Upcoming MatchSevenoaks Town vs Dartford/July 13, 2024/Greatness Park

MATCH REPORT | LSC | CRAY WANDERERS 1 DARTFORD 2

Dartford secured a place in the London Senior Cup Semi-Finals, as they came from behind to beat a stubborn Cray Wanderers side at Hayes Lane, Bromley.

Adrian Pennock made numerous changes to his side for this cup tie, and it was encouraging to see Sam Odaudu return to the team after a lengthy spell on the treatment table, albeit as a substitute.

Yet it was the hosts who took an early lead, after Charlie Paye and Josh Hallard combined well to set up Nyren Clunis, who duly took his opportunity well to beat Tom Wray in the 2nd minute.

The visitors responded well, with Jordan Greenidge’s 5th minute run into the box thwarted by an excellent challenge by Alfie Evans.

The Darts dominated the ball for a majority of the first-half, as they searched for an equaliser. Taylor Maloney was next to test the Wanderers’ defence with a free-kick, which flew narrowly wide of Shaun Rowley’s upright (7).

Jordan Greenidge was certainly in the mood on this cold evening, and soon forced a good save out of Rowley with a fierce strike (21). He went one better eight minutes later, as he fended off the advances of a Wanderers’ defender, before smashing home the equaliser and his first goal since signing for the Darts (29).

The visitors were good value for the goal, as the Isthmian Premier League hosts struggled to deal with the pacey wide duo of Fumnaya Shomotun and Olly Box. And it was the former who was next to come close, as he saw his curling drive beaten away by Rowley (33).

Yet despite their dominance, Dartford were still prone to the odd counter-attack, and only the alertness of Tom Wray (who’d had very little to do so far) prevented Nyren Clunis from firing in a second goal for the hosts (38).

As the rain lashed down onto the pitch, the start of the second forty-five saw Adrian Pennock swap Olly Box with Sam Odaudu. The Dartford boss would go on to use four of his available five substitutions this evening, and made a triple swap in the 82nd minute, when Taylor Maloney, Harrison Sodje, and Finley Sillince made way for Jack Smith, Luke Allen, and Luke Coulson respectively.

Meanwhile, Neil Smith in the opposite dugout would use all five available substitutions, the first of which took place in the 50th minute when Josh Hallard was replaced by Tom Beere. That would be followed by Archie Johnson replacing Anthony Cook (66), George Brooke replacing Nyren Clunis (67), before Frankie Raymond and Sam Wood were replaced by Cameron McQueen-Hinkley and Reggie Rye respectively (76).

As we return to the action at the start of the second-half, only an excellent interception by Sam Odaudu prevented Nyren Clunis from testing Tom Wray once again (55), before Taylor Maloney tried his luck from distance at the other end, only for the ball to sail narrowly wide of the post (61).

Emmanuel Kwatchey then combined well with George Brooke, enabling the latter to send a 25-yard drive towards goal, which Tom Wray collected with ease (70).

The visitors then came agonisingly close to taking the lead, when Sam Odaudu combined well with Finley Sillince, enabling the Dartford number 27 to find space inside the Cray box, only to see his fierce strike cannon back off the underside of Shaun Rowley’s crossbar (81)!

With time running out and the lottery of a penalty shootout looming not too far away, both sides tried to snatch that vital winning goal during the closing stages. First, the hosts went long as Shaun Rowley found George Brooke, who then saw his effort saved well by Tom Wray (87), before Fumnaya Shomotun’s inch-perfect cross was somehow headed narrowly wide by Jordan Greenidge (88).

However, as the game entered stoppage time, a Dartford corner looked to have found the head of Luke Allen, only for Emmanuel Kwatchey’s desperate attempts to clear it inadvertently bundle the ball over the line to complete the visitors’ comeback (90).

And, so the Darts go through to the Semi-Finals of the London Senior Cup, where they’ll face Hendon.

TEAMS

CRAY WANDERERS: Shaun Rowley, Emmanuel Kwatchey, Charlie Paye, Tom Bonner, Sam Wood, Josh Hallard, Alfie Evans, Frankie Raymond (c), Anthony Cook, Nyren Clunis, Gary Lockyer.

SUBSTITUTES: Cameron McQueen-Hinkley, George Brooke, Tom Beere, Archie Johnson, Reggie Rye.

DARTFORD: Tom Wray, George Whitefield,, Ronny Nelson, Joash Nembhard (c), Jayden Boulton, Harrison Sodje, Taylor Maloney, Finley Sillince, Fumnaya Shomotun, Olly Box, Jordan Greenidge.

SUBSTITUTES: Rhys Byrne, Sam Odaudu, Jack Smith, Luke Coulson, Luke Allen.

Chris Palmer