The Darts headed into the Bank Holiday match on a high after a successful win against Hungerford Town on Saturday, but the celebrations were short lived after a strong Hampton & Richmond Borough side saw the Darts get beaten 4-1 away at the Beveree Stadium.
Tony Burman changed his starting eleven from the Saturday, seeing Tom Bonner return to the squad after his one match ban with Ellis Brown taking a place on the bench. Elliot Bradbrook and Andy Pugh also started the match on the bench, with Ronnie Vint unavailable for selection due to the Referee ruling him out due to the cast on his broken wrist.
Richard Seixas and Micheal Habte were also left out of the squad having travelled with the first team once again. Both are products of the Dartford FC Academy.
Hampton & Richmond got off to a good start, with most of the possession being kept well within their attacking half, and they fired a number of shots at Deren Ibrahim who pulled off some impressive saves to deny the lead within the opening four minutes. Alex Brown and Lee Noble worked well together to try and break down the attacking side, however on the 8th minute Christian Jolley opened the scoring with a shot that beat Ibrahim and hit the back of the net.
The game restarted after a short stop in play for the Hampton & Richmond physio to assess a head injury that Jolley sustained as he took his shot, but The Darts couldn’t seem to gain control and take the possession back into our own half.
Danny Harris managed to break down the defence of Hampton and grabbed back the equaliser not long after the restart, and things started to improve for Dartford.
Luke Wanadio made a number of good runs down the wing, and managed to cross to Duane Ofori-Acheampong who went for a shot on goal which Hampton forced into a Darts corner. Wanadio stepped in to take, and Alex Brown received the ball well and took his chance, however it wasn’t meant to be as the shot was saved easily.
An early substitution for The Beavers saw Christian Jolley being replaced by Leon Solomon just before a Hampton corner, which Harris cleared away to Wanadio who went on the attack for the Hampton defence to force another Dartford corner. Ryan Hayes crossed in and Tom Wynter went up for the ball and just missed his opportunity to head the ball into the net.
Another stop in play and a Hampton free kick was given after Tom Bonner was cautioned for pulling his player, saw The Beavers take the lead once again when Michael Kamara fired home making the score 2-1.
Keaton Wood and Wynter worked hard to clear any more opportunities for The Beavers and after another stop in play this time for Ofori-Acheampong pulling their players shirt, another free kick was given.
Hampton took control once again, and an own goal from Bonner ensured that Hampton would head into the half time with the 3-1 lead. A late first half substitution saw an injured Noble make way for Elliot Bradbrook, and the team headed back into the changing rooms looking very deflated.
The second half started with Dartford working very hard to break down their defence once again and create some chances for themselves, but the afternoon seemed to have been marked for The Darts, and a majority of the chances fell to Hampton.
Michael Kamara went on to get his second goal of the afternoon, making the score 4-1 not long after the start of the second half.
Burman decided at this point to take off Hayes and replace him with Pugh. Dartford pressed their opponents to try and gain back any chance of taking the lead, but it wasn’t meant to be, and thankfully the fifth goal for Hampton was disallowed as being offside.
A couple of chances fell to Ofori-Acheampong and Harris once again, but neither managed to find the back of the net, and Tony Burman made his final substitution of the match taking off Harris who was replaced by Ellis Brown.
Wanadio continued to work hard and crossed in to Ofori-Acheampong, but unfortunately the afternoon ended in defeat, with the final score being 4-1 to The Beavers.
Tony Burman said after the match “This weekend typifies the highs and lows of football, and in the previous 6 games I felt we have looked very well organised and deserved something from each of our games. Yesterday’s result although against an on form team was very disappointing. The two goals that involved Deren over the weekend can only be described as bizarre, and one went for us and one against us. Our defending throughout the game yesterday was very below par, and there were some poor individual performances which affected our organisation. We were second best all over the park and the better side won the game. I didn’t think we deserved anything from the performance. However we move onto Saturday where I hope we can get back on track against the league leaders.”
Hampton & Richmond Borough FC: Aaron Howe, Michael Kamara, Josh Casey, Kieran Murphy (C), Jay Gasson, Nathan Collier, Brendan Kiernan, Harold Odametey, Nicke Kabamba, Jamal Lowe, Christian Jolley
Subs: Joe Hicks, Billy Bishop, Tom Jelley, Manny Williams, Leon Solomon
Dartford FC: Deren Ibrahim, Tom Gardiner, Tom Wynter, Tom Bonner (C),Keaton Wood, Alex Brown, Ryan Hayes, Lee Noble, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Danny Harris, Luke Wanadio
Subs: Ellis Brown, Kaka Dembele, Elliot Bradbrook, Andy Pugh, Ben Francis