Dartford returned to winning ways with a fine performance against Farnborough, in an entertaining encounter in front of 1,017 supporters at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.
Despite Alan Dowson having to shuffle his squad and place midfielder Keiran Murtagh into an injury-hit defensive unit, the Darts started brightly and were ahead within six minutes.
Tom Bonner was the man to open the scoring after getting on the end of a Samir Carruthers corner to net his third league goal of the season.
However, The Yellows responded well and were a little unfortunate to not at least test goalkeeper Dan Wilks in the 16th minute after excellent work involving Jack Ball. The right wingback managed to get forward before finding Ricky Holmes with a delightfully teasing cross. The latter couldn’t apply the finish though, sending his effort over the crossbar from close-range instead.
The hosts came close once again after Murtagh’s terrific effort following another Carruthers corner smacked off the crossbar (20), before Statham thought he’d doubled his side’s lead five minutes later. Unfortunately, his goal was chalked off by referee, Mr Ryan Atkins after an apparent push on goalkeeper Jack Turner (25).
Farnborough certainly weren’t out of the contest though, and Jonathon Page tried an ambitious effort from distance in the 31st minute, which failed to trouble Dan Wilks before Selim Saied sent a shot wide of the upright nine minutes later.
It was as you were at the start of the second forty-five, yet the Darts were exploiting more space on their left-flank. And, soon enough, they’d doubled their advantage via a brilliant solo effort from eventual Man of The Match Luke Coulson. The number seven broke free on the left-flank, raced into the box, sold goalkeeper Jack Turner the dummy, before calmly slotting the ball home (50).
Two almost became three a couple of minutes later after another terrific break by Coulson. However, on this occasion he found Alex Wall with a neat pass, but the latter couldn’t apply the finish (52).
The visitors were the first to react as far as substitutions are concerned, making their first change in the 61st minute as Ricky Holmes made way for Zaid Al-Husaini. That would be followed by a double swap after 70 minutes, when Chike Kandi and Alfie Saunders came on for Freddie Grant and Jordan Norville-Williams respectively.
Meanwhile, Dartford would swap Samir Carruthers with Malachi Napa (65), Alex Wall with Harvey Bradbury (73), before Sam Odaudu came on to replace Luke Allen (88).
Returning to the action, Boro came close to halving the deficit with twelve minutes remaining when Kevin Lokko found Harry Parsons with a neat header, only for the former to miss the opportunity (78) before the Darts put the game out of reach.
And it was a debut goal for loanee Harvey Bradbury, who’d only recently arrived from Woking and only come onto the pitch several minutes earlier. A terrific attack lead by Coulson saw him find Bradbury with a neat through-ball which breached the Farnborough backline. Bradbury was away and went on to open his Dartford account with a neat finish to secure the points (82).
The visitors responded in the 84th minute, after Harry Parsons found the back of the net following a ball from Lokko, but it was no more than a late consolation, as the Darts saw out the remainder of the game to register a well-deserved three points.
The result ensures that Tom Bonner and Co remain in a solid second place in the National League South table, while maintaining the gap to the chasing pack.
DARTFORD: Dan Wilks, Samir Carruthers, Tom Bonner (c), Luke Coulson, Luke Allen, Alex Wall, Keiran Murtagh, Maxwell Statham, Isaac Ogundere, Jack Smith, Pierre Fonkeu.
SUBSTITUTES: Harvey Bradbury, Sam Odaudu, George Whitefield, Ben Dudzinski, Malachi Napa.
FARNBOROUGH: Jack Turner, Jack Ball, Freddie Grant, Courtney Fearn, Kevin Lokko (c), Ricky Holmes, Harry Parsons, Adam Lovatt, Jonathon Page, Selim Saied, Jordan Norville-Williams.
SUBSTITUTES: Ronan Silva, Chike Kandi, Zaid Al-Husaini, Connor Lawless, Alfie Saunders.
By Chris Palmer