Dartford V Bath City
New Captain, Luke Coulson, scored a brace with a Man of The Match performance in an entertaining curtain raiser at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.
However, many of the Dartford supporters in amongst the 904 in attendance this afternoon will be wondering how their team didn’t take all three points! Afterall, the hosts dominated for a majority of the game… a feat that started off right at the beginning…
Alan Dowson’s rebuilt squad looked up for the occasion straight from the kick-off, and forced a couple of early corners after the lively Brandon Barzey had intercepted the ball from Danny Greenslade within the opening seconds.
However, despite the bright start, it was actually the visitors who had the ball in the back of the net first. But, Dan Hayfield’s 9th minute effort was chalked off for offside by referee Mr Steve Parkinson.
Brushing that little moment aside, the Darts continued to press high up the pitch and came close to taking the lead in the fourteenth minute. Mitchell Beeney’s long kick saw Harvey Bradbury breach The Romans’ backline, only to see his effort saved by Ollie Wright. The goalkeeper then reacted quickly to prevent Barzey from scoring with the follow-up!
The excellent Bradbury almost got through again seven minutes later, only for City’s Skipper Kieran Parselle step in with a vital block. The duo would continue a fierce battle all afternoon, as Bradbury posed a serious threat to the City defence. In fact, Parselle spent half the game trying his best to get the Dartford striker’s shirt! Yet, he’d become the first player to receive a yellow card this afternoon, ironically, for expressing his opinion to Mr Parkinson too much (24)!
Luke Russe was the second to go into the referee’s book, after hacking down Barzey during the Dartford player’s excellent run (35). That moment came in between two opportunities for the hosts, which saw both Luke Coulson (28) and Joash Nembhard (37) see their efforts fly narrowly over Wright’s crossbar.
With the new rules of the beautiful game filtering down to the Non-League pyramid this season, Mr Parkinson added an additional eight minutes to the end of the first forty-five… and it was something that the hosts took advantage of.
Tyrell Miller-Rodney was the centre of attention on this occasion, being brought down by Ben Morgan. The Roman received a yellow card and, after a number of blocks on the goal-line, Miller-Rodney was on hand to smash home the opening goal of the afternoon (45+4).
Ironically, the goalscorer also became the first Dartford player to receive a yellow card four minutes later, in what appeared to be a 50/50 challenge.
Normal service resumed during the opening exchanges of the second-half, and Luke Allen came close with a low drive which curled agonisingly wide of Wright’s upright in the 52nd minute.
Soon afterwards, Jack Batten became the fourth Roman to be booked for a late challenge on Miller-Rodney… something he’d regret as the game progressed. That was soon followed by a rare Bath City attack along their left-flank, which resulted with Tom Smith shooting just over Mitchell Beeney’s crossbar (58).
Baris Altintop was the next player to be booked, before his Captain doubled the Darts’ advantage. The goal came from an initial free-kick, which eventually dropped to Luke Coulson who, with just the one touch, sent a beautiful strike into the bottom corner (66)!
The visitors responded by throwing on Chris Lines to replace Dan Hayfield (67) and, within minutes, they’d pulled a goal back. Seemingly against the run of play, the hosts got caught out at the back, and Ewan Clark found the back of the net (72)!
Scott Wilson then replaced Luke Russe (72) and subsequently scored the equaliser three minutes later after good work by Cody Cooke!
As the game had literally exploded into life within a couple of minutes, a routine victory for the hosts had turned into a “winner takes all” battle. And, Wilson was the player to come close once again with a great strike which forced Beeney to tip the ball around his post in the 80th minute.
Four minutes later saw the hosts edge in front again with another goal for Luke Coulson, after the Skipper had managed to get on the end of Luke Allen’s terrific cross (84).
Dartford were unlucky not to have wrapped up the points in the 89th minute, when Brandon Barzey saw his effort excellently saved by Ollie Wright, and the rebound just wouldn’t go over the line.
As the game entered an additional ten minutes, several things took place. Firstly, Alan Dowson made his first change in personnel with Joe Rabbetts coming on for Brandon Barzey (90+). That would soon be followed by Charlie Sheringham and Lewis Manor replacing Luke Allen and Harvey Bradbury respectively.
Jack Batten received his second yellow card of the afternoon, which was obviously followed by a red card and his marching orders. However, despite being a man down, The Romans didn’t give up and were rewarded for their efforts with five additional minutes remaining. Jordan Thomas got the equaliser with a delightful left-footed screamer, which left Beeney with no chance (90+5).
It was a breathless end to an excellent game of football. And, while the result wasn’t what Luke Coulson and Co would have wanted, many positives can be taken from this opening game of the season. Football is back, and it’s back in style!
DARTFORD: Mitchell Beeney, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Tommy Block, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Baris Altintop, Luke Coulson (c), Luke Allen, Brandon Barzey, Joash Nembhard, Harvey Bradbury.
SUBSTITUTES: Lewis Manor, Tom Wray, Joe Rabbetts, Charlie Sheringham, Olly Box.
BATH CITY: Ollie Wright, Danny Greenslade, Jack Batten, Kieran Parselle (c), Dan Hayfield, Cody Cooke, Tom Smith, Ewan Clark, Jordan Thomas, Luke Russe, Ben Morgan.
SUBSTITUTES: Elliott Frear, Chris Lines, Jacob Cook, Scott Wilson.
|August 5, 2023||3:00 pm||National League South||2023/24||0'|