Dartford’s dreams of reaching the second round of the FA Cup was emphatically ended by League 2 side Swindon.
Although the Darts’ league form has been among the best, they were thoroughly outclassed by the side two divisions above them.
Swindon eviscerated all hope of an upset in a dominant first half that had them 3 goals up curtesy of a double from Timi Elsnik sandwiched between a strike from Harry Smith.
Town added another two early goals in the second period with Amine Linganzi and Paul Mullin adding their names to the scoresheet before Richard Sho-Silva gave the home fans something to cheer about with a late consolation.
Tony Burman was without the suspended Andy Pugh, but Tom Bonner passed his race to be fit and was named in the starting line-up.
David Flitcroft opted to name a strong starting XI as Town looked to progress beyond the first round of the cup for the first time since 2011 and they got off to the perfect start as Elsnik was on hand to open the scoring on 12 minutes.
Deren Ibrahim could only parry Linganzi’s cross into the path of Elsnik who made no mistake in thundering the ball into the roof of the net.
From then on, it was one-way traffic. Mullin curled a shot over and Donal McDermott had a strike that Ibrahim was equal to, but Swindon had soon doubled their lead in the 23rd minute.
McDermott was given too much space to drive forwards and the winger slipped the ball into the path of Smith whose first-time strike flew into the top corner from the 18-yard line.
It got even worse for the home side as Swindon took full control three minutes later. A cross from Matty Taylor found an unmarked Elsnik to head home his second of the afternoon.
Dartford had their best spell of the match just before half time as they looked to quell the onslaught.
Alex Brown didn’t make full use of a terrific cross from Ryan Hayes before Reice Charles-Cook was on top form to keep out a header from Elliot Bradbrook.
The young keeper would have got nowhere near a volley from Lee Noble but unfortunately for the Darts it just fizzed past the bar.
Any hopes of a dramatic second half comeback were extinguished within minutes of the restart as Swindon were clinical in despatching another two goals.
Within a minute, Linganzi had thumped a volley into the corner after the Darts failed to clear their lines before Mullin slid in to convert after some good work outwide from substitute John Goddard.
The quick-fire double was the final nail in the coffin as a drab second forty-five followed with both sides going through the motions until the final whistle.
Ibrahim was still alert to keep out a header from Smith and Bradbrook went close again but to no avail.
Dartford did finally manage to pull back a deserved consolation eight minutes from time. Whilst Swindon dealt with the initial corner, Tom Murphy almost rifled home a superb volley outside the box only to strike the post. Fortunately for the home side, the ball landed kindly for Sho-Silva to smash home.
Dartford: Ibrahim, Harris, Sho-Silva, Bonner, Onyemah, Hayes (Mfula 66mins), Noble, Brown (Wood 66mins), Bradbrook, Della-Verde (Murphy 54mins), Pavey.
Subs not used Vint, Coxall, Fulton, Ahwieh.
Swindon: Charles-Cook, Purkiss, Lancashire, Preston, Taylor, Dunne, Linganzi, Elsnik (Goddard 38mins), Mullin (Woolery 54mins), McDermott (Gordon 73mins), Smith.
Subs not used: Henry, Robertson, Iandola, Knoyle.
|November 5, 2017||2:00 pm||FA Cup||2017/18||90'|
|Grass Banks, Dartford DA1 1LZ, UK|