It really was a game of two halves at Princes Park as a fluid attacking first half was followed up by a resilient second half to earn a well fought draw against Cambridge.
A pattern in this summer’s pre-season is the Darts starting games slow however they raced out of the blocks to take the lead inside the first ten minutes.
Harris collected a loose ball in the midfield before slotting a ball for new signing Warren Mfula to chase and fire a first-time deflected effort that looped over the keeper into the far post.
The Darts were much the better of the two sides in the first twenty and had the better of the chances. A couple of attempts were made to replicate the through ball to Mfula that led to the goal including one spectacular chipped effort from Della Verde that Mfula just couldn’t stretch to.
Cambridge had their first real chance of the game on twenty minutes when Uche Ikpeazu used his strength to turn and hold off challenges inside the box but his attempt to square the ball was thwarted and the ball was scrambled clear.
With the rain coming down heavy, the warning signs were emerging for Dartford as Cambridge grew further in the game. First a deflected strike from a corner rattled the crossbar and then a trialist for Cambridge rose highest from a corner and guided a goal-bound low header that Ibrahim just got down to turn around the post.
The Darts weren’t so adept at conquering the slow start that they managed to avoid in the first half as Cambridge equalised within a minute of the restart.
The ball was whipped into the box from Mingola on the right side towards Ikpeazu who is allowed the space to control and shoot. His shot was parried by Ibrahim only as far as McGurk who stumbled over as the ball and it fumbled into the net.
The wet conditions lead to a much more physical affair as rough challenges were aplenty and a succession of free kicks were awarded.
The early equaliser unsettled Dartford and the Darts backline had a lot of trouble dealing with a succession of Mingola crosses that were well seized by Ibrahim.
Substitute George Maris unleashed one great effort from distance but the Darts stayed resilient and earned a draw on the overall balance of their play in the first half.
DARTFORD FC TEAM: Ibrahim, Harris,Keaton-Wood, Bradbrook, Sho-Silva, Noble, Hayes, Brown, Mfula, Murphy, Dela-Verde
DARTFORD FC SUBS: Vint, Eweka, Fulton, Habte, Coxall (GK), Ufuah, Cue, Thorley-Porter
CAMBRIDGE UTD TEAM: Trialist 1, Davies, Roberts, Darling, Trialist 2, Mingola, Lewis, Deegan, Ikpeazu, McGurk, Elito
CAMBRIDGE UTD SUBS: Maris, Taylor, Legge, Coulson, Amoo, O’Neill, Foy, Trialist 3, Carroll
|July 22, 2017||3:00 pm||2017/18||90'|
|Grass Banks, Dartford DA1 1LZ, UK|