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Dartford 3
0 Tonbridge Angels
Jared Small against Dartford in  3-0 loss National South 28.12.19.

Angels felled by Darts

The Angels were brushed aside by a superior Dartford side in today’s (Saturday 28th December) Kent Derby at Princes Park.  The visitors were no match for their hosts and in a one sided first half the only surprise was that they managed to reach half time just the one goal adrift. 

With Ben Greenhalgh ineligible to play against his parent club, Dartford, it meant a start for Harry Donovan and although he was wearing the no 10 shirt his natural position is more of a central midfielder. It’s symptomatic of the shortages Steve McKimm is having to deal with. 

With a central midfield that struggled to impose itself on the game it was always going to be something of a struggle for the Angels and Dartford were in no mood to show festive generosity so the visitors at least in the 1st half were subject to an almost continuous series of Dartford raids on their goal. 

The first 25 minutes saw a portfolio of chances for the Darts with a combination of poor finishing, goal line clearances and brave defensive blocks and in one instance the Tonbridge woodwork that kept the score goalless.  That  25 minutes on the clock was significant if only because it took that long for the Angels to mount their first serious attack with Harry Donovan combining with Jared Small who then fed James Folkes on the right flank but his cross was wasted sailing over the crossbar for a goal kick. It was that sort of afternoon for the Angels.

Two minutes later Angels were behind when another trademark Dartford attack left Jonny Henly isolated and although he blocked the first attempt he was powerless to stop Darren McQueen striking the rebound with deadly accuracy to put his side one up. 

There was a rare flurry from Tonbridge as the first half came to an end. The first shot on target came from Small on 40 minutes but was easy for Alhaji Sesay in the Dartford goal. Five minutes later Folkes this time did get a decent cross at which Sesay flapped with the ball eventually falling to D’Sean Theobalds. The midfielder was fouled on the edge of the area with his resultant free kick well delivered into the area and providing a free header for Alex Bentley but it was straight at Sesay.

Following the half time conversation with their manager the first 20 minutes did see an improvement from the visitors. There were two chances for Small and another for Joe Turner and at least the team in blue was starting to get more possession, but on 68 minutes it was arguably all over. Elliott Romayne picked up the ball just inside the Tonbridge area and whilst he was certainly allowed far too much room the striker moved with purpose and let fly from about 25 yards comprehensively beating Henly and doubling the Dartford advantage. 

A confusing incident in the home penalty area occurred in the 86th minute when play was stopped with referee Philip Staynings showing a straight red card to Dartford defender Josh Hill for violent conduct but no penalty awarded to Tonbridge. It transpired that a Tonbridge player had committed a foul seconds earlier and that was the first offence in that passage of play so merely a free kick to Dartford. 

And so the match came to its inevitable conclusion but not before Dartford added a deserved third to their tally of goals through substitute Charlie Sheringham in stoppage time. 

Afterwards a frustrated Angels Boss, Steve McKimm said: “My players today let themselves down, let the club down, and let the fans down. This was a Christmas Kent Derby, where was the passion, where was the intensity I didn’t see it apart from perhaps the first 20 minutes of the second half. Yes we have a small squad which with injuries makes things difficult but I expected far more from the team I put out this afternoon.”

Published Saturday 28th December 2019 (last updated Friday 3rd January 2020)