Darts finally break Clarets hoodoo
Two of last seasons promotion challenging sides played out an entertaining National League south fixture with hosts Dartford defeating Chelmsford City at Princes Park for the first time in 18 years courtesy of an Elliot Bradbrook goal.
There was just one change to the home side after a 2-1 opening weekend victory over Bath City as Kudus Onyenuga dropped to the bench; Delano Sam-Yorke replaced the forward who netted 12 times for the Essex opponents.
The visitors started the brighter of the two sides and had a chance to take the lead. Michael Spillane threaded the ball through to Rhys Murphy via a deflection and with the striker bearing down on goal it took an excellent last-gasp challenge from Mark Onyemah to clear the danger.
The visitors looked to stay on the front foot with Murphy firing over when he should arguably have done better.
The Darts stuggled to get going much like in their opening fixture last Saturday until a moment of chaos that resulted in two sendings off.
Tempers flared as Murphy chased the ball to the touchline by the dug-outs Dartford co-boss Adam Flanagan attempted to stop the ball as it rolled out of play.
In the process the ex-Concord Rangers boss tripped the Clarets forward which triggered a mass brawl on the pitch between players and staff.
Once referee Dean Hulme had eventually regained control of the contest he took the decision to send Flanagan and his opposite number Rod Stringer to the stands.
The incident encapsulated what was a niggly affair – Callum Driver knew that all too well as he was caught by the stray arm of Thomas Wright.
The Darts grew into the game as the half came to a close; first Elliot Bradbrook tried his luck from distance before Ronnie Vint headed just over.
The visitors had the last say before the half-time whistle, however, as Ibrahim did well to stop Scott Fenwick’s stinging effort.
Half-time: Dartford 0-0 Chelmsford City
Whatever words now-solo boss Jamie Coyle gave to his men at the interval paid dividends as the hosts started the brighter of the two sides.
Six minutes after the restart Jamie Philpot came close with a cross-come-shot that rebounded off the far post and into the grateful arms of Ross Worner.
The hosts kept the pressure mounting with Philpot going close again before the striker thought he had opened the scoring. Only the linesman’s flag denied the ex-Millwall forward after he latched onto a long ball from Lee Noble.
The next chance fell for the team in black and white too as a great ball from Ben Greenhalgh picked out Delano Sam-Yorke who was only denied by a good stop from Worner.
Moments later though it was Greenhalgh who was the provider for the opening goal. His corner from the right picked out Bradbrook whose towering header at the far post looped into the right corner in the 77th minute.
The goal saw the visitors regain the belief they were playing with for much of the first period.
First Ibrahim saved well from a powerful Scott Fenwick effort before substitute Mark Haines almost grabbed a last-gasp equaliser as his glancing header just missed the target with Dartford just about holding out for their second win in as many games.
Full-time: Dartford 1-0 Chelmsford City
Dartford: Ibrahim; Driver, Onyemah, Vint, Bonner; Greenhalgh (Murphy 90mins), Isaac (Roast 85mins), Bradbrook, Noble; Philpot (Ighorae 68mins), Sam-Yorke.
Chelmsford: Worner; Young (Barnum-Bobb 62mins), Wraight, Omozusi, Spillane (Haines 71mins); Anderson, Church, Nasha (Miles 68mins), Reason, Fenwick, Murphy.
Man of the match: Delano Sam-Yorke