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Dartford 5-0 Kingstonian

Kingstonian seemed a lot more desperate for a result after the humiliation of losing 6-1 at home to Aveley. At Dartford, a team that much more closely resembled that which had won promotion seemed to fight much harder than that which had so tamely surrendered to their Essex visitors the previous Saturday. The performance had at least a degree of passion and the players looked genuinely disappointed at the final whistle.

None of that huff and puff helped Ks though. Outplayed in every department except goalkeeping (not a slight on Dartford's Andrew Young but he had nothing to do) it is not hyperbole to say that a 5-0 defeat flattered Ks. In addition to their five goals, the Darts had two ruled out, missed a penalty and had one scrambled off the line among other close calls for Luke Garrard. On another day it could have been 7, 8, 9 or any pretty much any number you wish to count to as the league leaders outplayed the bottom side about as comprehensively as can happen between two sides in the same division.

Kingstonian heaped further misery on themselves with both Tommy Williams and Alan Dowson being red-carded for dissent. If a positive is to be drawn from yet another debacle it might be that there's at least evidence of players and manager caring passionately about the situation Ks find themselves in - one which has left everyone at the club shell-shocked. Nonetheless both men were foolish to allow this to boil over.

Ks were over-run from the start by a bigger, faster, fitter and better side. Conceding was not a matter of it but when and perhaps the only surprise was that it took until the 14th minute. Rob Haworth headed wide on five and the linesman scrubbed a goal off for offside on eleven before Ks made yet another mess of defending a set piece and after a tame clearance Elliot Bradbrook looped a header in from near the edge of the box.

Ryan Hayes came close from a free kick and last man Max Hustwick made a great challenge to deny Bradbrook another scoring chance but Ks were not going to keep the deficit to one for long. Howarth had a second goal scrubbed off for Dartford but on 33 minutes Hustwick gave the ball away to Lee Burns and with Garrard out of position awaiting a back-pass, Burns was able to beat him from twenty-five yards with a strike reminiscent of Ray Houghton's against Italy in USA '94.

The luck of the Irish remained with Ks as Garrard, Carl Wilson-Denis and about three others somehow scrambled the ball away from a goalmouth melee but Ks nonetheless went in 3-0 down after Burns turned the rebound in after a good Garrard save just minutes later.

Ks closest effort of the game came just after the break when a defender closed down a Simon Huckle twenty-yarder and deflected away from a corner. Two minutes later K's showed they hadn't heeded the lesson of closing men down in attacking positions as Hayes had time, and space, a bit more time then a bit more space, and after running in unchallenged easily found the far corner of Garrard's goal.

Two minutes later Duku handballed a cross in the penalty box but Garrard delayed the inevitable Burns hat-trick by saving his penalty as Ks enjoyed another defensive let-off.

Dartford seemed to ease up on Ks at this point but instead the visitors got it with both barrels from the match officials. Tommy Williams was harshly adjudged to have fouled Adam Gross and was then booked for making his feelings known to the linesman. To have another pop at the same linesman just thirty seconds later was, to say the least, idiotic, though considering the abuse that Ryman League referees usually allow to go unpunished it was still a surprise to see Williams given his marching orders.

Burns missed another hat-trick opportunity from twenty yards before finally completing his trifecta on 83 minutes after Ks made a dog's breakfast of clearing yet another Dartford crossing.

Conceding more goals at this point would scarcely have mattered but in injury time Ks were hurt again with Dowson sent off. Again, the dismissal was for some kind of perceived dissent - they may not have had a good game but the Ks players had a far worse one, leaving everyone at the club wondering quite where we go from here.

Tue 25th Aug 2009
Princes Park Stadium
Isthmian League Premier
1Luke Garrard
2Neil LamptonCautioned
3Ryan Lake15
4Francis Duku
5Max Hustwick
6Simon Huckle
7Liam Collins12
8Tommy WilliamsCautioned and Sent Off
9Bobby TraynorCautioned
10Carl Wilson-Denis
11Dean Lodge
12Luke Pigden7
14Lewis Cook
15Tom Dilloway3
16Jamie Beer
17Josh Willis
Match Report By
Simon Grier