Dartford 1-2 Charlton Athletic
Dartford 1-2 Charlton Athletic

It finally felt like pre-season on Saturday afternoon as on the hottest day of the year so far, Charlton Athletic edged a lively encounter against a Dartford side who may consider themselves unfortunate to not at least draw the match.

It took a high quality finish from Josh Davison to separate the teams at the end of the game.

Steve King’s side were looking to build on a solid pre-season so far which saw a 0-1 home loss to Ipswich Town last Saturday and then beat Sittingbourne 5-0 on  Tuesday who were replacements for Gillingham due to Covid regulations.  Charlton Athletic who were without manager Nigel Adkins and other coaches and players also for reasons of self-isolation.

Understandably the pace of the game was quite staccato but it was a decent match and very even in the first half.  Dartford possibly created the best opportunity of the half in the 9th minute when Luke Wanadio down the right sent in a terrific cross which found Dan Roberts who possibly couldn’t believe the space given and from close range  saw his shot saved brilliantly by Nathan Harness who pushed the ball onto the left post.

For Charlton it was Albie Morgan who carried the greater threat and he made a good run from midfield and from outside the area fired in a shot which home keeper Chris King did well to turn round the post with both hands. 

For Dartford a trialist sent over a left win cross-shot which looped towards the far post but onto the roof of the net.   Charlton then came close when Conor Washington was put through by Morgan but King did well to block and following up Jayden Stockley was challenged before shooting and the ball went behind. Then, George Dobson fired wide from distance.

As the half went on it was mostly half chances as from a right wing corner, Morgan’s cross to the far post was headed wide by Stockley.  Then for Dartford the lively Bagasan Graham cut in from the left but his shot lacked power and deflected to Harness.

Just before the break Charlton came close when a cross from the right by Adam Matthews to the near post was headed wide by Diallang Jayesim.  Then the last action saw for Dartford, Wanadio pulled a cross-shot off target down the right.

The second half saw a raft of Dartford changes and it was they who had the first half opening after the break when a cross from the left by Kieran Murtagh to the far post came off Danny Leonard and straight to Harness in goal.

In the 50th minute Charlton took the lead when a fine ball out from the left by Ben Purrington out to the right found Jayeseim, who cut into the area and hit a fine, low shot past the outstretched hand of Dan Wilkes for a classy piece of finishing.

However, Dartford had deserved parity and two minutes later it was 1-1 when Luke Allen set up Graham for a lovely, crisp strike which gave Harness no chance.

For Charlton, Charlie Barker saw a shot deflected behind for a corner but on the hour as expected, a slew of substitutions for Charlton were made.

The changes worked as on 66 minutes, the Addicks went back in front which stemmed from a throw in down the left and the ball fell to Josh Davidson and the powerful striker hit a tremendous drive fro 25 yards which gave Wilkes no chance, flying into the top left corner.

Dartford though were not finished in the game and Noor Husin set up by Allen who hit a well struck shot which keeper James Beadle did superbly to push behind for a corner.

The red shirted League One side came close when Johl Powell saw a shot fly into the arms of Wilkes and for Dartford Ade Azeez claimed a penalty when he went down in the box but nothing was given. Then Allen combined with Leonard to break into the area but was denied by a terrific tackle from Jason Pearce.

Dartford thought they had levelled for a second time three minutes from time when Leonard’s shot was parried and Azeez tapped in but the flag was raised for an offside call.

The last action saw Charlton threaten and Davidson set up Charles Clayden but his effort was wide of goal.

In the end Charlton just had the edge but certainly Dartford came out of the game with a lot of credit and look to  be well set for a challenge at the National South this season. They begin their league campaign at St. Albans on 14th August. Their next friendly is at Carshalton Athletic on Tuesday.   For Charlton, they begin their season a week earlier at home to Sheffield Wednesday in League One but their next friendly is at home to Reading on 24th July.

Teams: Dartford: 1st Half team: Chris King, Trialist 1, Trialist 2, Connor Esam, Josh Hill, Bagasan Graham, Luke Wanadio, Kieran Murtagh,  Jack Jebb, George Porter, Dan Roberts.

2nd half team: Dan Wilks, Jordan Wynter, Jernade Meade, Noor Husin, Hill, Tom Bonner (Capt.), Luke Allen, Jebb, Danny Leonard, Graham, Ade Azeez.

Scorer: Graham 52

Charlton:  Nathan Harness, Ben Purrington, George Dobson, Akin Famewo, Diallang Jaiyesmi, Jayden Stockley, Albie Morgan, Conor Washington, Adam Matthews, Deji Elerewe, James Vennings.

Second half subs: James Beadle, Jacob Roddy, Jason Pearce, Charles Clayden, Charlie Baker, Johl Powell, Hady Ghandour, Nazir Bakrin, Samuel Oguntayo, Jeremy Santos, Aaron Henry, Wassim Aouchria, Josh Davison.           

Scorers:   Jaiyesmi 50, Davison 66

Referee:  Rob Whitton

Assistants: Darren Blunden, Stuart Butler.