Report: Darts left stranded on Canvey Island
Clinical Concord make Dartford pay
The big talking point ahead of the fixture was Dartford legend Ryan Hayes facing his old club for the first time since departing this summer but it was another familiar face that had an early impact.
Alex Wall played a full pre-season at Princes Park but, following his release on the eve of the new season, he joined the Beach Boys.
If he had a point to prove he did so very early as he latched onto a long ball down the right channel before firing a wicked volley first-time over the head of Dartford ‘keeper Deren Ibrahim from 25 yards.
Wall nearly doubled his and the Beach Boys’ lead just moments later after ex-Dart Ryan Hayes’ trademark free-kick was just too high for the ex-Luton Town forward who was unmarked at the back post.
The first half-chance for the Darts came courtesy of a defensive mix-up between goalkeeper Sam Beasant and Tyrone Sterling but Delano Sam-Yorke fired over under pressure.
The hosts’ passing was too slick for the visitors to get any grip on the game in the opening 20 minutes with some nice interchanges in midfield orchestrated by midfielder Billy Knott.
If a chance was going to present itself for Jamie Coyle and Adam Flanagan’s side it looked likely to come down the left-hand side where Mark Onyemah and Tom Murphy, making his first league start, linked up well.
Good play from the duo in the 21st minute resulted in the later putting in a great cross that Sam-Yorke could only divert past the far post with his glancing header.
A tale of half-chances
The visitors had grown into the game by now but had few sights at goal with Callum Driver’s speculative half-volley drifting over Beasant’s upright.
Ex-Rangers man Ben Greenhalgh went close following good play from Elliott Bradbrook who returned after missing Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Hemel Hempstead Town.
On the half hour mark Sterling had a golden chance to make the Darts pay for their missed opportunities and should’ve done better than heading over after Danny Green’s ball from the left found the centre-half in space.
With five minutes left of normal time a Greenhalgh free-kick from 40 yards was expertly controlled by the chest of Bradbrook before he produced an over-head kick on his fall that was destined for the bottom right corner – had it not been cleared off the line by a man in yellow.
The visitors had two further chances to level the game before half-time via corners as, first, Beasant was caught in no-mans-land with Murphy firing wide via a deflection and then Bradbrook heading well over.
Half-time: Concord Rangers 1-0 Dartford
Blackman was the first to force either ‘keeper into a save in the second period but Gibraltan international Ibrahim comfortably gathered following a Hayes corner from the right.
Greenhalgh was busy all night and continually produced a good final ball that just needed the finishing touch. His cross from the right found Sam-Yorke in the box but he, like many of his team-mates all evening, headed over.
The visitors had much of the ball in the second half but still lacked the cutting edge required in the final third as the hosts were more than happy to contain for large periods.
More missed opportunities
Greenhalgh produced another great set-piece after Sam-Yorke was brought down by Sean Clohessy just outside the area but this time it was captain Tom Bonner that headed over.
A throw-in from the half-way line soon presented danger for the hosts as Sam-Yorke turned Aron Pollock well before running at goal. The ball was always behind him, however, and he produced a tame effort that failed to trouble Beasant.
Tempers flared in what had been a relatively calm affair as Kudus Onyenuga ran towards goal before being hacked down by Frazer Shaw who was rightly booked by referee Daniel Lamport.
Ronnie Vint was then found unmarked in the Concord box by Greenhalgh but headed over as it looked as if it wasn’t going to be their night on Canvey Island.
Paying the price
Darts were made to pay in the 76th minute as Nana Boakye-Yiadom beat the offside trap and strayed into the right channel before producing a cross to the back post that was gratefully converted by D’Sean Theobalds to double the hosts’ advantage.
Boakye-Yiadom then nearly made it three as his effort from 25 yards fizzed just past Ibrahim’s left post.
The forward, who stretched the Dartford back-line after entering the contest, had another good chance to grab a goal to go with his assist as he latched onto a long ball forward.
With Darts defenders committed further upfield and with just Ibrahim seemingly to beat, Onyemah produced an excellent sliding block to divert the ball out for a corner.
Full-time: Concord Rangers 2-0 Dartford
Despite playing some good football in patches you’d have to say Dartford deserved no more than a point after a succession of glorious chances went amiss.
Sammy Moore’s side did well to ride the storm, particularly in the second-half, and made the visitors pay as they converted two of their only chances of the game and were arguably full value for their three points after a professional performance.
Concord: Beasant, Clohessy, Shaw, Blackman, Pollock, Sterling, Hayes, Green, Wall, Midson, Knott.
Dartford: Ibrahim; Onyemah, Bonner, Vint, Driver; Bradbrook, Roast; Murphy, Onyenuga, Greenhalgh; Sam-Yorke.
By Henry Clark (@HenryWAClark)