Dartford v Tonbridge Angels
Paul Rooney’s first-half strike proved to be enough, as Dartford returned to winning ways at the expense of Tonbridge Angels in the Kent derby.
With both sides struggling for form, the opening exchanges of this game was a cagey affair, as 1,122 supporters enjoyed the sunshine on a cool afternoon at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.
The hosts appeared to settle first, as they pushed the Angels back for long periods of time. The first real opportunity arrived in the eighteenth minute, when Baris Altintop found Lewis Manor with a delightful cross. Manor’s effort ricocheted towards Paul Rooney, but his strike was somehow cleared off the line!
Two minutes later saw a case of deja-vu, as Altintop’s cross caused havoc once again, but Manor’s bullet header flew narrowly wide of Jonathan Henly’s upright (20).
The Darts kept coming forward though, as the visitors just couldn’t cope with the state of play during this period. And in the 32nd minute, the hosts were rewarded for their efforts.
Luke Coulson was the creator, as he got the better of former teammate Jernade Meade, raced into the box, and pulled the trigger. However, his effort was blocked by the Tonbridge defence, fell into the path of Paul Rooney, who sent a terrific shot into the back of the net.
The script for Tonbridge had now changed, and they had to venture forward if they had any ambitions of salvaging something from the game. The result? A nice, relatively open game.
However, it would take until the 40th minute for the visitors to register any real effort on Dartford’s goal. That came via the hard-working Joseph Turner, who struck straight a Mitchell Beeney from distance.
The visitors, who had lost Jeremy Santos early in the game due to injury (replaced by Lewis Gard on five minutes), were enjoying a good spell as the half ended. Jordan Higgs saw his rather tame effort easily saved by Mitchell Beeney (44), before Turner fired over the crossbar seconds later.
Lewis Manor had a glorious opportunity to double his side’s lead deep into stoppage time, only to see Jamie Fielding clear the incoming danger in the nick of time.
The second forty-five saw Tonbridge create more opportunities, as they continued to chase the game. Ex-Dart Jordan Greenidge saw his strike blocked after being released by Joseph Turner (53), before fortune favoured the brave…
Seeing that Greenidge had been released once again, Mitch Beeney rushed off his line, only to miss-time his challenge. Thankfully, the Dartford shot-stopper received only a yellow card for his trouble, whilst Tonbridge were rewarded a free-kick in a dangerous position (55).
Jernade Meade took the set-piece, but fired high and over Beeney’s crossbar (56)… before the hosts began attacking themselves and were extremely unfortunate to not stretch their lead once again.
Brandon Barzey was the instigator this time, as his wonderful run and skill got him into the right side of Tonbridge’s box. He duly sent a fierce strike towards goal, which Henly somehow managed to parry… straight back into Dartford’s possession. The ball eventually found Lewis Manor, who saw yet another effort saved (60), before getting a second bite of the cherry two minutes later only to fire narrowly wide of the post (62).
Tonbridge were clearly on the ropes at the back, and a foul by Benjamin Swift gave the hosts a free-kick in a dangerous position in the 65th minute. Harvey Bradbury took the kick, only to see Henly make a superb save to tip the ball over his crossbar!
The resulting corner was then cleared off the line by Jordan Greenidge, who was then the centre of attention at the other end two minutes later. A long ball saw him get the better of the rushing out Mitchell Beeney, only for Moussa Diarra to intercept and keep Dartford’s lead intact.
Alan Dowson made his first substitution in the 78th minute, as Archie Woods replaced Brandon Barzey. That was followed by Harvey Bradbury making way for Luke Allen (83), before James Golding came on for Sam Odaudu (88).
Having already lost Jeremy Santos early in the game, Tonbridge’s two remaining substitutions saw Joseph Boachie come on for Lewis Gard (69) and Gianni Crichlow replace Tariq Hinds (84).
Returning to the action, Dartford virtually controlled the remainder of the game, leaving Tonbridge to grasp at straws with a couple of shots from distance. The closest of which saw a Jordan Higgs strike blocked well, before Gianni Crichlow fired a low drive straight into the arms of Mitchell Beeney (88).
Joash Nembhard’s performance earned him the Man of The Match award, as the Darts earned a third clean sheet of the season and ended a four-game winless run. The result also sees the hosts leapfrog today’s opponents and climb up to 15th place in the National League South table.
DARTFORD: Mitchell Beeney, Sam Odaudu, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Baris Altintop, Luke Coulson (c), Paul Rooney, Lewis Manor, Brandon Barzey, Joash Nembhard, Harvey Bradbury, Moussa Diarra.
SUBSTITUTES: Jordan Wynter, Luke Allen, Tom Wray, Archie Woods, James Golding.
TONBRIDGE ANGELS: Jonathan Henly, Jamie Fielding, Kodi Lyons-Foster, Benjamin Swift, Jordan Higgs, Tariq Hinds, Jeremy Santos, Joseph Turner, Jordan Greenidge, Jernade Meade, Scott Wagstaff (c).
SUBSTITUTES: Thomas Parkinson, Gianni Crichlow, Lewis Gard, Nathan Wood, Joseph Boachie.
|September 23, 2023||3:00 pm||National League South||2023/24||0'|