Upcoming MatchDartford vs Charlton Athletic/July 6, 2024/Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park

MATCH REPORT | DARTFORD 1 CHELMSFORD 2

Dartford’s miserable luck against Chelmsford City continued, after a late goal by Giovanni McGregor ensured that the points returned to Essex as the battle for the play-offs heated up.

As 1,504 supporters enjoyed Non-League Day in windy conditions at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park, it was the Clarets that started the game brighter. And, in all honesty, they could have taken the lead as early as the second minute. Freddie Hockey got the better of Maxwell Statham, before sending in a teasingly low cross which neither Ody Alfa nor Michael Folivi could reach.

The hosts took a little time to get going, and we had to wait until the 11th minute for the first attempt on goal. The opportunity came via Samir Carruthers, but he failed to test goalkeeper Jacob Marsden.

Carruthers was at it again seven minutes later, only this time he set up Alex Wall with a delightful cross into the Chelmsford box. Unfortunately, Wall wasn’t able to direct his header on target (18). Yet less than a minute later, the same duo combined in the same order, only on this occasion Ben Brookes was on hand to prevent Wall from opening the scoring with a timely block (19).

The visitors went on to create a few half-chances as a rather tight first-half ran its course. Both Callum Jones (37) and Michael Folivi (38) failed to test Dan Wilks, before the Darts edged their noses in front.

The goal arrived via a good attacking move down the Dartford left-flank, before the lively Luke Coulson was on hand to score his sixth goal of the season in all competitions (40).

The goal lit a spark in the Darts and they should have doubled their advantage five minutes later, after superb work by Samir Carruthers. His brilliant run saw him set himself up for a strike on the Chelmsford goal, but his effort whizzed by the wrong side of Marsden’s upright (45).

The second forty-five saw Chelmsford throwing men forward in an attempt to equalise, and they controlled the midfield for long periods of the half whilst creating opportunities. After a few corners in quick succession, they came close to levelling the score only for a Dartford player to clear Callum Jones’ goal-bound effort off the line amongst a sea of bodies (54).

Dan Wilks then saved comfortably from Tyrese Johnson a minute later, before a good Dartford move saw Luke Coulson smack the Chelmsford post (63)!

A minute before Coulson’s effort saw the first substitutions take place, as both managers made a change at the same time. Chelmsford’s Freddie Hockey made way for Tom Blackwell, while Dartford’s Malachi Napa replaced Pierre Fonkeu (62).

Manager Alan Dowson was then forced into swapping Connor Essam for Keiran Murtagh in the 74th minute, before Harvey Bradbury came on for Alex Wall (83). Meanwhile, the Clarets swapped Michael Folivi with Giovanni McGregor (72) and Arjanit Krasniqi with James Blanchfield (88).

As we return to the action, Tom Bonner and Co were being forced to defend deeply as the visitors continued to press higher up the pitch. The Darts looked defensively resolute though, until a moment of magic from Ody Alfa pulled the visitors level with eight minutes of the ninety remaining.

The youngster collected the ball, made space for himself, before sending a delightful strike in off the post (82). To be fair, the ex-Dartford (loanee) winger who is on loan from QPR, was reserved and respectful to the Dartford faithful with his celebration, but the goal gave his teammates the lift they needed and deep into stoppage time, they turned the game on its head.

Liam Trotter won the ball deep inside the Dartford half, before finding Giovanni McGregor with a neat pass. The substitute then made space for himself, before sending a curling drive beyond Dan Wilks and into the bottom corner to win the game for the visitors (90+3).

Luke Coulson’s performance earned him a deserved Man of The Match award, but that will be of little consolation to him. It’s fair to say that Chelmsford dominated in places throughout the game, yet the hosts defended gallantly. Be that as it may, football can be a cruel game sometimes.

TEAMS

DARTFORD: Dan Wilks, Samir Carruthers, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner (c), Luke Coulson, Luke Allen, Alex Wall, Maxwell Statham, Jack Smith, Pierre Fonkeu, Sam Odaudu.

SUBSTITUTES: Richard Chin, Keiran Murtagh, Harvey Bradbury, Ben Dudzinski, Malachi Napa.

CHELMSFORD: Jacob Marsden, Liam Trotter (c), Adebola Oluwo, Tyrese Johnson, Michael Folivi, Callum Jones, Freddie Hockey, Odi Alfa, Ben Brookes, Frankie Terry, Arjanit Krasniqi.

SUBSTITUTES: Cameron James, Simeon Jackson, Tom Blackwell, Giovanni McGregor, James Blanchfield.

Match Photos Gallery

By Chris Palmer