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

MATCH REPORT | EASTBOURNE BOROUGH 1 DARTFORD 1

Dartford’s good form continued, as Brandon Barzey’s goal earned them a hard-fought point at Eastbourne Borough on a chilly night in East Sussex.

Despite the narrow scoreline, this was an entertaining encounter to watch, as both sides attacked from the off. And, it was Alan Dowson’s side that came close as early as the eighth minute, when Paul Rooney did well to connect with Sam Odaudu’s long throw… unfortunately his effort was narrowly wide of Harrison Foulkes’ upright.

With the visitors dominating possession for large parts of the half, The Sports were quite content to counter-attack with long, defence-splitting balls whilst trying to use their pace on the flanks. One such troublesome character was Leone Gravata, who was becoming a constant threat.

However, Gravata’s game ended rather earlier than expected after coming off second-best in a seemingly late Joash Nembhard challenge in the 20th minute. After assessing the situation and enabling the Eastbourne player to get treatment, referee Mr Shelby Elson wrote Nembhard’s name in his book. Unfortunately for the hosts, though, Gravata wasn’t able to continue and was soon substituted with Shiloh Remy (25).

As the half progressed, Brandon Barzey and Tyrell Miller-Rodney both came close to opening the scoring, before Luke Coulson fired straight into the grateful arms of Foulkes. The opportunity having arrived after a beautiful piece of play, involving Harvey Bradbury, Brandon Barzey, and Paul Rooney had released the Skipper (45+3).

At the start of the second forty-five, Mark Beard made his second swap in personnel by replacing Zak Emmerson with Jay Beckford. In fact, The Sports’ boss was the only one to use his available substitutions this evening, but would be forced into his third and final change just after the hour… captain Jack Paxman was unable to continue and was replaced with Brad Barry.

Having created very little in terms of meaningful opportunities during the first-half, Eastbourne found themselves ahead within three minutes of the restart… a good move forced Moussa Diarra to misjudge his challenge, which inadvertently released Fletcher Holman, who raced clear before slotting the ball beyond Mitchell Beeney.

The hosts’ tails were up and, with the Darts shell-shocked, they laid seige on the visitors’ goal, only to find a rock solid Joash Nembhard in the way to prevent them doubling their lead.

But, Alan Dowson’s men weathered the storm and soon settled back down into their rhythm and began seeking openings themselves. Then, in the 63rd minute, they were rewarded for their efforts via the twinkle toes of Brandon Barzey… the winger had been a threat himself this evening, and his wonderful run down the left-flank was finished with a marvellous curling drive, which left Foulkes no chance before nestling in the bottom corner.

Barzey was unlucky not to have edged the visitors ahead seven minutes later, after being found by Coulson before firing narrowly wide of Foulkes’ upright (70).

The Skipper then came agonisingly close himself after being sent through by Jordan Wynter’s neat pass… but, his strike flew narrowly wide of the post once again (75)!

He tried again with just nine minutes remaining, and this time his fierce drive was spilled by Foulkes. Harvey Bradbury was alert to pounce, but the goalkeeper took him out in what was a definite penalty… only for the Dartford striker to be flagged offside… just (81)!

With the game perfectly poised, both sides went for the winner in what was a frantic end to the game. The visitors just shaded it and created the best opportunity to score the winning goal, after Sam Odaudu’s long throw eventually found Luke Coulson on the edge of the Eastbourne box… but his fierce drive was a tad too high (89).

So, a point-a-piece it was then in an exciting game of football in which, perhaps, a draw was a fair result overall. And, despite dropping down a couple of places in the National League South table, Luke Coulson and Co can be pleased with their performance, as well as the fact that they’ve collected ten points from a possible fifteen.

TEAMS

EASTBOURNE BOROUGH: Harrison Foulkes, Archie Proctor, Dan Quick, Jack Paxman (c), Decarrey Sheriff, Freddie Carter, Fletcher Holman, Leone Gravata, Zak Emmerson, Billy Vigar, Michael Olareweju.

SUBSTITUTES: Ben Dudzinski, Brad Barry, Shiloh Remy, Jay Beckford, Imran Uche.

DARTFORD: Mitchell Beeney, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Baris Altintop, Luke Coulson (c), Paul Rooney, Brandon Barzey, Joash Nembhard, Harvey Bradbury, Moussa Diarra.

SUBSTITUTES: Luke Allen, Alex Wall, Lewis Manor, Maxwell Statham, Archie Woods.

Match Photos Gallery

Chris Palmer