A blistering hot day at Dartford saw the Ambers go down to a strong Dartford side in a competitive match in which the Cheshunt side acquitted themselves well. Credit must go to players from both sides for producing a match of such quality in the conditions.
Cheshunt opened the game the more lively, new centre half Raul Da Silva headed just wide from a corner in the opening minutes, Reece Beckles Richards had a goal bound shot blocked, the rebound falling to Joe Re who let a rasping shot go, Dartford keeper Dan Wilks did well to dive full length to his right and turn it around the post. From the Cheshutn right Dajon Golding looked in the mood to take on the full back, and his first run and shot was saved, with Rowan Liburd latching onto the loose ball but unable to turn it home from close range in the melee of defenders.
For Dartford Davide Rodari, a Swiss pro on loan from Crawley Town was prepared to mix it with the Cheshunt centre halves Taylor Mackenzie & Raul Da Silva and saw his first attempt on goal smothered by Preston Edwards at close range. The Cheshunt duo had his measure in the air, despite the persistent nudges and pushes, but had to work well the keep closing down the space being created by his runs.
A water break appeared to have given Dartford coaches the opportunity to set some direction, and they started to dominate the midfield. Former Hemel player Samir Carruthers starting to influence the Dartford play with his pass & go approach not getting picked up quickly enough. Notice was served when Edwards was forced into a diving save to prevent the opener when Rodari struck a shot towards the top corner, justice done as Dartford had played through a gap left by Da Silva who was still desperately trying to get back onto the pitch after treatment. Consistent in Dartford play was the willingness of their defence & midfield to drive into the space ahead of them before playing a pass, moving their whole team up a large pitch as a unit. Missed tackles as Luke Coulson drove forward allowed him to release Pierre Fonkeu on the edge of the box & the striker drove a well placed shot beyond Preston Edwards.
Cheshunt finished the half strongly, with Dajon Golding Jamie Reynolds and Reece Beckles Richards combining well to put the latter in range, his shot alas was wide of the mark & cleared the bar too. One down at the break, but most definitely making a match of it.
The opening action of the second half saw the home side hit the far post in the first attack, courtesy of danger man Fonkeu. Cheshunt replied with a superb cross field ball from Chevron Maclean releasing Dajon Golding on the right, his pass down the channel for the overlapping Enock Ekongo forced the high defence to turn and keeper Wilks take charge of the tidying up, racing off his line to intercept the loose ball fell at Golding feet with the keeper 25 yards wide of his goal, urged to shoot immediately by everyone in the crowd Golding sought to drift across the defence for a more central position and more certainty, but the time taken allowed the defence to regroup and his shot was blocked.
Striker Rowan Liburd started to win challenges and set Beckles Richards & Golding up for runs at the defence, one such win saw the tall forward chest down under pressure and pass around the corner to Beckles Richards, working the ball onto his right his shot was parried away. Sam Alderson replaced Taylor Miles for fresh legs in the middle & his passing accuracy pinned the Dartford full backs back ten yards for fear of being caught out ‘over the top’
The Ambers could only admire Dartford’s move leading to the second goal, Coulson made another driving run right to left deep into Cheshunt territory before linking up with Carruthers whose deft flicks had opened opportunities all game, this time he released Coulson to reach the by line, as the Ambers defence prepared for the cut backs seen in the first half, he drove it low across the area to the back of the six yard box, where Fonkeu gleefully slammed home from short range under a challenge. The two nil scoreline could not be questioned, both goals worked & taken well by an inform striker with four in two games. Cheshunt had created enough opportunity, but not had the breaks, or the finishing accuracy to match the home side.
Changes for both sides gave fresh legs, but the Dartford changes appeared to slow them down a little and it was Cheshunt who finished the match the stronger. In the latter stages Preston Edwards found Dajon Golding in space, his pass saw wonderfully quick feet from Enock Ekongo and Rowan Liburd release Golding to run down the inside right channel, The Dartford defence thought they had done enough forcing him wide, but a low well struck shot beat Wilks to claim a goal for the Ambers.
Referee Farai Hallam indicated five additional minutes to the match & the travelling support urged the Ambers on, hoping for another late come back. In the event Dartford managed to play out the additional time for a home win.