Upcoming MatchHendon vs Dartford/April 23, 2024/Silver Jubilee Park


Dartford crashed to a seventeenth defeat of the season, as Aveley came from behind to stun the hosts at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.

However, the final score doesn’t give this game justice because, the Darts perhaps should have been out of sight at one point in the game. Yet, the final score does bring more depressing news to the 801 supporters who’d braved the cold conditions, as it leaves Dartford under real threat of relegation. But, there’s still plenty to play for, so no doom and gloom just yet.

The visitors were quicker out of the blocks for this game, as their high press troubled the Darts. However, it was the hosts that created the first meaningful opportunity when Fumnaya Shomotun burst forward on the right-flank and found Ibby Akanbi with a neat cross into the box. Unfortunately, the latter couldn’t keep his 8th minute header down.

Three minutes later saw Luke Coulson’s beautiful little flick release Akanbi, but Jonathan North was alert enough to rush out and thwart the striker.

The game then went through a quiet period, before exploding into life with big chances at both ends within seconds of each other. First, an Aveley attack saw Eduino Vaz get the better of Paul Rooney, only for the Aveley player see Billy Terrell save his effort (23). Then Dartford took the ball straight down the other end, whereby Olly Box drove into the area before losing his footing, yet still able to set up Tyrell Miller-Rodney, who saw his strike saved by North (24)!

Paul Rooney then sent a long ball over-the-top towards Luke Coulson who, in turn, found Olly Box, only for North to save the youngster’s fierce effort (35). Tyrell Miller-Rodney managed to get on the end of the resulting corner, but he could only head the ball straight into the grateful arms of North.

The opening exchanges of the second forty-five saw The Millers come agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock in the 52nd minute, when Paul Rooney put his body on the line to block Siju Odelusi’s strike. As the hosts tried to clear their lines, they gave away a free-kick right on the edge of the box, but Arjanit Krasniqi could only watch as his effort flew narrowly over the top of Terrell’s crossbar.

Two minutes later saw the Darts take a deserved lead, as Ibby Akanbi found Fumnaya Shomotun with a neat pass. The latter then drove into the box, before curling a low drive into the bottom corner. Jonathan North got something on the ball, but he couldn’t deny the Dartford number 18 his second goal in as many games (54).

Aveley reacted by introducing Kai Brown for Harry Gibbs (57), before going on to swap Ryan Carr with Garrett Kelly (66) and Kenny Aileru with Nana Kyei (78).

Tony Burman, meanwhile, was forced into making his first substitution after Paul Rooney picked up an injury in the 69th minute. Taylor Maloney was his replacement and this would prove to be the changing point of the game. The Darts would also swap Ibby Akanbi with Alex Wall (78) and Olly Box with Elliott Romain (89).

With the hosts down to just one natural central defender on the pitch, Aveley were determined to exploit their misfortune and it wasn’t long before Odelusi came close with a curling drive in the 74th minute.

Luke Coulson came close with a good solo effort at the other end (77), before Kyei levelled the score with a low drive into the bottom corner just two minutes after coming on (80).

The Darts were stunned and The Millers took advantage with a swift counter-attack, which left Billy Terrell with no choice but to rush off his line in an attempt to close the distance between himself and Kai Brown. The foul was committed and the referee, Mr George Warren, awarded the visitors a penalty which Siju Odelusi dispatched to turn the game on its head (83).

From then on, Aveley controlled proceedings to protect their lead and condemn the Darts to another defeat in front of their own supporters.

There’s no doubt that the unfortunate injury to Paul Rooney cost Dartford the points in this game. However, with a little more accuracy in the final third, the hosts may have done enough by taking their opportunities.

Fumnaya Shomotun was given the Man of The Match award for his performance and well-taken goal, but he’d surely have preferred the victory.


DARTFORD: Billy Terrell, Jordan Wynter, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Jack Smith, Luke Coulson (c), Paul Rooney, Ibby Akanbi, Manny Adebowale, Fumnaya Shomotun, Olly Box, Tom Clifford.

SUBSTITUTES: Alex Wall, Tom Wray, Elliott Romain, Brandon Barzey, Taylor Maloney.

AVELEY: Jonathan North, Jason Ring, Eduino Vaz, Siju Odelusi, Jalen Jones, Harry Gibbs (c), Arjanit Krasniqi, Frankie Terry, Razzaq Coleman De-Graft, Ryan Carr, Kenny Aileru.

SUBSTITUTES: Kai Brown, Nana Kyei, Emmanuel Ogunrinde, Ikechi Eze, Garrett Kelly.

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Chris Palmer