Maidstone 1 (Levi Amantchi 90+4.)
Dartford’s miserable luck in the FA Trophy continued, as rivals Maidstone United progressed to the Third Round after Levi Amantchi’s late strike secured victory for the visitors. As supporters prepared for this latest instalment of the Kent Derby, loyal defender Jordan Wynter was presented with a deserved award for reaching 150 starting appearances for the Darts.
Luke Allen then got this entertaining, yet cagey affair underway as the floodlights lit up. And, with neither side prepared to give a quarter, clear-cut goal-scoring opportunities would be relatively scarce for large portions of the ninety minutes. It was the hosts that came close to taking the lead as early as the eighth minute, after Maxwell Statham had been fouled. Luke Coulson’s free-kick was met by the towering header of Moussa Diarra, which left goalkeeper Lucas Covolan with no chance… only for the crossbar to intervene and prevent Diarra from scoring. At the other end, debutant shot-stopper Ryan Sandford was called into action to make two excellent saves from both Liam Sole (14) and Lamar Reynolds (15), before Levi Amantchi fired wide of the goalkeeper’s upright (22).
From then on, a majority of play took place in the middle of the park, as neither side were able to gain a firm grip on proceedings. Aside from a few crosses, neither goalkeeper was seriously tested and the half ended goalless. The stalemate continued into the second forty-five, as Alex Wall and Tyrell Miller-Rodney both failed to capitalise on a good attacking move (55). That was followed by an opportunity at the other end, where Perri Iandolo saw his low drive cleared off the Dartford line by Joash Nembhard in the 59th minute. We then saw a double substitution for the hosts in the 67th minute, as Alan Dowson swapped Maxwell Statham and Alex Wall with Sam Odaudu and Lewis Manor respectively. That would be followed by Paul Rooney coming on for Archie Woods late on (85). The Stones, meanwhile, swapped Matt Rush for Riley Court (67), Sol Wanjau-Smith for Razzaq Coleman De Graft (75), before Harry Kyprianou replaced Liam Sole (87).
Dartford created a good opportunity to break the deadlock, as Lewis Manor found Luke Coulson inside the Maidstone box. The Skipper got a little unlucky while trying to strike on goal and the ball fell towards Luke Allen, who couldn’t keep his strike down (70). Lewis Manor was at it again late on, as he found Tyrell Miller-Rodney with a delightful ball, but the latter wasn’t able to find the target on this occasion (88), before the visitors got the breakthrough deep into stoppage time… A good move saw Harry Kyprianou just manage to keep the ball in play, before placing the ball into the Dartford box. Ryan Sandford made another excellent save from the initial strike, but Levi Amantchi was on hand to smash the loose ball home and send his team through to the next round (90+4). Moussa Diarra’s excellent performance saw him win a deserved Man of The Match award, but that’ll be of little consolation to the big defender. However, one thing that’s guaranteed is that, Luke Coulson and Co will dust themselves down and go again on Tuesday evening.
DARTFORD: Ryan Sandford, Jordan Wynter, Tyrell Miller-Rodney, Baris Altintop, Luke Coulson (c), Luke Allen, Alex Wall, Maxwell Statham, Archie Woods, Joash Nembhard, Moussa Diarra.
SUBSTITUTES: Mitchell Beeney, Sam Odaudu, Paul Rooney, Lewis Manor, Charlie Sheringham, Ollie Box, Jayden Boulton.
MAIDSTONE: Lucas Covolan, George Fowler, Razzaq Coleman De Graft, Sam Corne (c), Lamar Reynolds, Sam Bone, Liam Sole, Levi Amantchi, Bivesh Gurung, Perri Iandolo, Riley Court.
SUBSTITUTES: Harry Kyprianou, Michael Petrasso, Elliott Wenham, Sol Wanjau-Smith, Sam Smith, Harley Earle, Matt Rush.
Referee: George Laflin.
Assists: Craig Charles, Joshua Evans.
MoTM: Moussa Diarra
(c) SportShotz Photography