Three goal salvo knocks out Angels
By Jim Rowe
Darts take their chances
Dartford eased through their Kent Derby with goals either side of half time to create a comfortable 3-0 scoreline. Tonbridge had their chances early in the match but they failed to capitalise when they were on top. These affairs for the losers are often the case of what might have been and that was very much the case for the Angels.
The home side were decidedly the better for the first 30 minutes with Tom Parkinson hitting the post with a header in the 4th minute from a corner and the next minute the same player forced a terrific save from Deren Ibrahim in the Dartford goal. The Angels continued to work the Dartford defence mainly through the probing of Damian Scannell and Luke Allen and were rewarded with a succession of corners and free kicks in potentially profitable areas but crucially no goals. A worrisome injury to vice captain Tom Parkinsom meant the midfielder had to leave the field on 23 minutes.
Somewhat against the run of play the Darts took the lead on 34 minutes when with their first meaningful attack a cross from Luke Wanadio was saved by Tony Di Bernardo but the ball ran kindly for the visitors with Alex Brown hitting the target from close in.
The game was settled in the first six minutes of the second period when a mix up in the Tonbridge defence gave Andy Pugh the opportunity to double the Darts advantage three minutes after the restart. Just three minutes later the Angels defence failed to deal with a corner and skipper Elliot Bradbrook was on hand to net Dartford's third goal.
The visitors suddenly finding themselves three goals to the good were able to relax and began to improve their possession without really creating too many chances, but then they weren't under any real pressure to do so.
Tonbridge for their part, aside from a mad evening at Merstham, were not familiar with a three goal deficit this season and it showed. Yes, they kept moving the ball, but somehow the belief had gone and one or two players failed to reach the heights of previous matches. Slightly surprisingly, Angels best player, Damian Scannell, was retired to the bench on 58 minutes. On 66 minutes Jack Parter had a good run into the the visitors box with his shot creating an appeal for handball that was turned down, but in truth it would haven been harsh if given.
And so the game somewhat petered out with Dartford supporters able to look forward to their heroes featuring in Monday night's FA Cup draw live on BBC2, while Angels supporters knew their team would have to wait another year to have a crack at reaching that 1st round proper last achieved as long ago as 1972.
Afterwards, Angels boss Steve McKimm agreed that his side had the better of the first half despite going into the break a goal down. He continued : "Of course it was disastrous from our point of view to concede a further two goals in the first six minutes of the second half, but if players don't follow instructions then teams like Dartford will hurt you. We failed to pick up their runners as briefed beforehand and paid a heavy price as a result."