Dartford made the long trip to Weymouth on Saturday the 17th of August, as they continued their
search for a first win of the season.
The Darts have had an extremely difficult opening four games, with two draws at Princes Park and
two heavy defeats away at Wealdstone and Chelmsford. The difficult opening fixtures haven’t been
helped by injuries, but Adam and Jamie’s team arrived in Weymouth with the purpose of responding
positively after the 4-0 defeat at Chelmsford on Monday night.
However, newly-promoted Weymouth have settled into the National South League nicely. The
Terras came into the game unbeaten, with two wins and two draws in their opening four games. The
hosts also have a good record against the Darts, with four wins and a draw in the last six games.
Admittedly, the last time the two sides met was back in 1997! Nevertheless, Dartford could be
forgiven for thinking that the task of playing at the Bob Lucas Stadium against an in-form side would
be a rather daunting one, and so it proved to be.
The confidence of Mark Moseley’s players was evident from the start, as they saw off a struggling
Dartford side with a 3-1 victory, leaving the latter just a point off the bottom of the league table and
a worryingly leaky defence.
Once again, Adam and Jamie named a strong starting eleven, which saw the return of the influential
Lee Noble in midfield. He partnered Amos Nasha, while Ryan Hayes returned to the starting lineup,
taking his place on the wing, with Ben Greenhalgh his opposite partner in crime. Mark Smith
continued in goal and captain Tom Bonner commanded the defence, together with Josh Hill, Luke
Warner-Eley, and Jordan Wynter [who awaits to serve a ban for his red card last time out]. There
was also a welcome return for striker Andy Pugh, who started in attack alongside Adam Cunnington.
The Darts’ bench consisted of Ronnie Vint, Charlie Sheringham, Alex Flisher, Cameron Brodie, and
The game started slowly until the 9th minute, when Adam Cunnington tried his luck with an
excellent effort, which was just wide of Calum Ward’s goal. Nine minutes later saw Weymouth try
their luck, as Jake McCarthy saw his deflected shot saved by Mark Smith.
To be honest, despite that previous effort from Cunnington and another excellent attempt from
Amos Nasha, which went wide of the goal in the 24th minute, chances were few and far between for
Dartford. Instead, it was the hosts who created the majority of opportunities and, subsequently, it
was the hosts who took the lead. The goal came in the 41st minute after Brett Williams played a
good ball into Yemi Odubade, who then played it to Josh Wakefield. His shot was excellently saved
by Smith, only for the loose ball to fall to Abdulai Baggie, who tapped it into the net.
With the Dartford players stunned, The Terras should have made it 2-0 immediately afterwards
when Williams was played in by Baggie after the hosts counterattacked from a Dartford corner.
Thankfully, his shot went wide of Smith’s goal. Unfortunately, that didn’t matter because the hosts
doubled their lead four minutes into the second half. Again, it was Williams and Baggie linking up
and getting the better of the Dartford defence, as the latter passed the ball to Williams, who scored
from close range.
Five minutes later the Darts tried to hit back, as Lee Noble powered his way into the Weymouth
penalty area. His excellent work earned the visitors a corner, but a free header won by Jordan
Wynter went wide to the frustration of the Dartford fans. Shortly afterwards another opportunity to
half the deficit was presented, when goalkeeper Ward miss-kicked the ball, handing possession
straight back to the visitors. The ball ended up wide on the left and Greenhalgh crossed to
Cunnington who, in turn, sent it towards Pugh. Unfortunately the resulting ball ended up just behind
the latter, who was unable to get enough on it and in the end Ward was able to gather the ball up.
The visitors tried to get themselves back in the game by introducing Alex Flisher and Norman Wabo
for Ryan Hayes and Andy Pugh respectively, and then Cameron Brodie came on for Amos Nasha
later. The substitutions almost paid off immediately, as Weymouth lost possession and Wabo found
himself in a good position. Unfortunately his effort was sent high and over the stand. On the other
hand, Weymouth’s attack was just too strong, as they seemed to control the game with confidence,
as once again they caught the Darts’ midfield napping, only for excellent defending by Hill to thwart
the attack. It didn’t matter in the greater scheme of things because, the three points were sealed in
the 80th minute when Williams scored his second after latching onto a pass from Stephane Zubar.
The lack of confidence in attack was evident from Dartford, and it wasn’t until the 83rd minute that
they seemed to spark into life. Some terrific passes were strung together, which released Wabo into
the Weymouth box, only for him to see his shot go over the bar. Then, in the 89th minute, Wabo
struck. A beautiful ball from Greenhalgh floated into the box from the right, a climbing Cunnington
flicked it into the danger area, and the Dartford number 20 stabbed it home. It was only a
consolation goal, but Wabo will be pleased to have finally gotten off the mark.
That moment aside, however, the truth was that this was another frustrating away trip for Dartford.
The management and players will be unhappy after suffering a third straight defeat on their travels.
However, Wabo’s late consolation goal is sure to be the confidence boost required to get that first
win of the season next time out.