FARNBOROUGH 3 DARTFORD 1
Dartford’s excellent form came to an end, after an in-form Farnborough scored three goals in an exciting game at the Easy As HGV Stadium in Hampshire.
Before the action, however, a 2-minutes silence was amicably respected by the 712 supporters at Cherrywood Road in honour of those who had made the ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and peace.
The respect continued as we reached the seventh minute, as a minute’s applause took place in honour of Bath City’s Alex Fletcher. The player had suffered a horrific injury during Bath’s mid-week game, and the united love and support showed to Bath’s number seven has been felt across the league.
As we turn to the action, it was a rather even affair during the opening exchanges and Dartford actually created the first meaningful opportunity. A good move in the middle saw space open up for Samir Carruthers, but he couldn’t keep his strike from distance down unfortunately (5).
However, the hosts soon began to gain a firm grip on the game and their high press started to cause problems for the Darts. And, it wasn’t long before Farnborough edged in front… A seemingly harmless ball was excellently intercepted by Jonathon Page’s delightful flick, which found the head of Sam Deering. His header released Hisham Kasimu, who out-muscled Jordan Wynter before tucking the ball beyond Joe Young (19).
Dartford tried to respond, winning a corner and a free-kick within minutes, but neither came to fruition before they found themselves 2-0 down. The goal coming in the 28th minute via the alert Page, who managed to find the target during a goal-mouth scramble after the visitors had failed to clear the initial corner.
Once again, the Darts tried to respond but were unable to convert the corner a minute later as the Farnborough defence remained strong. Their midfield and attack, however, were punishing any mistake made by the visitors, as they began to dominate.
To be honest, Alan Dowson’s side were fortunate to only trail by two goals at the break, as Farnborough threatened to over-run their opponents. They came close once again after 32 minutes, when Wynter’s poor back-pass left Joe Young in no-man’s land. Thankfully, the ball flew just wide of the far post, and Dartford breathed a sigh of relief.
Maxwell Statham then stepped up to make a superb goal-line clearance (34), before Connor Essam earned himself a yellow card for a late challenge with eight minutes of the half remaining.
Clearly unhappy with his side’s first-half display, Alan Dowson’s made an immediate double change at the start of the second-half. Kristian Campbell and Davide Rodari came on to replace Keiran Murtagh and Charlie Sheringham, as the visitors looked to get themselves back in the game.
Dartford started this half better and came close in the 49th minute, after a driving run by Jack Smith saw him try to find Rodari with a great ball… only for the hosts to intercept it!
Two minutes later saw Farnborough in action at the other end, where they came close to extending their lead twice within a few minutes… the latter of which saw Kevin Lokko’s flicked header fly narrowly wide of Young’s upright (51).
The Darts did eventually pull themselves back into the game after a good strike by Smith had forced a corner. Luke Coulson whipped the ball into the box and Campbell got on the end of it to bury an excellent header beyond goalkeeper Jack Turner in the 65th minute.
The hosts responded and won a free-kick in a dangerous position after Rodari had committed the foul. The Dartford player was booked by referee Mr Dale Wootton, and Olly Pendleberry restored his side’s two-goal advantage with a delightful free-kick which left Joe Young with no chance (70).
Alan Dowson then threw on Alex Wall to replace Jordan Wynter (72) in the hope of trying to salvage something from the game, but it wasn’t to be. The closest they came was when Pierre Fonkeu was fouled on the edge of the Farnborough box in the 85th minute. Substitute Wall took the free-kick, but the Farnborough defensive wall held firm as the hosts saw out the game.
The result sees Dartford’s 11-game unbeaten run in the league come to an end. They remain in second place in the National League South table, but results elsewhere sees the challenge for promotion remain ultra competitive.
FARNBOROUGH: Jack Turner, Jack Ball, Ollie Robinson, Kevin Lokko (c), Sam Deering, Olly Pendleberry, Reggie Young, Hisham Kasimu, Jonathon Page, Selim Saied, Jordan Norville-Williams.
SUBSTITUTES: Freddie Grant, CJ Fearn, Shae Hutchinson, Michael Fernandes, Omar Rowe.
DARTFORD: Joe Young, Jordan Wynter, Samir Carruthers, Connor Essam (c), Luke Coulson, Keiran Murtagh, Maxwell Statham, Jack Smith, Pierre Fonkeu, Charlie Sheringham, Sam Odaudu.
SUBSTITUTES: Kristian Campbell, Alex Wall, Davide Rodari, Tom Wray, Josh Johnson.
By Chris Palmer