWN TEAM: Ward, Tyler, Stonehouse, Partridge, Day (C), Williams, Willmoth, Rusby, Brown, Ngamvoulou, Soares
HUNGERFORD TOWN SUBS: Herring, Bentley, Clark, Meecham, Rees
Man of The Match: Tom Bonner – Presented by JPS Clarity
|August 5, 2017||3:00 pm||National League South||2017/18||90'|
|Grass Banks, Dartford DA1 1LZ, UK|
|Club||1st Half||2nd Half||Goals||Outcome|