Concord Rangers vs Dartford
Dartford’s misfortune on the road returned, as Concord Rangers came from behind to seal the points with a last-minute strike at The Aspect Arena on a cold night in Canvey Island.
With the hosts fighting for survival in the National League South, it was no surprise that they started the game on the front-foot. However, they only really threatened Ben Dudzinski once when Ricky Modeste’s seventh-minute cross found the head of Lewis Manor, only to see Dudzinski make a great save.
Despite their bright start, that was pretty much it for the Beach Boys until ten minutes later. Ironically, that was the moment they edged their noses in front. Ben Steward was the player to send in a dangerous cross on this occasion and, once again, the lively Manor was the first to reach the ball… and he was able to send a powerful header beyond Dudzinski (17).
The Darts didn’t panic though, and in the 24th minute got their reward for getting back into the game. Harvey Bradbury was the player to get the equaliser, after he won a battle with Aron Pollock. The Concord captain reached the ball first, but his header inadvertently went in the opposite direction, sending Bradbury through to level the score with a neat finish which left goalkeeper Mitch Beeney with no chance.
The visitors looked in control following the goal and it wasn’t too long before they took a deserved lead via Sam Odaudu. The left-back capped off neat attacking play by placing a delightful strike from distance into the bottom corner (38).
The opening exchanges of the second-half looked as though Dartford had the Beach Boys on the ropes. However, they just couldn’t find that third goal to kill the game off despite having the bulk of the play. Malachi Napa came agonisingly close to grabbing it, only to see Lewis Manor make an excellent last-ditch block (52).
Alan Dowson was the first manager to react by bringing on Alex Wall for Pierre Fonkeu in the 63rd minute. Unfortunately, the big striker would pull up with an injury shortly afterwards, forcing Dowson to swap him with the returning Charlie Sheringham. The third and final substitution for the Darts would see Luke Allen replace Keiran Murtagh in the 76th minute.
As for the hosts, they would swap Nana Kyei with Louis Ramsay (66), Alex Hernandez with Jack Munns (69), and Jack Leech replaced Ricky Modeste deep into stoppage time.
Returning to the action, the hosts began to venture forwards with more intent after having grown back into the game. And in the 71st minute were level, having taken their first real opportunity of the second-half. Max Hudson managed to get beyond Maxwell Statham on the Concord left-flank, before racing into the box. As Dartford were unable to clear the danger, Hudson combined with Quentin Monville who then found Ben Steward, who in-turn found the back of the net.
Max Hudson then tried to go it alone, as the hosts searched for the winning goal, only for Statham stop the ball in its tracks with an excellent block (73).
The visitors had opportunities to re-take the lead as well, but Charlie Sheringham’s effort was blocked by Manor (81), before Tom Bonner sent a shot straight into the grateful arms of Beeney (83).
Then, with a minute of the ninety remaining, Manor and Connor Essam clashed, with the former pulling the Dartford defender back. The referee, Mr Steven Hughes, gave nothing and Manor found the back of the net to win the game (89).
The result condemned Dartford to an eighth league defeat of the season on the road but, more importantly, that second position in the play-off hunt is still in the hands of Tom Bonner and Co.
CONCORD RANGERS: Mitch Beeney, Tosan Popo, Jack Thomas, Aron Pollock (c), Quentin Monville, Alex Hernandez, Nana Kyei, Ben Steward, Max Hudson, Lewis Manor, Ricky Modeste.
SUBSTITUTES: Louis Ramsay, Jack Munns, Harrison Day, Jack Leech, Arron Benstead.
DARTFORD: Ben Dudzinski, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner (c), Luke Coulson, Keiran Murtagh, Maxwell Statham, Jack Smith, Pierre Fonkeu, Harvey Bradbury, Sam Odaudu, Malachi Napa.
SUBSTITUTES: Richard Chin, Luke Allen, Alex Wall, Charlie Sheringham, Jernade Meade.
|April 20, 2023||7:45 pm||National League South||2022/23||0'|