16 December 2023. Dartford lose 4:0 at Tonbridge Angels (Jordan Greenidge 22', 78', Lewis Gard 25', Mohammad Dabre 34').
Dartford suffered an afternoon to forget at the Longmead Stadium, as Tonbridge Angels brushed them aside with ease.
The early warning signs were there for all to see, when former Dartford defender Jernade Meade fired narrowly over the crossbar in the fifth minute. That was soon followed by narrow misses by Sean Shields (6) and Jordan Greenidge (12), as the hosts threatened to run riot on this cold December afternoon. Dartford did force a couple of corners in the opening fifteen minutes, but both were dealt with confidently by Jonathan Henly’s defence. A brilliant move and cross by Jamie Fielding was almost converted by Greenidge, but the former Dartford striker smacked the far post with his strike (16). However, it wasn’t long before Greenidge was finally rewarded with the opening goal… Sean Shields’ corner wasn’t dealt with, and Greenidge broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute. The visitors tried to respond, but their efforts were in vain, and the Angels swiftly doubled their lead three minutes later. A counter-attack undid the Darts, as Shields combined with Muhammad Dabre, who subsequently found Lewis Gard with a neat pass. Gard then found the back of the net to double the Angels’ lead (25). Two then became three, as the hosts capitalised on poor defending by the Darts, enabling Dabre to score a deserved third goal within eleven first-half minutes (33). Only the alertness of goalkeeper Ryan Sandford kept the score at three, as he managed to prevent Tariq Hinds’ curling drive from flying into the top corner (37), as the visitors were left with a mountain to climb. As the half drew to a close, the Angels were forced to swap Tom Parkinson for the injured Jamie Fielding (43). They’d go on to also change Lewis Gard with Ansu Janneh (81), before Francis Mampolo replaced Mihammad Dabre late on.
Alan Dowson, meanwhile, made a double substitution at the start of the second-half. Sam Odaudu and Luke Allen being replaced by Baris Altintop and Tyrell Miller-Rodney respectively. The Dartford boss than swapped Paul Rooney for Harvey Bradbury after 62 minutes. The Darts looked a little more solid during the opening exchanges of the second forty-five, but the Angels were quite content with just controlling the game.
Jernade Meade was booked for an extremely late challenge on Richard Chin (58), before the visitors created their best opportunity of the game so far after the 65th minute… Good work by Rooney saw him release Miller-Rodney inside the Tonbridge box. But, under pressure from a defender, the Dartford number five could only fire into the side-netting.
The hosts went on to add a fourth goal in the 77th minute, when Greenidge headed home his second goal of the afternoon after getting onto the end of Scott Wagstaff’s cross. The Darts came close to a consolation goal when Baris Altintop got on the end of an Archie Woods cross, but his header smacked back off of Jonathan Henly’s upright (87) in what was a poor afternoon for Alan Dowson’s side.
The manager will most certainly be looking for a positive response from his players, as they dust themselves down and go again next weekend.
TONBRIDGE ANGELS: Jonathan Henly, Jamie Fielding, Lewis Gard, Jordan Higgs, Tariq Hinds, Mohammad Dabre, Ethan Sutcliffe, Jordan Greenidge, Jernade Meade, Scott Wagstaff (c), Sean Shields.
SUBSTITUTES: Tom Parkinson, Francis Mampolo, Obed Yeboah, Nathaniel Gibb, Ansu Janneh.
DARTFORD: Ryan Sandford, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Luke Allen, Maxwell Statham, Archie Woods, George Alexander, Joash Nembhard, Harvey Bradbury, Richard Chin, Moussa Diarra.
SUBSTITUTES: Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Baris Altintop, Alex Wall, Paul Rooney Lewis Manor.
Referee: Lisa Benn.
Assists: Andrew Tregoning, David Spain
Match report: Chris Palmer
(c) SportShotz Photography