DARTFORD 3 WEYMOUTH 0
Alex Wall came off the bench to score twice and Joshua Johnson netted an excellent effort on his home debut, as a superb Dartford brushed aside struggling Weymouth in front of a crowd of 1,036.
A relatively even start saw both sides seek and probe, but neither could create anything meaningful. That was until the eleventh minute, when a good move by the hosts saw Samir Carruthers look for Charlie Sheringham with a neat cross. But, Zaki Oualah was alert and managed to punch the ball clear of the danger area.
After getting away with the warning, the visitors then fell behind after finding themselves on the receiving end of something special. Carruthers was the creator, as he collected the ball and drove forwards before feeding Joshua Johnson with a neat pass… and the loanee received it gratefully, created space for himself on the edge of the box, and fired a delightful strike into the bottom corner (14)!
The Terras tried to respond and came close five minutes later when Teddy Howe found Keelan O’Connell with a delightful ball over-the-top. Having managed to breach the defence and get in behind (a feat that would prove to be a rarity as the game progressed), O’Connell was one-on-one with Joe Young and tried an audacious chip… But, the Dartford goalkeeper was wise to it and made a comfortable save (19).
Dartford responded to the threat immediately by taking the ball straight down the other end. The move eventually reached Pierre Fonkeu, who got himself into a great position to strike a left-footed curler towards goal. But it was deflected behind for a corner which, unfortunately, was eventually cleared (20).
The lively Fonkeu would come close later on in the half and, in similar circumstances, cut inside before dragging his effort just wide of Oualah’s upright (45+1).
Meanwhile, the visitors were seeing a lot of the ball but couldn’t do anything with it. The Dartford defence, marshalled by Tom Bonner, was in top form this afternoon, leaving no space available for any Terra to take advantage of. The full-backs, Maxwell Statham and Sam Odaudu, were in fine form in particular as they tirelessly controlled the flanks, forcing Weymouth to play too narrow.
As the second-half began, Alan Dowson introduced Luke Coulson for Samir Carruthers, as he wanted more width from his side. That change would be followed by Alex Wall replacing Charlie Sheringham (67) and Keiran Murtagh coming on for Joshua Johnson (78).
The opposite dug-out would see two changes in personnel take place, as Mitch Parker came on for Ahkeem Rose (60) and Tom Blair replaced Cameron Murray (68).
Dartford began the second forty-five well, forcing three quick consecutive corners early. The second of which saw Luke Coulson deliver a great ball to Connor Essam, which the big defender headed towards goal, forcing Oualah to make an excellent save just two minutes after the break.
Very little meaningful opportunities occurred from then on, as the visitors tried to get back into the game, only for a solid Dartford unit work tirelessly to make their efforts frustrating. That was until the 73rd minute…
A Dartford attack saw them overflow into the box, resulting in a handball offense by a panicking Terra inside his own area. The referee, Mr Aaron Farmer awarded the penalty, and up-stepped Alex Wall to convert confidently (74).
Weymouth responded immediately via Keelan O’Connell, who found the rushing Tom Blair. He sent a decent cross into the Dartford danger area, but Mitch Parker failed to test Joe Young (76).
We then entered the “Alex Wall Show”, as he first received the ball after a wayward Ben Gerring pass was intercepted, before forcing a good save out of Zaki Oualah with ten minutes remaining.
The Weymouth goalkeeper wouldn’t be so fortunate next time though, as an excellent attacking move saw Fonkeu race into the box and find Wall with a brilliant pass. The super-sub then fired his second of the afternoon beyond Oualah and into the back of the net to secure the three points.
In-form Charlie Sheringham was awarded with the Man of The Match, as he and his teammates put in a superb performance to register an emphatic victory over The Terras for the first time in 32 years.
DARTFORD: Joe Young, Jordan Wynter, Samir Carruthers, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner (c), Maxwell Statham, Jack Smith, Pierre Fonkeu, Charlie Sheringham, Sam Odaudu, Josh Johnson.
SUBSTITUTES: Dan Wilks, Luke Coulson, Alex Wall, Keiran Murtagh, Davide Rodari.
WEYMOUTH: Zaki Oualah, Teddy Howe, Ben Gerring, Dan Matsuzaka, Harry Kyprianou, Xander McBurnie (c), Cameron Murray, Tom Bearwish, Akheem Rose, Bradley Ash, Keelan O’Connell.
SUBSTITUTES: Josh Oyinsan, Tom Blair, Tyler Forbes, Ed James, Mitch Parker.
By Chris Palmer