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Created 1-Feb-23
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31 January 2023. Dartford win 2:0 (Kieran Murtagh 66', Pierre Fonkeu 90+5) and progress to the third round of the London Senior Cup, after they eventually saw off a stubborn Metropolitan Police side. The previous two dates for this encounter were disrupted due to the weather, both sides would have been relieved that the fixture finally went ahead. And, 142 supporters braved another cold night, as the Darts hosted their Isthmian Premier League South opponents.

Darts Manager, Alan Dowson, took advantage of this fixture to give a few regulars a rest gave a few academy starlets an opportunity to shine, and he surely wasn’t disappointed with the performance levels on the pitch in what started out as a rather cagey affair. It was the hosts who registered the first shot on target of the evening in the 13th minute. Young Jayden Boulton was the player to be rewarded with that statistic, after his lively start eventually got the better of the Met’s left-back Alex Fisher. After beating the defender, Boulton then sent a low strike towards the bottom corner, only to see goalkeeper Liam Beach make a comfortable save at his near post.
Arguably, however, the two best opportunities of the first forty-five fell to the visitors, as they grew in confidence the longer the half went on. Shortly after being warned by that Boulton effort, the visitors ventured forward with pace and a terrific pass sent Martell Taylor-Crossdale through on goal. Virtually one-on-one with goalkeeper Tom Wray, the attacker decided to strike across the Dartford number thirteen, only to see his effort strike the far post instead (16). After another relatively quiet period, it was the visitors who threatened again with another dangerous attack. This time it was Skyler Burrowes who collected the ball just inside the Dartford box. However, he couldn’t keep his 34th minute curling effort down. He’d get another opportunity five minutes later though, only on that occasion he fired straight into the grateful arms of Wray. Dartford came close once more in a half with very few opportunities, and it was Charlie Sheringham who had it with just three minutes remaining. Feeling confident, the striker pulled the trigger on a delightful long-range drive, which Beach managed to push narrowly over his crossbar. However the referee, Mr Jammal Home, gave a goal-kick instead! The Darts’ immediate press forced a corner merely seconds later to the sounds of ironic cheers from the Dartford faithful, whereby Luke Allen sent a dangerous cross into the Met box. The ball found George Whitefield, but the youngster’s 43rd minute effort was saved by Beach. Having already swapped Conor Lee for Fabio Sole in the 31st minute, the visitors made a second change in personnel at the beginning of the second-half. Bernard Tanner was the player to leave the field this time, to be replaced by Harry Taylor. Their final substitutions would arrive in the 80th minute, with Skyler Burrowes and Louis Begand being swapped for Igor De Olivera-Souza and Luke Robertson.

Alan Dowson’s first changes in personnel took place in the 64th minute, when Kristian Campbell and Ollie Box replaced Jude Russell and Jayden Boulton. They were then followed by Alex Wall on for Charlie Sheringham (71) and Archie Panyi on for Luke Allen (79). Returning to the action, the opening exchanges mirrored those of the first-half, as neither side created much in the way of meaningful opportunities. However, a great run by Jayden Boulton was stopped in its tracks by a late challenge by Jasper Mather in the 59th minute. Unfortunately, Luke Allen’s free-kick was eventually dealt with by the stubborn Met Police defence. Luke Allen got another opportunity to create something worthwhile from a free-kick seven minutes later. And, this time the Darts edged themselves in front after Keiran Murtagh got on the end of Allen’s ball to put it beyond Liam Beach (66).
The hosts came close once again, after great work from Alex Wall forced a good save out of Liam Beach (77), as Dartford’s superior fitness levels began to show during the latter stages of the game. However, the Met didn’t give up and came extremely close to equalising in the 89th minute when a swerving long-range drive almost caught out Tom Wray. The young goalkeeper managed to palm the ball over his crossbar, before comfortably smothering the follow-up from the resulting corner. Despite their efforts though, the visitors weren’t able to capitalise and deep into stoppage time conceded a second goal. As the Darts pressed forward in numbers, the Met failed to clear the danger and Pierre Fonkeu was on hand to put the game to bed with virtually the last kick of the game from close-range (90+5).
The result sees Dartford go into the hat for the third round of the London Senior Cup after this tie was finally completed at the third time of asking.
DARTFORD: Tom Wray, Jude Russell, Sam Archibald, Luke Allen Keiran Murtagh, Jamar Loza, Pierre Fonkeu, Jayden Boulton Charlie Sheringham (c), George Whitefield, Jernade Meade.
SUBSTITUTES: Dan Wilks, Kristian Campbell, Alex Wall, Archie Panyi, Ollie Box.
MET. POLICE: Liam Beach, Kyron Richards, Alex Fisher, Laurence Ernest, Bernard Tanner, Louis Birok (c), Conor Lee, Skyler Burrowes, Martell Taylor-Crossdale, Jasper Mather, Louis Begand.
SUBSTITUTES: Herson Rodrigues-Alves, Igor De Olivera-Souza, Fabio Sole, Luke Robertson, Harry Taylor.
Report by Chris Palmer
Att: 142
Referee: Jammal Home, Assists: Richard Myers, Maros Valko.

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