DARTFORD 5 HYTHE TOWN 1
Ade Azeez bagged a hatrick and put on a Man of The Match display, as Dartford brushed aside Isthmian South East side Hythe Town in the FA Cup 2nd Qualifying Round at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.
The hosts exploded into life in front of 816 supporters, as the attacking trio of Dan Roberts, Danny Leonard, and Ade Azeez looked to exploit the lack of pace within the Cannon’s defensive ranks.
As the Darts targeted Jarred Trespaderne on the Hythe left side predominantly, Leonard was using his pace with ease, as he terrorised his man continuously. The tactics worked a treat, and the hosts were ahead after just five minutes when Leonard raced past the defender before sending in an inch-perfect cross for Ade Azeez to guide beyond goalkeeper William Godman with a well-placed header.
The tempo on the pitch became a little quieter after the goal, as the visitors tried to claw their way back into the game. With the weather being glorious, referee Mr Oliver Mackey wisely stopped play for an important drinks break as we reached the 20th minute. Sixty seconds later saw the Cannons stun the Dartford defence to enable Alexander Brown to put the ball beyond Craig King and level the score.
The equaliser prompted the Darts back into life, as they set about edging in front once again. The pressure eventually got too much for the visitors, as a Danny Leonard drive was handled by Thomas Wynter in the 29th minute. Up stepped Azeez to smash the ball into the bottom corner and restore his side’s lead.
Wounded by the goal, Hythe set about drawing level again. Yet, despite an extremely open game in this first-half, they were unable to penetrate the wall of Tom Bonner and Connor Essam. On the odd occasion when they did look dangerous, Jordan Wynter, Noor Husin, and new signing Michael Kedman were on hand to restore parity.
However, the more the visitors roamed forward, the more obvious it was that they’d be susceptible to the breath-taking counter-attack of Steve King’s side. And so it proved to be the case with 37 minutes on the clock. As Craig King collected the ball from a Hythe attack, his quick thinking released Noor Husin with a great throw. Husin, seeing the run of Danny Leonard, launched a superb ball over-the-top, and Leonard controlled it brilliantly, made a mockery of his marker, before firing beyond the hapless Godman.
The second forty-five started similarly, as the hosts exerted their authority on the game and came close to stretching the lead. Jack Jebb couldn’t quite find the target after receiving the ball from the excellent Leonard (49), before Azeez was merely inches away from getting on the end of another delightful Leonard cross (53). Leonard then hit the side-netting after excellent work to get himself into shooting position, having received a clever free-kick from Jebb in the 65th minute.
With the hosts looking rather comfortable and in control, Steve King introduced fresh legs to see out the tie. Kieran Murtagh replaced Jack Jebb (65), new signing Deshane Dalling replaced Danny Leonard (70), and Dan Roberts left the field for Jake Robinson (76).
However, seconds before Roberts and Robinson swapped places, Dartford had stretched the lead to 4-1. A terrific run down the left-flank from Michael Kedman resulted in the debutant sending in a delightfully teasing cross, which was inadvertently headed beyond William Godman by his own teammate, Eli Benoit!
With the Cannons out of ammunition, the Darts continued to press forward and Ade Azeez capped a superb display with a fine goal to seal his first ever hatrick for Dartford in the 89th minute!
The result sees Dartford’s unbeaten run continue, as they go into the draw for the next qualifying round of this 150th rendition of the FA Cup.
DARTFORD: Craig King, Jordan Wynter, Michael Kedman, Noor Husin, Connor Essam, Tom Bonner ©, Danny Leonard, Luke Allen, Dan Roberts, Jack Jebb, Ade Azeez.
SUBSTITUTES: Kieran Murtagh, Josh Hill, Deshane Dalling, Tyrique Hyde, Jake Robinson, Luke Wanadio, Dan Wilks.
HYTHE TOWN: William Godman, Liam Smith, Jarred Trespaderne, James Rogers, Eli Benoit, Thomas Wynter, Charlie Webster, Darren Oldaker, Noel Leighton, Francis Collin, Alexander Brown.
SUBSTITUTES: Nathan Gordon, Jordan Sarfo, Ryan Pattinson, Jkane Philip, Thomas Walsley.
By Chris Palmer