Created 14-Feb-24
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13 February 2024. Late KO as Chippenham were delayed by accident on M25. Dartford 0 Chippenham Town 1 (Craig Fasanmade 52').

Dartford’s start to 2024 showed little sign of improvement, as Craig Fasanmade’s second-half strike condemned them to another defeat to maintain the pressure on interim manager Tony Burman. The National League South table doesn’t offer easy reading for the Dartford faithful at the moment. However, there was reason for optimism before tonight’s game, especially after the second-half performance at Bath City at the weekend. Sadly, Chippenham Town had other ideas… Referee Mr Harrison Blair got proceedings underway after a fifteen minute delay as the visitors were stuck in traffic on the M25.

The first forty-five saw the visitors be the first to test a goalkeeper, although Jake Evans’ 2nd minute effort could hardly be referred to a test for Billy Terrell, as he collected with ease. The Darts, meanwhile, created the best chance of the half when Luke Coulson and Elliott Romain combined well to create space for the skipper to strike at goal. But, like his fellow shot-stopper at the other end, this was a routine save for Will Henry (13). Two minutes later saw the hosts wondering how on earth they weren’t a goal to the good! An excellent attack resulted in several goal-scoring opportunities present themselves from close range within a matter of seconds. Yet, the Bluebirds were resolute in defence, throwing bodies on the line to block them all and keep the score deadlocked. Dartford looked dominant during these exchanges and perhaps should have taken the lead in the 18th minute… if only Paul Rooney could have kept his header down. Meanwhile, at the other end, only a Joash Nembhard intervention prevented Matt McClure’s left-footed strike from giving the Bluebirds the lead (24). Unfortunately, the 29th minute saw Tommy Block leave the field with an injury. His replacement was Maxwell Statham, and it wouldn’t be the first enforced change in personnel for the hosts this evening. Sam Odaudu would have to go off as a precaution after pulling up once before, his replacement was Taylor Maloney (78). The other substitution for Tony Burman occurred in the 61st minute, when Olly Box came on for Alex Wall. There was very little in terms of goal-mouth opportunities during the remainder of the first-half, as things went a little quiet. Except for a matter involving Alex Wall who was clearly being pulled back by Dan Ellison in the 37th minute, everyone was astounded that Mr Harrison Blair and his assistant were completely oblivious to the foul play… such is the striker’s (and Dartford’s) luck these days!

Despite a relatively bright start to the second forty-five, the Darts soon found themselves behind in the 52nd minute. As the hosts pushed up, the Dartford defence wasn’t alert enough to the timely run of Craig Fasanmade on the Chippenham left-flank. He was through and then able to send his strike over the rushing-out Billy Terrell to edge the visitors ahead. The Bluebirds’ tails were up now, and only an excellent header by Maxwell Statham prevented Tom Mehew’s strike from flying into the top corner (60). Four minutes later saw the visitors make their first change in personnel, as Matt McClure was replaced by Caine Bradbury (64). That was followed by a double swap in the 75th minute, when Jem Hewlett and Ed Williams came on for Aaron Amadi-Holloway and Jake Evans respectively. It took until the 70th minute for Dartford to create another opportunity, such was the confidence of the visitors when in possession. The effort came from Luke Coulson, who’s low drive forced Will Henry into a good save. Youngster Olly Box was next to test the goalkeeper with a neat strike (81), but Henry and his teammates weren’t going to be denied this evening. They went on to control the rest of the game to ensure that they returned to Wiltshire with all three points. Fumnaya Shomotun put in another good performance, with his pacey runs on the right-flank causing problems for the visitors’ defence. His exploits earned him the Man of The Match award. Hopefully, a first goal will come soon, as well as that oh so vital victory.

DARTFORD: Billy Terrell, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Tommy Block, Jack Smith, Luke Coulson (c), Alex Wall, Paul Rooney, Elliott Romain, Fumnaya Shomotun, Joash Nembhard.
SUBSTITUTES: Maxwell Statham, Tom Wray, Manny Adebowale, Taylor Maloney, Olly Box.
CHIPPENHAM TOWN: Will Henry, Eddie Jones, Freddie Grant, Craig Fasanmade, Aaron Amadi-Holloway, Jake Evans, Matt McClure (c), Tom Mehew, Dan Ellison, Nat Williams, Will King.
SUBSTITUTES: Jem Hewlett, Tom Owen Evans, Luke Spokes, Caine Bradbury, Ed Williams.

Referee: Harrison Blair
Assists: Joseph Dann-Pye, Steven Goldup.
Att: 719
MoTM: Fumnaya Shomotun
Report by Chris Palmer

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