Created 12-Feb-24
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10 February 2024. Dartford 0 Bath City 1 (Cody Cooke 9').

Dartford suffered a fourth straight league defeat by a narrow margin, but were unfortunate to return home without at least a point on a bright afternoon at Twerton Park. The Darts started well and came close to opening the scoring as early as the second minute. Fumnaya Shomotun laid off the ball for Tyrell Miller-Rodney, but the latter’s curling drive flew narrowly wide of Josey Casa-Grande’s far post. However, that was pretty much it for the visitors for the remainder of the first-half, as the hosts took control for long periods. For all their dominance, though, it was an error that gifted The Romans what would prove to be the only goal of the afternoon… A mistake by Billy Terrell put the visitors in a perilous position and, even though Joash Nembhard cleared one attempt off the line, Cody Cooke didn’t miss with his ninth minute effort. The goal had lifted Bath and they had Dartford on the proverbial ropes for long periods of the half, as they passed the ball well and pressed high up the pitch. The lively Scott Wilson smacked the crossbar (15), before Jordan Dyer’s excellent interception prevented Luke Coulson from levelling the score seconds later at the other end. Fumnaya Shomotun then inadvertently let Wilson through with a poor pass, only for Billy Terrell to thwart The Roman with a fine save to redeem himself from his earlier error (29). Ewan Clark then failed to test the Dartford goalkeeper after breaching the defence (36), before Alex Wall fired into the side-netting from a tight angle at the other end (43). For all their first-half possession though, the hosts only had their slender single goal advantage. They should have capitalised on an excellent attack late in the half, only for a superb interception by Joash Nembhard stop two Bath attackers in their tracks.

Having twisted awkwardly during the first-half, Joe Raynes couldn’t continue after the break and was replaced by Jack Batten. The hosts would go on to swap Scott Wilson with James Alabi (61) and Chris Lines replaced Richard Chin in the 80th minute. Tony Burman, meanwhile, would swap Tyrell Miller-Rodney with Jack Smith (71) and Jordan Wynter with Olly Box (80) in a bid to rescue a point. The visitors were much improved in the second forty-five, but that finishing touch deserted them despite their efforts. First Miller-Rodney fired just wide of Josey Casa-Grande’s upright from the edge of the box (47), before the goalkeeper saved Nembhard’s effort after a well-worked Luke Coulson free-kick (63). The Romans were still a threat though, especially on the counter, and only the crossbar prevented James Alabi from doubling their lead (66). Elliott Romain, who has returned to Dartford on a month’s loan from Horsham, then met Coulson’s corner only to head the ball straight into the grateful arms of Casa-Grande (72), before the roles were reversed between the Dartford pair… only for the goalkeeper save the skipper’s strike (75)! Seconds later saw Alex Wall manage to get on the end of Sam Odaudu’s delightful cross to head the ball home, only to see his goal chalked off for offside by the referee Mr Lewis Sandoe! As time ran out, the Darts threw everything at Bath City, but just couldn’t find the breakthrough… Olly Box and Elliott Romain linked up well to find Paul Rooney, but he couldn’t keep his effort down (83). Rooney then saw another effort saved by Casa-Grande (85), before Box’s initial cross ricocheted back into his path for him to send a low shot towards goal… only to see Casa-Grande get down to make the save (87)! It was a spirited performance by the Darts, especially during the second-half. With a little more concentration at the back, as well as luck in front of goal, this result could have been completely different. One thing’s for definite though, Luke Coulson and Co will continue to work hard and, with that, the goals will come, as will the results.

BATH CITY: Josey Casa-Grande, Joe Raynes, Dan Greenslade, Jordan Dyer, Kieran Parselle (c), Ewan Clark, Cody Cooke, Tom Smith, Richard Chin, Scott Wilson, Luke Russe.
SUBSTITUTES: Jack Batten, Elliott Frear, Chris Lines, James Alabi.
DARTFORD: Billy Terrell, Jordan Wynter, Sam Odaudu, Tommy Block, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Luke Coulson (c), Alex Wall, Paul Rooney, Elliott Romain, Fumnaya Shomotun, Joash Nembhard.
SUBSTITUTES: Jack Smith, Maxwell Statham, Tom Wray, Manny Adebowale, Olly Box.

Referee: Lewis Sandoe
Assists: Jonathan Pike, Paul Barber.
Att 1114
Report by Chris Palmer

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