Chippenham Town v Dartford
Dartford registered a third consecutive win in all competitions, as a spot-kick brace from Harvey Bradbury set them on the road to victory at Chippenham Town.
As the 600+ crowd got comfortable at The Thornbury Surfacing Stadium, both sides took a little time to get into their strides. However, apart from Matt McClure seeing his 8th minute strike rebound off of Mitchell Beeney’s chest, the Bluebirds offered very little besides a couple of free-kicks.
The Darts, meanwhile, were unlucky not to edge themselves in front after ten minutes, when a swift counter-attack saw Harvey Bradbury get beyond two defenders. But, Will Henry rushed out to close the gap, leaving Bradbury with the only option of chipping the goalkeeper… only for the ball to fall the wrong side of the post.
The striker had another opportunity soon afterwards, with Luke Coulson finding him with a neat pass. Once again, though, his effort was wide of the target (15). Bradbury wouldn’t rue those misses though, as he was given a third opportunity to score six minutes later…
A Coulson ball into the Chippenham danger area saw Joash Nembhard fouled, prompting the referee, Mr Tom Ellsmore, to award a penalty. Bradbury took responsibility, and duly sent Henry the wrong way to give the Darts a 21st minute lead.
A touch of deja-vu occurred three minutes later, albeit involving different personnel. As another ball into the Chippenham box caused disarray for the Bluebirds’ defence, Eddie Jones brought down Moussa Diarra, and Mr Ellsmore pointed to the spot again. Bradbury stepped up once again and, going left this time, fooled Henry to dive the wrong way!
Alan Dowson’s side were now in full control, and their confidence soared because of it. As they set about adding to their score, they caused Chippenham all sorts of problems, and it wasn’t long before the hosts were hit by a double whammy…
Firstly, Aaron Amadi-Holloway pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury while chasing Brandon Barzey. He was replaced by Nat Williams in the 36th minute, before Dartford extended their lead sixty seconds later via a howler from goalkeeper Will Henry.
Freddie Grant passed the ball back to his goalkeeper, as the Bluebirds tried to build from the back. But, Henry was too slow to react to the looming figure of Barzey. The Dartford player stole the ball from him, before tucking it home into an empty net… his first goal for the Darts, and probably the easiest he’ll ever score (37).
The hosts finished the half strongly, but finished the half with a three-goal deficit to try to claw back… and they started the second-half well, yet almost fell further behind after just four minutes.
Harvey Bradbury was involved once again, only he almost turned provider on this occasion as he intercepted a pass, before finding Josh Johnson with a neat ball. The latter, who had arrived on loan from Oxford United for an initial month once again, saw his low strike saved by Will Henry (49).
Owen Windsor then managed to get on the end of Tyreke Johnson’s cross to pull a goal back for Chippenham in the 52nd minute, before Matt McClure missed a golden opportunity to cut the deficit further (55).
That spurred the hosts on, as they saw a lot of the possession in a bid to try to get something from the game. However, the Darts were looking relatively solid this afternoon, as well as a constant threat in attack.
Alan Dowson made just the one substitution this afternoon, and that took place after 73 minutes when Brandon Barzey made way for new signing Lucas Defise.
The Bluebirds, meanwhile, would make one final change in personnel, as Will King replaced Tyreke Johnson in the 82nd minute.
As we return to the action, we reach the point where Dartford put the game out of reach for definite. And the goal came via Josh Johnson, who restored the three-goal advantage with a delightful screamer from distance (75)… a contender for goal of the season, let alone goal of the month! And the assist? Well, that came from Harvey Bradbury, who’d stolen the ball from Nat Williams, before finding his teammate with a neat pass.
The only blot of Dartford’s afternoon was the fact that they finished the game with ten men, as Maxwell Statham was shown a second yellow card, followed by a red with ten minutes remaining. The fact that Mr Ellsmore was “card happy” throughout the ninety minutes left this as no surprise to be honest.
Nevertheless, the visitors rarely looked threatened despite being a player light, as Chippenham ran out of ideas and time… the closest they came to scoring a second goal was when Matt McClure tried his luck from distance with a curling drive, which flew narrowly over the top of Beeney’s crossbar (90).
The result sees Dartford climb to twelfth in the National League South table, just four points shy of the play-off positions, and there’s still an awful lot of football to be played.
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Will Henry, Eddie Jones, Freddie Grant, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Luke Haines, Tyreke Johnson, Jake Evans, Matt McClure (c), Owen Windsor, Luke Spokes, Caine Bradbury.
SUBSTITUTES: Craig Fasanmade, Will King, Marcel Lewis, Nat Williams, Alex Avenell.
DARTFORD: Mitchell Beeney, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Baris Altintop, Luke Coulson (c), Maxwell Statham, Brandon Barzey, Josh Johnson, Joash Nembhard, Harvey Bradbury, Moussa Diarra.
SUBSTITUTES: Lewis Manor, Manny Adebowale, Lucas Defise, Jayden Boulton, Manny Idem.
|October 7, 2023||3:00 pm||National League South||2023/24||0'|