Dartford’s difficult opening set of fixtures continued as they travelled to Chelmsford on Monday the
12th of August.
The Darts have only won one of the previous six games against The Clarets. However, they came into
this game off the back of two strong performances, which saw them battle for two successive draws
against top opposition. Meanwhile, Chelmsford had lost their previous two league games after
winning their opening fixture, so it would have been fair to say that the Darts arrived at Melbourne
Stadium confident of getting a result against another difficult opponent.
Not only has the opening fixtures been unkind to the Darts, they have also been unlucky with injuries
to key players. Despite the early season difficulties, however, Adam and Jamie were still able to
name a strong squad for tonight’s game which saw just one change in personnel from Saturday’s
game against Havant & Waterlooville. Cameron Brodie replaced Luke Allen in midfield to make his
first start of the season. Alex Flisher also returned from injury and was named amongst the
Truth be told, Melbourne Stadium hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Dartford, and so it proved
to be again on this cool August night. After an equal affair in the first forty-five minutes, Chelmsford
dominated most of the second half, scoring four goals to ensure that Dartford’s poor away form
The warning signs were there from the start, as Chelmsford came close to scoring in only the second
minute. Chris Whelpdale won a flick on in the air and played Jamar Loza in, who had got behind the
Darts’ defence, but his effort went high and wide of Mark Smith’s goal. At the other end, the Darts
came close as Adam Cunnington won the ball in the air, forcing Chelmsford goalkeeper Carl Pentney
into a good save in the tenth minute.
After a few quiet minutes, both sides created good opportunities to score within seconds of each
other. First Dartford ventured forward and Luke Warner-Eley received a great cross. He took the ball
down well, cut in and struck it towards goal, only for Pentney to gather it easily. Chelmsford attacked
immediately as Loza was played through. He managed to get around the rushing Mark Smith, but
ended up too far away from the Darts’ goal. He pulled the ball back, searching out Jonny Giles, but
thankfully the ball deflected off the Darts’ defence for a corner.
Two minutes later should have seen Dartford take the lead as Ben Greenhalgh had an opportunity to
score from a free kick, only for the ball to go high and wide. Then Luke Wanadio excellently ran at
the host’s defence, cut inside and shot. Unfortunately, his effort curled wide of the post as well.
Just before the half-hour mark, Dartford won a corner which Wanadio sent into the Chelmsford box.
The ball missed everyone before finding Josh Hill at the far post, but his effort struck the
After referee, Callum Walchester paused proceedings for a player from each side to receive
treatment, Chelmsford seemed to gain momentum and had two good opportunities to take the lead.
But Smith was in control in the Dartford goal, as first he beat the rushing Loza to the ball, and then
he made an excellent save from Oliver Muldoon’s curling free kick.
As the half came to a close, the Darts had the best chance to score as Cunnington held up the ball
well, before flicking it towards Norman Wabo. The latter was through, one-on-one with Pentney,
only to see the goalkeeper react quickly to get down and save the ball with his feet.
Chelmsford were fast straight out of the blocks in the second half, coming close when Whelpdale
fired just wide after Sam Higgins had given him the ball in the 49th minute. Three minutes later saw
The Clarets take the lead, when Whelpdale drilled in a low shot into the bottom corner, after the
Darts’ defence failed to clear their lines from a Chelmsford corner.
Some good football from Dartford almost saw them draw level, as Wabo had a good effort blocked
by Michael Spillane in the 55th minute. The game remained in the balance for a period of time with
both sides creating opportunities, which included penalty shouts to each, but nothing given by the
referee. In the 68th minute, the Darts brought on Ryan Hayes and Andy Pugh to replace Luke
Wanadio and Norman Wabo respectively, in the hope that fresh pairs of legs would help their search
for an equaliser. Unfortunately, the task was made a lot harder when Jordan Wynter was sent off for
an extremely poor challenge on Alex Osborn in the 71st minute.
Within minutes of the red card, Chelmsford doubled their advantage with a header from Higgins. The
Darts responded three minutes later by replacing Cunnington with Charlie Sheringham, and then
Cameron Brodie received a yellow card for a late challenge on Loza. With ten minutes left to play,
Chelmsford made it 3-0 when Giles picked up the ball on the edge of the box and fired a low drive
Then, as if things couldn’t have gotten any worse, deep into stoppage time, a break down the
Dartford left side saw Higgins play a low cross into the box, only for the ball to come off of one of the
sliding bodies trying to defend the goal. The surrounding supporters and press representatives
believe it went down as an own-goal by the luckless Josh Hill. Thus, another miserable night at
Melbourne Stadium came to an end, leaving Dartford still searching for that first win of the new