Dartford hosted Isthmian Premier League outfit Folkestone Invicta on a cold night at Princes Park, as the two sides met in the Kent Senior Cup Quarter Final.
Despite making several changes to his squad, Steve King was still able to select a strong starting eleven, thus making the Dart’s intentions clear as they seeked a place in the competition’s Semi-Finals. Despite a bright start from the visitors, it was the Darts who progressed to the next round after hitting Neil Cugley’s men with two goals in each half.
Had they been more accurate, things could have been different for Folkestone. A positive start saw them control the opening proceedings somewhat, and force the first corner of the match within six minutes. That corner alluded everybody, however, an effort four minutes later didn’t. As Scott Heard received the ball in midfield, he found space and struck the ball from distance, forcing Mark Smith into a fine save.
Five minutes later saw Amrit Bansal-McNulty try his luck from the edge of the Folkestone box, only to see his effort deflected behind for a corner. Ronnie Vint got on the end of that corner, only for Henry Newcombe to catch the ball safely. The visitors were then allowed to attack immediately with a move that resulted in Ira Jackson getting through on goal. As Smith rushed out, Jackson attempted to lob the goalkeeper, only to see his effort arch over the bar.
Good play from Dartford released Liam Nash, who found himself through on goal, only to fire wide of Newcombe’s post in the 21st minute. The striker would make amends eleven minutes later by scoring his second goal for the club. His goal would come from a fabulous attack along the Dartford
right flank, as a wonderful one-two between Bansal-McNulty and Tyrique Hyde ended up with the latter sending a terrific ball into the box for Nash to place it beyond Newcombe.
Five minutes later saw Newcombe then bring Hyde down in the box. The Dartford midfielder was attempting to round the goalkeeper after receiving the ball from a Jordan Wynter header. Referee, Peter Cruise, pointed to the spot and Hyde buried the ball beyond Newcombe to double the host’s
As the second half got under way, the visitors made a change in personnel, with Johan Ter Horst replacing Michael Everitt, yet the prospects of them making a comeback became impossible when Dartford scored a third a few minutes later. Nash collected the ball in the midfield before making a
brilliant forward run. He then played a super ball through to Billy Crook, who found himself through on goal and chipped the ball over the hapless Newcombe to score his first goal of the season.
With 58 minutes on the clock, Steve King made his first substitution with Craig Braham-Barrett replacing Sanchez Ming. This was followed by Folkestone swapping Jerson Dos Santos for Nathaniel Blonks, before Elliott Romain came on for Liam Nash in the 64th minute.
A minute later saw Newcombe picking the ball out of his net for the fourth time after more superb attacking play from the hosts. The move started after that same combination of Bansal-McNulty and Hyde played another super one-two, which carved open the Folkestone defence. Hyde then squared the ball to Romain, who buried the ball beyond the goalkeeper with his first touch since coming onto the pitch!
With Dartford in full control and the visitors realising that their cause was lost, the game began to calm down a little. As the 67th minute arrived, Billy Crook was replaced by Lee Noble as the hosts kept possession well. Kieran Jones would replace Ian Draycott for Folkestone in the 85th minute, but
that was pretty much the last piece of noteworthy action as Dartford saw out the remaining time in front of 334 supporters.
There were some good performances from the Dartford players throughout the game, yet it was the excellent Tyrique Hyde who was a deserved recipient of the Man of The Match award on a night which saw the Darts comfortably progress into the Semi-Finals of the Kent Senior Cup.
DARTFORD: Smith, Ming, Wynter, Djouaher, Hill, Vint, Hyde, Crook, Nash, Bansal-McNulty, McGregor.
SUBSTITUTES: Braham-Barrett, Bonner, Romain, Jebb, Noble.
FOLKESTONE INVICTA: Newcombe, O’Mara, Blonks, Newman, Davies, Sterling, Heard, Everitt, Jackson, Draycott, Paxman.
SUBSTITUTES: Dos Santos, Ter Horst, Jones, Roberts.