7 November 2023. Dartford 1 (Maxwell Statham 23') Chelmsford City 2 (Samir Carruthers 45', Charlie Ruff 54').
Remembrance Day was observed at this match, with Dave Adkins laying a wreath on the centre circle while the 2 minutes silence was observed.
Dartford fell to a third defeat in three games, as Chelmsford City came from behind to snatch all three points at Bericote Powerhouse Princes Park. Having grown into the game slowly the visitors came closest to opening the scoring first via Jermaine Francis, who’d got onto Zech Obiero’s neat pass only to see Maxwell Statham clear the ball off the Dartford line in the 12th minute. The Darts responded to the threat well and, as Tyrell Miller-Rodney stole the ball off of Cameron James to feed Lewis Manor with a great pass, the latter failed to find the target with his strike from a good position (17). Dartford didn’t have long to rue that miss, though, as another opportunity presented itself when Finley Barbrook fouled Lewis Manor in a dangerous position. Luke Coulson sent the free-kick into the Chelmsford box, and Maxwell Statham was on hand to slot the ball beyond Josh Oluwayemi to give the hosts a deserved lead (23). Maxwell Statham had another opportunity to double the lead for Dartford, after Coulson and Joash Nembhard combined to create the chance initially, but the Dartford number twelve couldn’t quite convert it on this occasion (31). Paul Rooney then forced Oluwayemi into a routine save in the 36th minute, before heading wide of the post two minutes later, as the hosts looked to double their advantage. But, Chelmsford soon began to create opportunities themselves… First Zech Obiero’s driving run ended with the Claret forcing Mitchell Beeney into a good save (40), before Freddie Hockey did the same thing after being released by former Dartford player Samir Carruthers (43). The Clarets’ pressure was soon rewarded on the stroke of half-time, when a ball into the box was inadvertently handled by Joash Nembhard. The Dartford defender was booked, and Carruthers levelled the score from the penalty spot (45).
The second forty-five exploded into life as both sides searched to edge themselves in front. First Lewis Manor sent a header straight into the arms of Oluwayemi (46), before Hockey forced Mitchell Beeney into a save at the other end (47). The Dartford goalkeeper then thwarted Henry Ochieng (51) and Freddie Hockey (53) with good saves, before the pressure told and Chelmsford got that important third goal of the night. The goal came via Charlie Ruff in the 55th minute, before the slowly increasing temperatures on the pitch began to reach boiling point. Before we get to that though, the Darts responded to going behind by swapping Tyrell Miller-Rodney and Lewis Manor with Brandon Barzey and Luke Allen in the 56th minute. That would be followed by Archie Woods coming on for Joash Nembhard in the 64th minute. Unfortunately for the hosts, any chance of getting an equaliser was dealt a major blow when things boiled over on the pitch during a scuffle of players from both sides. Referee, Mr Nick Dunn, sent Harvey Bradbury off with a straight red card… leaving the hosts to finish the game with ten men for the second consecutive game.
Despite the disadvantage though, the hosts fought for every ball and Paul Rooney came close in the 69th minute, only to see Josh Oluwayemi make a good save. The Chelmsford shot-stopper then made another good save to keep out Maxwell Statham (79), before another good attack saw Brandon Barzey fire narrowly wide of Oluwayemi’s upright (85). Meanwhile, at the other end, Moussa Diarra was putting in a superb shift to prevent the visitors from increasing their lead, as Dartford threw players forward. And the big defender came agonisingly close to scoring the equaliser during stoppage time, when his header crashed off of Oluwayemi’s crossbar (90+1).
Unfortunately, Luke Coulson and Co ran out of time though, and Chelmsford took the points. The Dartford Captain was given the Man of The Match award, but that’ll be of little consolation to him, as his side slipped down to thirteenth in the National League South table.
DARTFORD: Mitchell Beeney, Jordan Wynter, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Baris Altintop, Luke Coulson (c), Paul Rooney, Lewis Manor, Maxwell Statham, Joash Nembhard, Harvey Bradbury, Moussa Diarra.
SUBSTITUTES: Luke Allen, Tom Wray, Archie Woods, Brandon Barzey, Jayden Boulton.
CHELMSFORD: Josh Oluwayemi, Cameron James, Samir Carruthers, Finley Barbrook, Luke Jenkins, Jermaine Francis, Charlie Ruff, Freddie Hockey, Josh Castiglione, Zech Obiero, Henry Ochieng.
SUBSTITUTES: Anthony Wordsworth, Callum Jones, Jazzi Barnum-Bobb, Ody Alfa, Kenny Coker.
Referee: Nick Dunn
Assists: David Ellis, Richard Stobart
Report by Chris Palmer
(c) SportShotz Photography