Upcoming MatchHendon vs Dartford/April 23, 2024/Silver Jubilee Park


Dartford crashed to another defeat, after Eastbourne Borough dealt out a huge hammer blow to leapfrog their hosts after a Yahya Bamba double at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.

Having recorded just the one victory (at Dover Athletic) in the previous 18 games, this fixture was a crucial one in the Darts’ bid to avoid relegation. However, a mixture of unfortunate injuries, poor referee decisions, and a self-inflicted goal left the hosts staring down the proverbial barrel in front of 1,305 supporters in Kent.

The hosts started well and, perhaps, should have edged ahead when Brandon Barzey was released within eight minutes. However, Harrison Foulkes made the block, before releasing Yahya Bamba to race along the Eastbourne left-flank seconds later. The lively winger found Alfie Bendle with a neat cross, but the latter couldn’t keep his strike down (9).

Sadly for the Darts, Tommy Block couldn’t continue after being caught by an Eastbourne player a few minutes previously in a challenge that referee, Mr Steven Hughes, ignored. He was subsequently replaced by Maxwell Statham as early as the tenth minute.

The excellent Barzey then fired narrowly wide of Foulkes’ upright (14), before the hosts gifted their opponents the opening goal four minutes later. David Sesay’s high ball into the box was misjudged by Rhys Byrne, leaving Bamba to poke home into an empty net (18).

The hosts eventually won their first corner of the afternoon in the 39th minute, which Luke Coulson whipped into the danger area. The ball was perfect for Jordan Greenidge, but his header was too tame and was gathered comfortably by Foulkes.

The Sports then came agonisingly close to doubling their advantage, after Sam Beard’s corner was misjudged by Rhys Byrne. However, Moussa Diarra’s effort was somehow cleared (40), before Alfie Bendle struck the upright a minute later.

Dartford responded with a brilliant attack of their own via Luke Coulson, who’s dangerous cross was headed into the path of the excellent Paul Rooney. The Dartford number ten struck it first time to send a sweet 25-yard volley towards the top corner, only to see Foulkes somehow save it (42)!

A minute later saw Brandon Barzey unable to continue after picking up an injury, thus adding to Adrian Pennock’s woes this afternoon. He was replaced by Olly Box (43), who would go on to have a good game himself. Pennock would go on to use his third and final substitution in the 53rd minute, as Alex Wall replaced Jordan Greenidge.

Meanwhile in the other dugout, Adam Murray would make his first change in personnel after 64 minutes, whereby Dan Quick replaced Freddie Carter. The Sports would go on to swap Yahya Bamba with Decarrey Sheriff (76) and Matt Green with Siya Ligendza (90+1).

The start of the second forty-five saw Eastbourne begin on the front-foot, and they came close to scoring a second when Finn Ballard-McBride’s low drive hit the post (52).

Dartford responded with a good move of their own, as Luke Allen found Luke Coulson with a neat pass. The Dartford skipper then had two bites of the cherry after his initial low drive was cleared off the line by Moussa Diarra (59).

But, just as it looked like the hosts could possibly get something from the game, Eastbourne hit them with a sucker-punch… Matt Green’s neat ball into the path of Yahya Bamba was suspiciously controlled by the hand of the latter, before he fired his second of the afternoon in off the post (67).

Decarrey Sheriff then fired wide of Rhys Byrne’s far post (77), before Olly Box’s delightful curling drive cannoned back off of Harrison Foulkes’ crossbar at the other end (82). Paul Rooney saw another effort blocked by Diarra deep into stoppage time, as the visitors weren’t going to be denied this afternoon.


DARTFORD: Rhys Byrne, Jordan Wynter, Tommy Block, Luke Coulson (c), Luke Allen, Paul Rooney, Brandon Barzey, Joash Nembhard, Jordan Greenidge, Ronny Nelson, Harrison Sodje.

SUBSTITUTES: Jack Smith, Alex Wall, Maxwell Statham, Fumnaya Shomotun, Olly Box.

EASTBOURNE BOROUGH: Harrison Foulkes, Brad Barry (c), Jack Clarke, Alfie Bendle, Freddie Carter, Finn Ballard-McBride, Sam Beard, Moussa Diarra, Matt Green, David Sesay, Yahya Bamba.

SUBSTITUTES: Dan Quick, Siya Ligendza, Jake Hutchinson, Decarrey Sheriff, Billy Vigar.

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Chris Palmer