Created 10-Mar-24
125 photos, 1 videos

Dartford’s miserable run of results continued, as Torquay United scored three goals in six second-half minutes to send the visitors crashing to an eighteenth league defeat of the season at Plainmoor.

If new manager Adrian Pennock wasn’t aware of the enormity of the task ahead of him before today’s game, then he certainly was come 5pm on this cold and wet afternoon in front of 2,438 supporters. Yet things could have been a lot different for the new boss, after he’d witnessed an excellent performance from his Dartford team during the first-half. Unfortunately, those defensive frailties were exploited by the hosts during a rampant second-half, which now leaves the Darts just a point clear from safety. The visitors started the game well and, perhaps, should have been ahead as early as the third minute, only the post denying Fumnaya Shomotun a third goal in as many games. Seven minutes later saw new signing Jordan Greenidge drag his shot narrowly wide of Mark Halstead’s post, after being set-up perfectly by the lively Ibby Akanbi (10). That was soon followed by a poor back-pass by a Torquay defender, which released Luke Coulson, only for the skipper to see his strike saved by Halstead… Akanbi was quickest to the loose ball, but an equally alert Ollie Tomlinson managed to block the Dartford striker’s follow-up (19)! Bradley Ash registered the first effort on target for The Gulls in the 24th minute, but his rather tame effort was easily gathered by Billy Terrell. That was soon followed by duo Jack Stobbs and Brett McGavin combining well to breach the Dartford defence, only for the latter’s fierce drive sail narrowly wide of the upright on the thirty-minute mark. Such was Dartford’s high press during this first-half, that they were forcing many errors from the hosts. And another was made in the 34th minute, when another poor back-pass released Greenidge… but he could only fire into the side-netting while fending off a defender at the same time. Ibby Akanbi saw another effort blocked by Tomlinson again (37), before Ash forced a superb save out of Terrell towards the end of the half (45).

For all their hard work, however, the Darts found themselves behind almost immediately after the restart after Aaron Jarvis was fouled inside the area. The referee, Mr Jonathan Maskrey, pointed to the spot and Jarvis duly smashed Torquay into a 48th-minute lead. Worse was to come though, as Stobbs lead a swift attack by finding Lewis Collins on the right-flank, who then whipped a cross into the box. The Dartford defence was found wanting, leaving Arkell Jude-Boyd with time and space to double The Gulls’ advantage with just 50 minutes on the clock. Two minutes later saw two become three, after Terrell had managed to save Jarvis’ initial strike, only for Ash to finish off the rebound from close range (52). Recognising that his players were in turmoil as the rain lashed down onto the pitch now, Adrian Pennock wasted no time in replacing Tyrell Miller-Rodney and Fumnaya Shomotun with Luke Allen and Brandon Barzey in the 60thminute. That would be followed by Maxwell Statham coming on late on to replace the hard working Tommy Block (86). The hosts would also use all three available substitutions as well, with Tom Lapslie replacing Kevin Dawson (60), before the double change of Aaron Jarvis and Brett McGavin making way for Duane Ofori-Acheampong and Will Jenkins Davies respectively (77). As we return to the action, we see substitute Barzey force a good save out of Halstead in the 67th minute, as the visitors look to get themselves back into the contest. They were rewarded three minutes later when Ibby Akanbi got the better of Ollie Tomlinson to pull a goal back with his first goal for the Darts (70). Sadly, that proved to only be a consolation goal though, as Ofori-Acheampong netted a fourth goal with two minutes remaining to secure the victory for the rampant Gulls (88).

TORQUAY UNITED: Mark Halstead, Arkell Jude-Boyd, Austen Booth, Aaron Jarvis, Lewis Collins, Bradley Ash, Brett McGavin, Dean Moxey (c), Ollie Tomlinson, Jack Stobbs, Kevin Dawson.
SUBSTITUTES: Ronny Nelson, Tom Lapslie, Will Jenkins Davies, Duane Ofori-Acheampong, Rhys Lovett.
DARTFORD: Billy Terrell, Tommy Block, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Jack Smith, Luke Coulson (c), Ibby Akanbi, Manny Adebowale, Fumnaya Shomotun, Joash Nembhard, Jordan Greenidge, Tom Clifford.
SUBSTITUTES: Tom Wray, Maxwell Statham, Luke Allen, Brandon Barzey, Elliott Romain.

Referee: Jonathan Maskrey.
Assists: Elliott Haddress, Adam Mcanoy.
Att: 2,438
Match report: Chris Palmer
9 March 2024. Torquay 4 (Ash 48, 52', Jude-Boyd 50', Ofori-Acheampong 87'), Dartford 1 (Ibby Akanabi 70').

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