Dartford 0-0 Hemel Hempstead Town
Dartford 0-0 Hemel Hempstead Town

The Darts remain unbeaten this season after a goalless draw with fellow unbeaten side Hemel Hempstead Town although rued missing a late penalty to take the victory.

Despite only two games in both The Darts (2nd) and The Tudors (1st) came into this afternoon with 100% winning records so something had to give.

The visitors brought a high-tempo game to Kent and were much the better side in the opening forty-five minutes as Deren Ibrahim was the busier of the two ‘keepers.

Steve Cawley was the first to test The Darts’ custodian as, with his back to goal, brought down Jordan Parkes’ free kick, and managed to turn on goal but his effort lacked venom as Ibrahim gathered comfortably.

With the high-tempo offered by The Tudors, The Darts would inevitably find opportunities to break and did so on the quarter hour mark as Chez Isaac intercepted the ball on half-way and in breaking forward and space offered ahead of him he elected to go for goal from fully 25yrs out only to see the ball sail harmlessly over the cross-bar.

The Tudors, fresh from a strong start and goals-a-plenty in their opening two games, continued to press the hosts and The Darts were indebted to Ibrahim twice in quick succession as a quick break led to Karl Oliyide having space when well placed on the left-corner of the penalty area but in curling his effort low to the ‘keepers left, Ibrahim was equal to it to palm it wide of the far-post.

From the resultant corner James Kaloczi rose highest but headed straight into the hands of The Darts’ number one.

As the opening period came to a close the game opened up and chances presented themselves at both ends of the park.

Once more intercepting the ball on the halfway line The Darts ploughed forward in numbers only for Jamie Philpot, under pressure, seeing his cross/shot on the right-side of the penalty area loop onto the roof the net – The Tudor’s Laurie Walker alert to any danger scampered across his goal as a precaution.

Callum Driver saw his curling effort from the edge of the penalty area courtesy of a free-kick head towards goal but narrowly over the crossbar, Walker untroubled.

And on the brink of the interval The Tudors saw the best chance of the half fall to Oliyide racing clear from halfway on the inside right channel but with Ibrahim alert to the ensuing danger, racing off his line to narrow the angle, Oliyide poked the ball wide of the far post.

The Tudors’ captain and set-piece specialist was again at the heart of the action into the second period as his side were once more close to taking a deserved lead – Ismail Yakubu sliding at the back post to divert a teasing free kick just wide of Ibrahim’s left-hand post.

After such open and high-tempo play seen in the opening period the second half was somewhat more subdued with both sides vying for possession and the ascendency in a hard fought midfield battle – Credit to The Darts who gained most from the interval to claw their way back into the game to counteract their opponents play.

And of the chances that presented themselves in the second half The Darts certainly had the more clear-cut.

Tom Bonner connected with an inviting Ben Greenhalgh’s free kick but despite him looping his header onto the roof of the net the referee had in fact spotted an infringement.

Parkes’ dangerous set pieces once again brought the best of out Ibrahim as, this time a corner, he cleared well underneath his own crossbar under pressure – Ibrahim then on hand to put Herchez Sanchez-Watt under enough pressure as Parkes returned the ball to the danger zone – Sanchez-Watt heading glancing his header from close range over the crossbar.

And with the game moving into the final ten minutes The Darts saw the best chance of the game fall to them as the referee spotted a handball in the penalty area to give Philpot the chance to put his side ahead – But he lacked composure blazing his spot-kick high over the bar.

Delano Sam-Yorke rose well to head a Greenhalgh’s free-kick towards goal but it trickled harmlessly wide.

And with four minutes of play indicated by the fourth official Philpot had one final opportunity to hand his side the three points only for Walker to dive bravely and deny The Darts man a late winner.

Dartford: Ibrahim, Driver, Onyemah, Vint, Bonner ©, Greenhalgh (Ighorae, 89), Noble, Philpot, Sam-Yorke, Isaac (Roast, 83), Mensah (Murphy, 60)

Sub not used: Oyenuga, Cue

Hemel Hempstead Town: Walker, Doyley (Howe, 60) Connolly, Parkes ©, Ward, Yakubu, Sanchez-Watt, Kaloczi (McCall, 56), Oliyide (Osborn, 83), Cawley, Prestedge

Subs not used: Dymond, Paulin

Referee: Jacob Miles

Asst Referees: Alexander Bradley & Conall Bartlett

Att: 974

Images courtesy of https://www.edboydenphotos.co.uk/