Dartford followed up Saturday’s goalless draw at Bromley FC with a 2-0 victory over National League side Barnet at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park.

Debut goals from Luke Coulson and Davide Rodari secured the win under the floodlights, as both teams played in scorching weather conditions.

It was not surprising that the opening exchanges lacked intensity, especially considering the aforementioned weather conditions. Yet, it was the visitors who started slightly brighter, and Jamar Loza broke free to send a warning shot flashing wide of the Trialist goalkeeper’s far post as early as the third minute.

Five minutes later saw Dale Gorman force the Trialist into a routine save via a well-struck effort from a central position, as the Bees looked to be edging themselves into control.

However, the Darts grew into the game, as Samir Carruthers and Kieran Murtagh began exercising their authority in the midfield. Wingers, Luke Coulson (left) and Marvin Herschel (right), also began to make a nuisance of themselves… a feat that would prove to become an irritation to the Barnet full-backs the longer the game went on. The duo combined impressively after ten minutes in a move that almost sent Davide Rodari through, only for a defender to intervene and clear the danger.

Herschel looked particularly energetic this evening, and the young Academy player forced goalkeeper Aymen Azaze into a good save after sixteen minutes. The goalkeeper was in action again seconds later, as he rushed off his line to prevent Rodari from pulling the trigger.

With conditions bordering on the unbearable, referee Kirsty Dowle, stopped play after 36 minutes for a water break. She’d do the same again after 69 minutes, and the half-time break would be held outside as the players’ health was of paramount importance this evening.

Returning to the action, Jordan Wynter combined well with Coulson, delivering a beautiful pass towards the new signing, who then seeked out Herschel with a dangerous cross. Unfortunately, the Bees’ defence managed to clear the danger before the Dartford youngster could reach it (28).

And, with the hosts in control, the deadlock was finally broken after 37 minutes. Luke Coulson was the scorer, as he finished well from the edge of the Barnet penalty area. Five minutes later saw Azaze lose control of the ball, which gifted Kieran Murtagh a golden opportunity, only for a defender to clear the midfielder’s follow-up off the line somehow!

The visitors responded immediately with a quick forward break, but Michael Phillips could only find the side-netting at the end of what was a somewhat lacklustre first-half display from the Bees.

Manager, Alan Dowson, swapped the Trialist goalkeeper with Dan Wilks for the start of the second forty-five. And, the Dartford number one was called into action soon after the restart, after a miscommunication between himself and Wynter almost allowed the visitors back into the game (48).

Barnet looked more composed during the opening exchanges, and Sean Shields had a couple of good opportunities to level the score. However, he first sent a curling drive just wide of Wilks’ upright (51), before forcing the goalkeeper into a good save (53).

As the Darts began to reassert their authority on proceedings, they were awarded a free-kick after Murtagh was fouled 30-yards from goal. Luke Coulson stepped up to take the set-piece, and could only watch as his delightful effort thumped back off of the Barnet crossbar (58)!

Not to worry though, because Azaze was feeling rather generous this evening, and played a poor pass into the path of Davide Rodari. And, Dartford’s other recent new signing made no mistake to double his side’s lead after 61 minutes.

Soon afterwards, Charlie Sheringham left the field to be replaced by Sam Oduado in what was the second of four substitutions for the Darts this evening. The others came during the final ten minutes, as youngsters Jayden Boulton and Ali Mansaray replaced Maxwell Statham and Luke Coulson respectively.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Kristian Campbell found Oduado who then combined well with Herschel to split open the Barnet defence. Unfortunately, only desperate defending prevented Herschel from getting on the scoresheet after delivering a performance which earned him a deserved Man of The Match award.

The final effort of the game came from Herschel’s more senior teammate, Campbell in the 77th minute. The left-sided defender tried his luck with a delicious effort from the edge of Barnet’s box, only to see Azaze make the save.

All in all, another strong performance from the Darts saw a combination of regular senior players gel well together with promising young talent to brush aside a National League side in front of just over 300 supporters, who were brave enough to face the heat.


DARTFORD: Trialist, Jordan Wynter, Kristian Campbell, Samir Carruthers, Connor Essam ©, Luke Coulson, Kieran Murtagh, Davide Rodari, Maxwell Statham, Marvin Herschel, Charlie Sheringham.

SUBSTITUTES: Sam Oduado, Dan Roberts, Trialist, Cameron Brodie, Theo McKenzie, Jayden Boulton, Ali Mansaray, Jimmy Shepherd, Dan Wilks, Luke Allen, Andre Thompson Fearon.

BARNET: Aymen Azaze, Ben Wynter, Danny Collinge, Trialist, Trialist, Michael Phillips, Dale Gorman, Connor Smith, Sean Shields, Ephron Mason-Clark, Jamar Loza.

SUBSTITUTES: Laurie Walker, Jordan Thomas, Moussa Diarra, Sam Beard, Ryan D-Havilland, Rob Hall, Nicke Kabama.

By Chris Palmer