The third encounter in eleven days between Dartford and Maidstone United took place on a rather
soggy pitch at Princes Park, as the two sides met for the replay in the Buildbase FA Trophy Third
The wet weather throughout the day resulted in perfect conditions for football. However, the truth
of the matter was another frustrating evening for Dartford in front of the home faithful, as a lone
strike from Iffy Allen sent Maidstone through to the next round in a game that the Darts didn’t
deserve to lose.
The first half saw a stalemate, as both sides refused to give an inch, despite the Darts creating the
better opportunities. Wanadio, in particular, was a constant threat on the right, as he linked up well
with Romain, and managed to get numerous crosses into the box. Unfortunately, his efforts were in
vain due to a disciplined Maidstone defence.
With little to choose between either side during the first forty-five, the visitors were forced into an
early substitution after twenty five minutes when Marshall was unable to continue. He was replaced
by James, but the fresh pair of legs made little difference as Dartford continued to have the majority
of the possession. The only other action of any real significance during this period were the two
yellow cards handed out by referee, Andrew Humphries, as Khan and then Marsh-Brown were
booked within a matter of minutes.
Dartford finished the half stronger, as they pressed forward searching for the opening goal. The
opportunity presented itself in stoppage time when the hosts were awarded a corner. With the ball
being whipped in at speed, the Stones managed to clear, only for the ball to land perfectly for Allen
to strike. Unfortunately the Dartford number eight sent his effort over the bar.
The Darts came out in the second half, making their intentions clear, but the visitors dug deep and
broke up the play where possible. With fifty minutes on the clock, James became the third player
booked as he took out Mendy with a rough tackle to prevent the hosts getting further forward.
Dartford pressed more as their confidence grew, forcing several corners in a matter of minutes.
Unfortunately, their efforts were in vain and then Maidstone broke forward with a counter-attack as
the game approached the hour mark. With the hosts struggling to get men back, Iffy Allen struck the ball beyond Smith’s reach to give the Stones an undeserved lead against the run of play.
At the restart, Marsh-Brown collected the ball on the left, cut inside and sent a beautiful effort
towards goal, only to see it bend wide of the post, thus robbing his side of an immediate response.
With the home section of the 701 supporters in full voice, Steve King’s men tried their hardest to
carve open an equaliser, but the Maidstone defence held strong as they protected their lead.
The longer the game went on, the more Maidstone frustrated the hosts, as they wasted time and
broke up play whenever the opportunity arose. Even the introduction of fresh pairs of legs [Hayes
for Pugh (73), Brodie for Marsh-Brown (77), and Edmundson for Allen (90)] couldn’t ignite that spark in the final third. And with seconds remaining Hoyte summed up Maidstone’s tactics by becoming the third Stones’ player to receive a yellow card, as he wasted time taking a free-kick…!
A frustrating evening came to its conclusion with Dartford exiting the Buildbase FA Trophy at the first hurdle, as Steve King’s side still search for a first win at Princes Park since the 24th of August.
DARTFORD: Smith, Marsh-Brown, Mendy, Vint, Hill, Bonner, Wanadio, Allen, Pugh, Romain,
SUBSTITUTES: Hayes, Sesay, Brodie, Sargeant, Edmundson, Evans, Walsh.
MAIDSTONE UTD: Cole, Hoyte, Elokobi, Marshall, Chesmain, Emery, Wishart, Allen, Kahn, Johnson,
SUBSTITUTES: Pennell, Kamdjo, James, Kyei, Edwards, Amaluzor, Lewington.